David McElroy writes that he was attending a public meeting in Birmingham when he witnessed someone go Galt. That's what we call it when someone gets so sick of government encroachment that they quit their business. I'm not sure about the particulars and perhaps there's more to this story, but after a few hours of people bashing coal mining businesses, an actual coal mine operator stood up to speak:
After Bryant listened to all of the business-bashing, he finally stood to speak. He sounded a little bit shellshocked, a little bit angry — and a lot frustrated.
My name’s Ronnie Bryant, and I’m a mine operator…. I’ve been issued a [state] permit in the recent past for [waste water] discharge, and after standing in this room today listening to the comments being made by the people…. [pause] Nearly every day without fail — I have a different perspective — 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 don’t know. I mean, 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 as I stood against the wall here today, basically what I’ve decided is not to open the mine. I’m just quitting. Thank you.
I have no idea what Bryant will actually do. He might have made a quick emotional decision based on anger at feeling blamed for things that are frequently just normal health issues of life. He might reconsider and go ahead with his project.
In the comments to the post that follow, reader after reader talks about how running a small business is a thankless task made impossible by the burden of various regulations. My friends who run small businesses have reported horror stories about the difficulties they face in running a business while jumping through regulatory hoops. We need to find a better balance.