Saturday, January 16, 2010

Economic Indicators Western Style

If you spend much time driving around Montana one of the first things you notice is that the highways, for the most part, follow the rivers as do the railroads. Because of this it is difficult to miss when freight traffic is down. The first indicator is when you just don't see trains. The next is when empty, out of use cars are mothballed on siding after siding.

We were over there yesterday and on our way home we passed a coal train - full. Car after car. What a joy to behold!

The fact that Warren Buffet recently spent a tidy $34 billion for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe might also be considered a hint things are looking up.

I wonder if there is a little Ayn Rand at play here. In 1957 she published Atlas Shrugged, her longest and last novel. It has an eerily familiar ring to it. A kind of deja vu in reverse. It tells the story of the collapse of our society as our government asserts more and more control over industry. The auto industry? The greening of America? The banking industry? Cap and trade? Health care "reform"?

Soon the minds that drive society and productivity begin to mysteriously disappear. It is hero John Galt's theory that without the rational and creative minds that drive productivity the country would be lead to total collapse. So, ever so slowly and ever so surely they simply (or not so) disappear!

The railroads reigned supreme in the days of the story. See what I mean about eerie? The ambition of the current administration is becoming more and more apparent. It is parallelling Atlas Shrugged.

This is not a situation where life imitates art, but where life is mirroring art. The prospect is frightening. What is even more so, to me, is that we have no John Galt!

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