Looking for John Galt
In the late 1950's, author and philosopher, Ayn Rand, wrote the book "Atlas Shrugged." In this lengthy tome, Rand wrote (or predicted) about how government, mediocrity and complasence effects society. One of the lead characters in the book is a wealthy industrialist named John Galt. Galt convinces the leading industrialists of the world to "go on strike." So the worlds weathiest men (and one woman) do just that. They disappear from their overtaxed, over-regulated society and move quietly to a producers' paradise.
If Ayn Rand were alive today, she would find that there are many wealthy men and women who are "disappearing" from U.S. shores, just like the industrialist in her novel.
In a recent study conducted several years by Merrill Lynch, it was found that, in 2002, the number of US millionaires had fallen by nearly 100,000. (This isn't really hard to understand, since the US was in the midst of a major bear market.) But the report also that close to 200,000 millionaires suddenly appeared outside US borders!
The figures for the year 2004aren't available, but in Merrill's latest study, nearly 228,000 more millionaires were discovered living outside of the borders of the US in 2003! What's most surprising is that over 70% of the world's 7.7 millionaires are residing outside the US!
How is this possible? After all, America is still the richest country in the world and the unrivalled land of opportunity, isn't it?
Well, yes and no. It's true that the US is still a great place to get rich. But, on the other had, it soon may no longer be the best place to be rich!
One of the problems in the US is that it leads the world in the number of lawyers and lawsuits. In fact, chances are that an individual may wind up getting sued in the next five years are at least 1 in 4. And (not surprisingly) the wealthier the person is, then the more those odds increase. Anyone owning a small business or having a net worth in excess of $500,000 has a 25% chance of getting sued within the year!
And the taxes in the US are higher than over 40 countries, and are more than double that of some industrialized countries. And it's no surprise that the wealthier you are, the higher your tax rate will be.
To make matters worse, the right to privacy is getting weaker every day. Nowadays, it's not hard to find out who you are (and what you own) with a few clicks of a mouse.
Worse still, in the past few weeks, lawmakers in Washington have proposed legislation that would turn drivers' licenses into virtual National Identity Cards.
In a recent article in "The Observer" (a leading British newspaper) According to an article in the British newspaper The Observer, close to $11 trillion is now being held held in offshore havens. (Need a comparison? This is more than the entire US GDP!)
But, regardless of all that's been mentioned, millionaires in this country haven't disappeared. In fact, most American millionaires are still among us.
But, nowadays, these millionaires seldom flaunt the fact that they have money. They tend to "lie low", use stealth and other means to protect themselve, their wealth and achievements are from being discovered by prying eyes.
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