Monday: As I sit here in my dark hotel room in Manhattan looking out the window at the Empire State Building, I can’t help but marvel at the triumphs of capitalism. New York (despite its massive government at present) stands as our country’s greatest symbol and beacon of capitalism. It shows us what is possible in a free society. It shows us that, despite what the politicians and the commentators tell us, profits are a good thing. They provide the motivation to invent, to create, to achieve.

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The Empire State Building is a wonderful example of the achievements of capitalists. Led by GM’s John Jakob Raskob, one of our great American capitalists, construction of the then tallest building in the world took just 410 days!!! Government can’t even build a few miles of road in 410 days today. My local government began construction of a loop around the city in 1988 and is still not finished! From 1929 to 1931, right at the beginning of the depression, there was an intense competition in New York City to build the tallest skyscraper in the world. The Bank of Manhattan Building at 40 Wall Street battled it out with the Walter Chrysler’s aptly named Chrysler Building who secretly erected its famous spire to give it the edge in 1930. But the Empire State Building trumped them both in 1931 and stood as the world’s tallest building for 40 years. This is the embodiment of capitalism: great capitalists fiercely competing with each other, with profit as the incentive and a giant phallic symbol touting the winner’s manhood as the prize… and we are all better for it.

Tuesday: Tonight I decided to walk up to Rockefeller Center to pay a visit/homage to the Statue of Atlas. As you may or may not know, this statue has become a symbol of Ayn Rand, her great novel Atlas Shrugged, and the objectivist movement. The statue is appropriately displayed at the site named for one of the greatest capitalists the world has ever seen. Atlas Shrugged is a novel about all the great capitalists of the day disappearing as government, or the looters as Rand calls them, rapidly suffocates them with their incessant meddling, taxes and regulations. As the capitalists disappear society quickly deteriorates and the looters panic as they have no one left to loot from. It’s a beautiful F.U. story. Consider what would have happened if Rockefeller, Carnegie, Vanderbilt, Morgan, Mellon and the other “robber barons” had disappeared at the height of the industrial revolution. These men were able to provide an array of cheap goods, services, and productive capital to the masses. Rockefeller, caricatured as a greedy, money grubbing robber baron was in reality perhaps the most prolific philanthropist in history giving nearly half his money to charity, research and other causes. Standard Oil provided Americans and the world with cheap kerosene which allowed millions to illuminate their homes and places of business. Prior to this, expensive whale oil was the best option. Rockefeller stated repeatedly that his goal was to make kerosene as inexpensive as he possibly could. Contrary to what modern day mainstream economists preach, falling prices are actually a good thing. The less expensive something is, the more people have have access to it. For entrepreneurs, the path to maximum profit is not by raising prices and excluding potential customers. Rather, it is by lowering prices and bringing your product to the masses. This raises the standard of living for society as a whole. The government and government schools vilify our profit seeking, innovating tycoons. We are all very lucky they didn’t go all John Galt up in this piece.

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Wednesday: As you walk around Manhattan one of the things that strikes you is the sheer number of businesses that exist. Thousands of storefronts line the streets. There are 3,500 restaurants in Manhattan. There’s the garment district, the diamond district, the freakin meatpacking district. There’s Wall Street. There’s 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue. Soho and Chinatown, the Village and Little Italy. Manhattan is about business. It’s about commerce. It’s about entrepreneurs putting their idea to practice. It’s about the best ideas flourishing. It’s about the bad ideas going away. It’s capitalism in a nutshell. It’s about consumers being better off because the very best products and services win. We are all better off when healthy competition is allowed to play out. That’s why NYC has the best food, the best shopping, the best entertainment, etc.

Don’t get me wrong, New York has its problems. Wherever you find success and profits, government is not far behind. The looters seek out the successful. Therefore there is one metric sh*t ton of government in NYC. Among other things, New York City is home to stop and frisk, weird ass regulations on trans fat and soft drinks, punitive taxes, and Bill de Blasio. The looters took down the once great Detroit and they have a long way to go before they take down NYC, but rest assured they will try.

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