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McCain Builds Final Campaign on Joe the Plumber Myths

His campaign bus sputtering and unable to find traction on the road to the White House, John McCain is attempting to find notes that resonate with voters, but he's looking in all the wrong places.

Never mind that most of what Joe said ain't so. Joe the Plumber is a symbol now, the poster guy for John McCain's tax offensive against Barack Obama, even if the case is founded on fiction.

It's just the latest example of the way in which McCain leaps onto an initiative before thoroughly examining the possible outcomes. I suspect there will be several more before we reach November 4th.

By mentioning "Joe the Plumber" 21 times during last Wednesday night's debate, John McCain made an instant celebrity out of Joe Wurzelbacher. McCain explained Joe's plight, but unfortunately the facts weren't -- uh, "factual" -and instead of having a real American example, McCain is once again using mythology to sell his ideas.

What ain't so about Joe is most of what McCain said about him in the final campaign debate. He is not really getting ready to buy a plumbing company, although he'd like to someday. He would not be subject to the tax increase Obama proposes for people making more than $250,000 a year. Indeed, he has said since the debate that the Obama plan probably would cut his taxes.

Political campaigns always are looking for case studies, average Americans they can point to as examples of what people would face under their policies or their opponent's. It's a gimmick, and in this case, a catchy one. Republicans are waving household plungers and chanting "Joe" at McCain and Sarah Palin rallies. You can buy "Joe the Plumber" T-shirts. The McCain campaign has a Joe the Plumber Internet link to the Republican candidate's economic proposals. Obama has one too. Click it and you get a calculator set up to figure your taxes under the Obama plan.

All this fuss is about Samuel J. Wurzelbacher of Holland, Ohio, who questioned Obama about his tax plan at an Oct. 11 campaign stop, saying, "I'm getting ready to buy a company that makes $250,000 to $280,000 a year. Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn't it?"

After the debate in which McCain talked about him, Wurzelbacher said he didn't get a clear answer from Obama that day but, rather, a tap dance worthy of Sammy Davis Jr.

I watched the exchange, and Obama's answer was clear to me - but poor old Joe just doesn't get it.

Unfortunately for Joe, John McCain is now on Joe's side.

McCain regularly invokes Joe's name and calls him the big winner of the Oct. 15 debate. It might not feel that way to Joe. His sudden celebrity has led to the disclosure that he does not have a plumber's license - he said he didn't need one but his county requires it - and that he owes $1,182.98 in back taxes to Ohio.

That's his business, as is his bent version of his business and federal tax prospects. But the personal becomes a spectator event when a presidential nominee makes an average guy into a campaign figure. Apparently nobody in the McCain operation thoroughly checked him out. They saw the exchange with Obama on the Internet and made Joe a talking point in the debate.

Since facts are relegated to fine print in a campaign in which each side regularly accuses the other of lying, the details about Joe the Plumber don't make any difference as Republicans retell the story. To say, as Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden did, that the police officers, grocers and plumbers in his neighborhood aren't making $250,000 a year is, in the words of a McCain spokesman, an attempt to bully Joe the Plumber. Never mind that it is true that those kind of jobs don't pay that kind of money.

McCain says that Wurzelbacher is under "political attack," with people digging through his personal life just because he asked a tough question of Obama. But Joe didn't wind up in the middle because he asked a question. McCain put him there by using his name and tale some 20 times in the debate with Obama, who finally started addressing Joe too.

By trying to put a "Joe the Plumber" face on the rich who would would be effected by rescinding the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and rolling them back to pre-Bush levels as Obama proposes, McCain misses the mark. "Joe the Plumber" is not representative of those effected by the rescinding the tax cuts, and yet the GOP lie machine just keeps on spinning.

But what's most telling about McCain is that by not checking the facts, not considering his options, not "looking before leaping" to the defense of an unlicensed plumber making $40,000 a year who isn't anywhere close to buying his own business, John McCain once again demonstrates his penchant for poor choices.

He's also ignoring the fact that the Bush tax cuts Obama wants to rescind have done nothing to boost the economy or create jobs during the period they were rescinded, demonstrating again that McCain's claim that rescinding the tax cuts would be harmful to the economy is built on myth. The facts betray McCain again.


Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!

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Comments (26)

BamaMan:

Is it truely that difficult for liberals to understand the stupidity of attacking Joe is? You make all the hoorah about diggin up dirt on Joe and miss the whole point. Its not who asked the question that matters, its what the answer was. Plain and simple. It could have been the grocery clerk for whatever difference it makes. The American dream says that you can work your way into being a success, now we tell you, dont bother working hard, cause well just take it away and spread the wealth if you do.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Since McCain was stupid enough to make Joe a celebrity before uncovering the facts behind Joe's situation, I'm not surprised conservatives are also stupid enough to keep digging this hole deeper.

Not only does it show that McCain and his campaign staff don't "look before they leap," and are still practicing the time-honored Republican tradition of shooting from the hip, >b>the facts are that Joe the Plumber will receive tax cuts from Obama's plan, and will actually have a better chance of buying that business under an Obama presidency than he will under a McCain presidency.

But let's not let something as distasteful as "the facts" and "the truth" get in the way of John McCain's campaigning - let's make up crap that doesn't apply to Joe the Plumber and pretend it's Joe that will be hurt - -when in fact it's not the plumbers, teachers, and firemen that benefit from McCain's - its the fat-cat wealthy snobs.

Glad to have provided a fresh shovel for you, BamaMan - please feel free to come back and dig deeper.

BamaMan:

As I stated in my first point, you completely miss it. We ALL want to be successful, not just joe, not just republicans, we all do. But what good does being successful be if it gets taken away as soon as you get there? Will Joe get a tax cut in Obama's plan? Right now possibly. But not where himself, myself, and millions of americans want to be. Once again you try to cover your saviors butt by trying to smear the common american who aspires to do better, instead of focusing on the REAL issue, which is the response of BO. Noone put a gun to his head to say anything. BO thought he'd play politician and visit Joes neighborhood. He got asked a hard question and he answered it. Now somehow its Joe's fault that BO didnt answer his question in a way that his campaign would have properly vetted?

And while you are on your 'facts', Joe would also receive tax cuts under McCain's plan as well. The only difference is that if Joe works hard and achieves the american dream, he wont be penalized for it.

Bottom line, people like you and the MSM have done more investigation of Joe's background, that any of you have even done on 'the One'. Simply for having the audacity to ask a difficult question when BO graces his neighborhood with an appearance. Heaven forbid someone ask him a real question.

And thanks for the shovel, its so knee deep in here i might need a bulldozer though....

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

"But what good does being successful be if it gets taken away as soon as you get there? "

Rolling back the tax cuts to pre-Bush level doesn't take anything away, it just resets the tax levels to where they were during the Clinton economic boom -- which by the way, blows your argument out of the water. The nation prospered under Clinton's economic guidance.

Given the current economic situation Obama might be wise to hold off until March or so of next year, when the economy should be rebounding, before rescinding the cuts - but the suggestion that its some sort of Armageddon to have the top tax rate increased from 36 to 39 percent is just so much crap once you recognize that all that this does is put the tax rate back where it was during the booming 1990s.

But then that's what Republicans do - lie through their teeth in order to protect the rich.

Joe the Plumber wasn't "smeared" - the truth came out and proved John McCain lied in his description of the impact of Obama's tax plan on Joe the Plumber. Since when is the truth a bad thing?

Oh yeah - when a Republican is running for office - that's when.

"And thanks for the shovel, its so knee deep in here i might need a bulldozer though...."

The truth will set you free - BamaMan - go on, give it a try...

You can start here:

"Bottom line, people like you and the MSM have done more investigation of Joe's background, that any of you have even done on 'the One'. Simply for having the audacity to ask a difficult question when BO graces his neighborhood with an appearance. Heaven forbid someone ask him a real question."

Still lying about the fact that it was McCain mentioning Joe 21 times in the debate that brought the media focus in on Joe, aren't ya!

You betcha!

Lee Ward:

By the way, BamaMan - your own bastion of bullshit FOX News stopped McCain from repeating that same "it's Obama's fault" lie just yesterday - link.

Feel free to explain how Fox News got it wrong... ROTFLMAO!

BamaMan:

"Rolling back the tax cuts to pre-Bush level doesn't take anything away, it just resets the tax levels to where they were during the Clinton economic boom"

Ok, ya got me there its not a tax increase, if in the past it was higher, I see, we should all get in our time machines and travel back 8 years so that we wont feel it. And I guess we should ignore the part of history where the "Clinton economic boom" went bust with the tech bubble. And we should forget that part about how the "Failed Bush tax cuts" helped pull the nation out of said recession. But whats a few inconvenient facts.(sure doesn't bother the goracle)

"Given the current economic situation Obama might be wise to hold off until March or so of next year, when the economy should be rebounding, before rescinding the cuts"

Funny though is how he doesn't seem to think we should wait. Ohh wait, i guess that depends on who hes talking to at the time. Hard to keep track. And, you seem to be the only person I've ever heard say that the economy will be rebounding by March, you must have some inside infor....Ohh wait a minute, I almost forgot, you have that circled on your calendar for the BOs first month on the job. I forgot that once he takes office it will take him less than a month to clean this up. Sad thing is, if it does rebound around that time, I'm sure libs will be claiming credit despite being in office only a month.

And no, I'm not denying that McCain mentioning Joe the plumber 21 times brought attention to Joe. But as Ive been saying, it doesnt matter who joe is or was, the whole concept is that Obama wants to 'spread the wealth'. We work hard so you dont have to. Sure, both plans give us tax breaks, but one gives us hope of the american dream. The other dreams of mother russia.

Here is the whole point of Joe the Plumber, since you apparently have to have things spelled out for you. The whole reason people are talking about Joe the Plumber, is not what his tax bill is now, or about tax leins, or traffic stops, or even what porno mags he might read. Its that Barack Obama wants to 'share the wealth' and take from the rich to give to the poor. Thats a nice stance for anyone who is happy staying put in life, and doing just enough to get by. Heck, lets take more from those evil rich folk, and be able to do even less and just get by. But for those of us who are willing to work harder, and do better, and try to get ahead in this world, whats the point if we have a cap on how successful we can be. Doesn't it seem rather off balance when the top 5% of taxpayers already pay more than 50% of all taxes, and yet you seem to think its ok to demand more? Take out all the entitlements given to the lower 40% of the tax brackets, and that number goes over 70%. You care to wager how much more that will be once Bo increases those entitlements and raises those taxes again? Those numbers havent been run yet, but you can guess where its going.

Ohh, and your point about the tax levels is wrong as well, you are only taking into account the income tax level, but BO is also proposing to raise the cap on SS tax as well, which raises effective taxes almost 10%, not just on those over $250k, but all middle class will be paying that. Oopsie, those darn inconvenient facts keep popping up. I'd give more exact numbers on how much that proposal would cost all of us, but BO has so far given three different answers to what the new cap would be. Depending on where he wants to set it, it could set the end result taxes to higher than ever experienced before. But we'll count on the MSM to cover those facts until after the annointment anyway. They are too busy digging for dirt on Cindy on facebook anyway.

BamaMan:

"By the way, BamaMan - your own bastion of bullshit FOX News stopped McCain from repeating that same "it's Obama's fault" lie just yesterday - link.
Feel free to explain how Fox News got it wrong... ROTFLMAO!"

Well since you dont seem to actually read anything that you respond to, go back and find where I said anything about Obama's campaign. In fact I said "Bottom line, people like you and the MSM have done more investigation of Joe's background, than any of you have even done on 'the One'.

Give you a hint, the bullseye is on your and the medias head, not the campaign. Fine line, I know...

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Bulls-eye? Is that some veiled, macho Alabama pig-lover threat? Lol, what putz.

You said this, Bama:

"Bottom line, people like you and the MSM have done more investigation of Joe's background, that any of you have even done on 'the One'. Simply for having the audacity to ask a difficult question when BO graces his neighborhood with an appearance. Heaven forbid someone ask him a real question."

Joe wasn't investigated by the media because asked Obama a question.

The media leapt all over Joe's story because John McCain mentioned him 21 times in the debate, and used him as an example of the kind of small businesspeople who'd be effected by Obama's tax plan.

The media proceeded to uncover McCain's lies and the truth about Joe not because he dared asked Obama a question, but because McCain made him a star and the media knows McCain is full of crap.

juan:

BamaMan, two comments for you.

(1) The expenses of running a society have to be paid, and the money
to pay for them is collected via taxes. These bills include the
expenses of what one calls rights of the citizens: schools, roads,
police, fire fighters, administration, emergency 911 service, armed
forces, war dejour, etc. A very basic principle is that if the rich
pay less, then the non-rich pay more, and vice versa.

(2) I don't really understand your attitude. You worry more about the
taxes you will pay when you become rich than about the taxed
you do pay now that you are not rich. Very puzzling. If you
will not like to pay taxes in the future, why do you want to happily
pay them now? If I were to take such a non-selfish attitude as to
worry about somebody else's taxes, I would be more concerned about the
taxes paid by people poorer than me, who might not have enough money
to buy basic necessities such as food, heat, electricity, gas for
their car, medical treatment, school supplies, buy themselves time to
help their children, etc.

Using your own argument of class mobility, imagine if your luck one
day turns on you because some rich manager decides to close the
factory, or because of illness, or whatever. Imagine this, not
uncommon situation: you loose your job, your saving, your house,
etc. and you end up at the bottom of society... I bet you will
happily advocate for lower taxes for the rich and higher for the poor
just in case you can climb back up again. But do you know what?
those higher taxes for the poor and lower for the rich will keep you
down there because, as I said in point (1) somebody has to pay for the
bills of society, and if the rich are not paying them then the poor,
namely you, have to do it.

So, you pick. This is basic textbook class warfare, just that you are
so blinded by the dream of becoming rich, and then exert that economic
power over the others, that you are willing to vote against your own
interest and in detriment of those less fortunate than you. You will
be better off advocating a more even society than a more polarized
one, believe me. Be a little more of a social being and less of an
individualistic pig.

Now, go do the right thing...

Steve:

If "Joe the Plumber" doesn't do it for the Left, maybe I can suggest my "rich" friend, "Dave the Restaurant Owner". He makes a comfortable living and earns easily 5 to 10 times what I make, but I don't begrudge him one dime. He's worked his tail off to get where he is. He's scared to death of Obama getting the presidency. He hasn't sorted out all the particulars yet, since nothing is in concrete, but he's assuming that he'll be letting some of his workers go to make up the difference in increased taxes. Taxes will go up, Dave will work a little harder than he already is working, maybe he'll cut back on some of his community giving, and several people will be out of work ... but at least Obama will have some extra money to "spread around." Perhaps some will still end up in the pockets of those Dave has to fire!
By the way, "fat cat wealthy snob" is the last phrase I would ever use to describe my friend Dave.

juan:

Hard to comment on the particulars of some "Dave the Restaurant Owner" without more details than the fact that Dave makes 5 to 10 times what some guy Steve makes, of whom we don't know his income...

Steve tells us that Dave is not a "fat cat wealthy snob". Is that true because Dave is thin? of because he's not a snob? or because he's not wealthy? Earning 5 to 10 times more than Steve, chances are that he is wealthy, although we don't know how much Steve makes, darn it. And whether he's fat or not, a snob or not, is totally irrelevant.

By the way, Steve, do you think poor people are poor because they are lazy? Because I know lots of poor people that are poor in spite of working their behind off.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

"He hasn't sorted out all the particulars yet, since nothing is in concrete, but he's assuming that he'll be letting some of his workers go to make up the difference in increased taxes"

I bet Dave the Restaurant owner is hurting right now. Many people cut back on dining out when the economy gets tight like this. If things keep up like they are Dave could have to lay some folks off.

Hopefully Obama will get elected and we can change the direction of the economy. Less tax breaks for big corporations, and more money in the pockets of lower and middle class folks.

Helping lift the lower and middle class folks means more people are out there spending money at Dave's restaurant. Dave should be smart enough to figure out that an improving economy will mean more customers at his door... sounds like he's hasn't thought this through yet.

Same is true for Joe the Plumber - more people will remodel kitchens and not defer household plumbing issues when the economy is good.

Trickle down didn't work. Trickle down doesn't trickle enough to help the economy. We need to lift the economy from the ground up, and put money spending power in the hands of people who buys plumbing services and eat at restaurants.

Obama's the smartest politician to come along in a long while -- don't listen to John McCain's explanations -- he doesn't have your interests in mind, and isn't smart enough to figure out the economy anyway - he's already admitted that publicly.

BamaMan:

"Bulls-eye? Is that some veiled, macho Alabama pig-lover threat? Lol, what putz."

No, bullseye is simply a term stating who the recipient of my comments were. I was directing my comments at you and the media. Sorry you seem to feel threatened when someone disagrees with you. But you seem to prefer 'targeting' me with terms of 'pig-lover' and 'putz'. Real classy. Nice way to detract from actually talking about the point.

Back to the actual points:

1) As has been proven many times in the past, Lowering taxes increases revenue by building the ecomomy. Raising taxes slows the ecomomy and decreases revenue. Case in point the Bush tax cuts. After the cuts, revenues increased. The only problem was that spending blew out of control at the same time. (Prob one of the few things both sides can be mad about). Bush Sr. raised taxes, revenues plummeted, and thus the recession that brought us Clinton, for better or worse. We agree on most points, there is a cost for society, we just disagree on how to raise the revenue. And guess what, noone is advocating the rich giving less. Neither side says the non-rich pay more either. The differences are that Obama will raise taxes on rich, not just 'rolling back', but also in SS taxes. Very bad time in the economy to be doing anything like that. And even if it is miraculously healed in march as you predict, Doens't picking the scab of a freshly healed wound just make it bleed again?

2) No, you obvoiusly don't understand my attitude. I believe in fairness. I dont believe in punishing anyone for being successful. If you put in hard work and effort, you should be able to enjoy the rewards. Once again you are accusing me of raising taxes on the poor, when both plans advocate lowering taxes for them. More than 40% of americans do not pay any taxes. In fact, they get refunds despite not paying anything into the system. Why do we want to turn the IRS into a big welfare program? I thought we already had one of those. If god forbid I should lose my job(which is a real possibility if BO has his way), I would certainly take advantage of the welfare system to feed my kids, but only long enough until I get my feet under me again(actually, ive been smart enough to put two month salary aside for just this possibility, but we are in your scenario here). But thats welfare, not taxes. If I were job hunting, it would sure be easier if the companies had that extra cash to hire more people. Not all companies are honest and would expend the extra money into more jobs, but most would, because that is the way a company grows. The last thing I want is to be sitting here telling my potential employer that he should spend more money on taxes. You want to do something more for the poor in this world? Then be like me. I teach at the local community college in the evenings training tomorrows electricians. Every last one of my students has a dream, every last one of them are getting government assistance, and every last one of them want a better paying job so they can get off welfare. Companies make jobs, not government.

And you still haven't gone into SS tax either. No, you would prefer to sit back from your 'social being' point of view and call me names like 'individualistic pig'. I believe in a fair society, for everyone. I dont hate the upper class simply because they have money and I don't. I also expect to pay my fair share, and I'm sorry, resting 60% of the total tax burden on the upper 5% doesnt sound fair to me. Should they pay more than the poor, yes, undoubtedly, but its already a very big percentage. And BO wants to make that even more? Look at these numbers and tell me that the burden on the wealthy is not so lop-sided already, and that they need to pay more. The only reason this is a 'class-warfare' issue is because I want to lower taxes on those who pay them without having to hurt someone else. BO's programs lower some taxes, increases welfare, but at the cost of someone else. You want to tax them just because they make more than you?

To turn this full circle, the reason Joe the plumber means something to us, is not who he is, but what BO said. Both yours and BO's ideas say that 'spread the wealth' and that push more tax burden to rich while giving to the poor. Bottom line its a socialist point of view. I say that without negative connotation, I recognize it as a valid point of view, and in an ideal world would have many nice points. The problem is, BO is not talking about this point of view, and neither are you or any of them MSM. If the goal is so noble, why not talk about your ideas instead of crying foul. Why try to sneak this past the electorate without discussing it. BO never came out and explained that yes, I have socialist tendencies, instead he denied it and declared it of limits for discussion. Same as he has for any other potentially questionable aspects of his past. Simply say they are off limits, cry foul, accuse racism, say its deterring from the issues, anything but to let us know what his actual ideas are. You want to talk about distracting, lets talk about joes past instead of BO's spread the wealth program.

BamaMan:

Sorry forgot the link above.

Link

BamaMan:

"Hopefully Obama will get elected and we can change the direction of the economy. Less tax breaks for big corporations, and more money in the pockets of lower and middle class folks."

I just wish we all knew where this turning around the economy is going to come from, when people start losing jobs, forclosing on their homes and draining extra funding from welfare because their company had to cut back.

BamaMan:

And one more thing before before I go, Its a bit dishonest dont ya think when you keep saying companies will get additional tax breaks when the tax plan says nothing of the sort, they just wont change. Companies will get some perks to be sure through other plans however, just like BO will raise additional taxes through removing the social security tax cap(which will effect a lot more than just those over 200k), but noone wants to discuss that. And I've given Lee three opportunities. Inconvenient truth?

Finally, Juan, there are undoubtedly many people working their butts off trying to make a living. But if their income is say $30K how much more money do you think they should be given as tax welfare that will do any good? If they are paying taxes, do you think that extra $500 will change the world for them? But one must also acnowledge that a large percentage of welfar recipients, are abusing the system. All we are saying is let welfare do its job, why create a second welfare system?

Lee Ward:

"just like BO will raise additional taxes through removing the social security tax cap(which will effect a lot more than just those over 200k), but noone wants to discuss that"

No, it's bullshit.

Democrat Barack Obama told a group of senior citizens today that repairing the Social Security system will require applying the payroll tax to incomes above $250,000 a year.

``We have an obligation to secure the future of one of the most successful programs in our history,'' Obama said in Columbus, Ohio. ``And that starts with talking straight to the American people about the challenges that lie ahead.''

The Illinois senator set out for the first time where he would apply the payroll tax that funds the government retirement insurance program. The 6.2 percent tax now applies to income up to $102,000 a year. Under Obama's plan, the tax would not apply to income between $102,000 and $250,000. He said that means 97 percent of Americans would see no change in their tax burden.

Remove the cap but let those between 102,00 and 250,00 pay nothing more than they do already - sounds fair.

I'm not losing sleep if the wealthiest top 3% of the nation pay more in social security taxes - since the cap has been at $102,000 lately - and was in the $80K range for years and years - which meant those individuals were not paying taxes on their higher incomes for decades.

This underscores the "Joe the Plumber" fallacy completely.

McCain and the rich snobs on the right are propping up Joe the Plumber as s symbol of what's wrong with Obama's tax plans - and when you dig a little deeper you find "Joe the Plumber" isn't effected at all - its the rich, snobby pigs at the top of the income heap who are pulling the strings on "Joe the Puppet" instead.

lillypad:

SORRY fellow Democrats but Mr. OBAMA has lost ALL support from my New Mexico family...

"spread the wealth" well how can we trust him to Spread Fairly when he is doing all this cheating with ACORN...

No Way ...29 New Mexico votes going to MCCAIN PALIN

Allen:

lillypad, Cutting taxes on the rich, so the trickle down BS theory will spread the wealth downward is a LIE,

Bush spread the wealth upwards, and with no congressional oversight for 6 years, the uber rich raped our country. And McCain plans to continue that.

Look at all the lobbyists McCain has around him, that should tell you something about what will happen. But maybe you're correct. This country needs 4 more years of the same policy to wake all the Americans up.

Juan:

Also, lillypad, about those accusations of voter fraud, so far the only one arrested for voter fraud is a republican. Since that is what matters to you and the other 28 members of your family, you can all go back to vote for Obama now.

Here you are more details:
Republican arrested for voter fraud

Steve:

"By the way, Steve, do you think poor people are poor because they are lazy? Because I know lots of poor people that are poor in spite of working their behind off."

Is this what you infer from my description of Dave working hard to become wealthy? How could I ever make a generalization about an entire class of people? It wouldn't likely hold up, would it? I guess from my perspective, it's any combination of factors that produce poverty - it would be stupidly simplistic to believe that poor people are poor because they are lazy.

And of course, poverty is a relative term, isn't it? In fact, I am currently too poor to afford beer, cigarettes, cable TV, big screen TVs, a boat, a new car, a second home, a mistress, etc. But if you could transport to my house a Third World mom who survives on a bowl of beans every other day, sends her kids to the local dump to scrounge for "valuables" and has witnessed the starvation death of several of her own children, then she would undoubtedly be amazed at my wealth and perhaps even call me a "fat cat wealthy snob"! She would say, "Who in the world needs 1,900 square feet to house a family of six?" She would say, "Who needs to drive a fancy '95 Saab hatchback when you've got a perfectly good bicycle in the garage? ... by the way, mind if I move my family into your garage? It would be nice to have a concrete floor under us." She would shake her head in disbelief at my GREED, wouldn't she?

Juan, if you're still wondering what I make, I'll be glad to tell you: I earn $34,000 a year as a high school teacher. I always feel like I have to say that I'm not one of those teachers who whine about being paid too little. I get several months off every summer and every major holiday to spend time with my wife and kids... who could put a price tag on that?

And Lee, Dave is not necessarily hurting too bad right now - he says this has been a record year in the amount of customers he has seen. The problem is that his profit margins have shrunk with higher food prices, so he's not seeing any real difference in his bottom line. I think it helps that he serves excellent food at very reasonable prices.

My main problem with Obama boils down to this: I just don't understand where it's the government's business to decide who is "too wealthy" and how best to spread that wealth around. I would rather be the one to choose how my wealth gets spread around. That probably makes me an "individualistic pig."


Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Well then you need to move to another country, Steve - because the graduated income tax rates have been around for a long time - and all Obama has proposed with respect to top bracket income taxes is rolling the rates back to pre-Bush levels. It's not a tax increase, it's the rescinding of a tax decrease.

The deficit we have now is unacceptable and needs to be dealt with, and since Republicans have failed it's time for the Democrats to step in and clean up their mess again. Bill Clinton did it, and so will Obama.

If Republicans had kept Bush in line with respect to spending I suspect the current election would be a cake-walk for McCain, so you Republicans who stood by silent while Bush spent like a drunken sailor only have yourselves to blame if you're unhappy with Obama's rise.

Steve:

Yes, I realize the graduated income tax rates have been around for a long time (I'm all for the Fair Tax myself - but that's a whole different conversation), and I think a case could be made for those earning more to be paying a higher percentage for roads, schools, courts, militaries, paying down the deficit, etc. The point of the Joe the Plumber story is that Obama is not talking about the "rescinding of a tax decrease" for the wealthy in order for them to pay a greater share of legitimate government expenses. When he couples the "rescinding of a tax decrease" for the wealthy with "tax cuts" for people who don't pay income taxes, that's called redistribution of wealth and where does that end? And what in the world gives the government the right or the responsibility for doing that? The Constitution??

You're right about Bush and the Republicans (and the Democrats too??) spending like crazy and I've been as mad as hell about it, but how do I get my voice heard in Washington D.C.? Not too easy to do - a lot of ordinary citizens have simply given up the idea of trying and we sit on the sidelines and watch and despair. So the last thing I want to hear about is giving the federal government more power and more money to do with as they please - I don't care if its the Republicans at the helm or the Democrats. If the federal government shrank and the local and state governments regained a bit of power, maybe the ordinary citizen could stand a better chance of having a voice in this mess and in holding all the politicians accountable.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

"When he couples the "rescinding of a tax decrease" for the wealthy with "tax cuts" for people who don't pay income taxes, that's called redistribution of wealth and where does that end?"

This isn't anything new.

We currently tax workers and distribute money to the needy via welfare, food stamps, Medicare, etc.

This incessant whining is way overwrought. Cries of socialism - bullshit. This is nothing different from what we've done in the past.

But now the rich have a new puppet - Joe the Plumber...

"Look at poor Joe - he can't buy the plumbing business he dreams about.. Awww"

Reality - Joe makes $40K a year, and will be able to buy that business sooner if Obama is elected.

"Look at poor Joe - he thinks Obama is a socialist... Awww"

Joe's wrong, and you'll note that McCain and Palin aren't calling Obama a socialist - they are saying "Joe thinks Obama is a socialist." McCain and Palin know better than to make that statement, so they fool the rubes by using Joe...

They are using Joe as a puppet for their lies and bullshit.

Oh, but let's not look at the real Joe - let's look at the fantasy Joe instead... the fantasy Joe that is seconds away from buying his business that will only make exactly $250,000. Won't Obama's tax plan hurt poor Joe?

No, it'll roll tax rates back to where they were back in the 1990s when the economy was booming under Bill Clinton, as opposed to todays' economy under George Bush that has the lower tax rate and still the economy is going in the crapper.

With more money in the pockets of everyone the economy will grow. Joe's plumbing business will succeed as more Americans can afford to remodel their kitchens and baths, etc. etc. Small businesses rely on small customers. Toledo Ohio doesn't have a lot of millionaires, but it's got a lot of folks who are hurting with this economy.

Let's look at real people and real situations, and real tax rates, and real Americans who are out of work, and figure out which plan is better.

The answer is Obama's.

And isn't John McCain advocating a redistribution of wealth with his $2500 tax credit for heathcare?

Yes, he is - those damn Republican socialists!

And if you want real socialism instead of this faux political bullshit, look at the nationalization of the US banking system under Bush, Paulson and Bernacke.

"So the last thing I want to hear about is giving the federal government more power and more money to do with as they please "

You've learned well from the 8 years of Bush's blunders, but buying into the phony Joe the Puppet story isn't going to save you Steve. We need Obama, not four more years of McBush.

"If the federal government shrank and the local and state governments regained a bit of power, maybe the ordinary citizen could stand a better chance of having a voice in this mess and in holding all the politicians accountable."

It didn't shrink under Bush, and you aren't smart enough to realize that McCain is four more years of the same, so are you voting for Barr then?

Steve:

"It didn't shrink under Bush, and you aren't smart enough to realize that McCain is four more years of the same, so are you voting for Barr then?"

As a matter of fact, YES, I am definitely considering voting for Barr. But I get so tired of hearing the 'four more years of Bush' crap. What is that based on? Whose crystal ball?? From my perspective there is no way McCain will be just like Bush ... he'll probably be worse. I'm one of those wishing to vote "none of the above" and settling (possibly) for voting "lesser of two evils." Here's what's really distressing me about this election: Over 300 million people in this country and this is our choice? I am highly suspicious of anyone who is a gung-ho supporter of either McCain or Obama ... I don't see how an objective person feels anything but a nagging despair when closely examining either side.

"And if you want real socialism instead of this faux political bullshit, look at the nationalization of the US banking system under Bush, Paulson and Bernacke." - Can we add Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, or does that interfere with your paradigm of the Democrats being full of goodness and light? DEMOCRATS are squeeky clean do-gooders. THEY had no part in this nationalization business. THEIR hands are clean. THEY want to heal our souls and save the planet. ONLY Republican politicians lie and spew BS. ONLY Republican politicians have screwed up ideas, are motivated by money and power, and are careful to always cover their asses.

"Let's look at real people and real situations, and real tax rates, and real Americans who are out of work, and figure out which plan is better.

The answer is Obama's." -- That was fast... I hardly had time to look. Thank goodness we rubes have you to do all the deep thinking and analysis ... I'm just not smart enough myself. I'll quit whining and just look forward to the selfless, public servant-minded, pure and holy Democrats being in complete control of D.C. Finally Utopia will dawn and I will never have another reason to whine.

"We need Obama, not four more years of McBush."

I need Obama.
I need Obama.
I need Obama.
I need Obama.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

"But I get so tired of hearing the 'four more years of Bush' crap. What is that based on?"

McCain voted with Bush 90% of the time.

One of the times McCain didn't vote with Bush was when he stood up to Bush over the tax cuts back in 2001, claiming it disadvantaged the middle class...and now McCain supports those cuts.

The 10% of the time McCain voted against Bush seems to be shrinking.

McCain wants us to believe that he "stood up" to is party leaders -- when in fact once he decided to run for president what McCain did was bend over instead, and toe the party line that he'd correctly opposed in 2001.

He's a weak-kneed putz who bends his principles in order to get elected.

"Can we add Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, or does that interfere with your paradigm of the Democrats being full of goodness and light?"

You can, but it doesn't apply. The bank bailout was proposed by Bush, Bernacke and Paulson -- Frank and Dodd had nothing to do with that proposal.

It's the Republicans who proposed nationalizing the banks and sticking the taxpayers with the bill. Damn socialists!

Next thing you know Bush will propose an economic incentive of $600 for every taxpayer. Doh!

Oh wait, that would be "socialism" again...

And of course we can't count Sarah Palin's welfare handouts of $1200 oil payout for each Alaskan -- no, those Alaskans earned that handout by... uhm, let me get back to you on that, you betcha!


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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