Oct 17, 2008

Lost Marbles and Joe the Plumber

The "Joe the Plumber" episode made me really cranky. He was just a regular guy standing in his own front yard when a candidate for president walks up his driveway (albeit with a couple hundred supporters and several TV cameras in tow) and when the candidate asked him for his vote, Joe asked a legitimate question. And for that he got slammed and mocked and derided and made fun of. What's up with that?

For the record, I am a Libertarian (less is more when it comes to government) and also for the record, I truly don't give a rat's rear whether Joe has a plumber's license or if he's just a guy who does plumbing. I thought he asked a very good question.

I relate to Joe. I just finished closing out the books for September and saw that Morley and his partner worked a total of 481 hours between them last month, or an average of 60.1 hours per week each. Or to put it another way, they each did a week and a half's worth of work every week.

We sacrifice a lot because of work. I often blog about how rarely we have free time or even take an entire weekend off, and Heaven knows our family hasn't seen much of us this year because we're always working. But we don't mind really. Even though we get tired of it sometimes we're willing to make the sacrifices now so we can enjoy ourselves when we retire in a few years. That's the American way--the harder you work, the luckier you get.

Joe the Plumber is working hard to get lucky too. He's a single parent raising a kid and would like to buy the small plumbing company he currently works for.

Except in the opinion of people like Senator Obama, people like us and Joe the Plumber are bad guys--we're too fortunate. Ours is one of the evil businesses that will have to pay higher taxes so Obama can "spread the wealth around because it is good for everybody". (Oh, really?) It just isn't "fair" for us to have more than our fair share--how much ever he decides that is--regardless of how hard we work or what we sacrifice to get it. Never mind that we're soon to be old codgers and are working like dogs while we can so we'll be able to support ourselves in retirement. And never mind that the company might possibly use that money to pay employees or buy better technology or something else useful that would grow the business, rather than handing it over to the government so they can "spread it around".

In fact, they say it is our patriotic duty to pay high taxes so the rewards we reap from our hard work can be given to others who are not as fortunate as we are--you know, those unfortunate people who don't work 60 hour weeks and get to take weekends off.

And before you think I am some insensitive jerk who doesn't care about the least of my brothren, that's not true. I give a bigger percentage of my income to charitable works than Senator Obama does (based on the numbers in the his tax returns) so I'm already doing a better job of "spreading it around" than he is. That is, my money is where his mouth is, and like Joe says in that video, I don't need another set of parents called "The Government" to tell me how to run my life or what I need to do to be a good person. Really, I'm on it. Doing the best I can here.

My anger isn't just about tax brackets. It's about the mindset that a government should decide so many of the details of your life and take away so much of your liberty for the "common good" as they perceive it. It's anger that a group of elected officials believe it is up to them to decide how well, or how poorly, citizens should live or what's "fair". And it's the eagerness to heap derision and ridicule on some poor rube who had the nerve to ask a politician a simple question.

And while I'm on a rant here, can somebody please tell me where exactly in the Constitution does the government get the power of income distribution? What gives it the authority to tell you how you will live, or how you will teach your kid, or how "fortunate" you are entitled to be? If you find those answers anywhere, please let me know at your earliest convenience.

While you are at it, if you find a single instance where a tax hike actually expanded, not contracted, the economy please let me know that too.

Has this country lost its marbles? Seriously.

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