For those completely lacking in any literary experience, the act of shrugging comes from Ayn Rand’s Magnum opus Atlas Shrugged.
“The main conflicts of the book surrounds the decision of the “individuals of the mind” to go on strike, refusing to contribute their inventions, art, business leadership, scientific research, or new ideas of any kind to the rest of the world. Society, they believe, hampers them by interfering with their work and underpays them by confiscating the profits and dignity they have rightfully earned.”
Like John Galt of Rand’s book I was once a “productive” member of society. If by productive your definition includes quietly bending over and taking it from the government via taxes. Also like John Galt I reached my breaking point.
We had our own business and one year we got a large contract that required me to work 6 days a week 10 hours a day and commute to the site 3.5 hours each day. Before this contract I had kept a normal 40hr/week work schedule, we were relatively poor for the area, but were making it work. This big contract was in my capitalist’s mind a gold strike. Good bye trailer house and older vehicles, hello good living.
The dear old IRS had other ideas though. At the end of the year I netted about 20% more income after taxes than the prior year, even though I had worked 100% more hours. The difference barely paid the commuting expenses.
This wake up call got me really thinking about taxes. I paid personal income taxes, business taxes, FICA and SS taxes twice (self-employed), property taxes on the house, property taxes on the business building, sales taxes, vehicles license plates (really just a tax), business license, hunting license, state park pass, extra taxes on my beer and smokes. I attempted to figure the percentage and came it came out at over 50% of my gross income. I realized that these taxes I paid had to be compensated for in the cost of the services I provided, just as EVERY single thing I bought had the cost of the producers taxes included, just as their materials needed for their products had the prior producers taxes included. Ad infinitum.