‘Right Out of Atlas Shrugged’: Hear an Exasperated Alabama Businessman Tell the Feds – ‘I’m Just Quitting’
July 26, 2011
Ronnie Bryant was vastly outnumbered.
Leaning against a wall during a recent Birmingham, Alabama, public hearing, Bryant listened to an overflow crowd pepper federal officials with concerns about businesses polluting the drinking water and causing cases of cancer.
After two hours, Bryant—a coal mine owner from Jasper—had heard enough and, in a moment being described as “right out of Atlas Shrugged,” took his turn at the microphone:
“Nearly every day without fail…men stream to these [mining] operations looking for work in Walker County. They can’t pay their mortgage. They can’t pay their car note. They can’t feed their families. They don’t have health insurance. And as I stand here today, I just…you know…what’s the use? I got a permit to open up an underground coal mine that would employ probably 125 people. They’d be paid wages from $50,000 to $150,000 a year. We would consume probably $50 million to $60 million in consumables a year, putting more men to work. And my only idea today is to go home. What’s the use? I see these guys—I see them with tears in their eyes—looking for work. And if there’s so much opposition to these guys making a living, I feel like there’s no need in me putting out the effort to provide work for them. So…basically what I’ve decided is not to open the mine. I’m just quitting. Thank you.”
“If they want to create jobs, provide health insurance, and increase revenue,” Bryant said in reference to the federal government, “they need to back down on the regulatory burden. It’s like pulling an iron ball with a chain. I’m not saying to make it go away—just the stuff that’s not pertinent or useful.” Read More