Plumberdämmerung

Liberal blogger Jed has grabbed the ABC News video of Obama discussing his tax plan with Joe "The Plumber" Wurzelbacher.

It's fascinating viewing. Wurzelbacher is not the least bit star-struck and keeps prodding Obama to get off his "95 percent of folks get a tax cut" talking point. When Wurzelbacher asks about the flat tax, Obama conflates it with a national sales tax, which is just odd. But the conversation is broader than the point McCain has pulled from it: that Obama told an average guy that we need to "spread the wealth around" by taxing him.

I see what McCain is doing by making a populist argument about tax cuts as the campaign enters the final days. I'm not sure how coherent it is, though. McCain's big proposal of a week ago (which he hasn't changed) is a $250 billion buyout of bad mortgages. He wants to run against redistribution while promising that your tax dollars will be spent—let's say "redistributed"—rescuing other people from their financial crises.

This gets at a fundamental incoherence in the McCain campaign. Theoretically, he wants to cut everyone's taxes. Concretely, he wants to (and thinks the president can) rescue the economy by any means necessary. In the early part of this decade McCain said, regularly, that digging out of a crisis or winning a war "required sacrifice." Specifically, he said that wartime tax cuts make no sense. Now we're facing an economic crisis while we're fighting two wars. How to dig out? Tax cuts!

McCain definitely believes in tax cuts in peacetime, but the campaign he's running now sounds out of place. It's a 1992 campaign or a 2000 campaign. His team thinks it found a winner in this plumber-as-everyman framing. I wouldn't be surprised to see people waving wrenches at McCain rallies when (as Sarah Palin said today) "Joe or Jane the Plumber" is name-dropped. In two or four years that sort of populism could work. But it doesn't make as much sense this year.

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  • jackscrow||

    The difference between two philosophies:

    One wants Joe to act like a man, help him and society by encouraging him to pull his own pants up. YEA JOE! Way to go!

    The other wants to take Farmer Brown's over-alls and give them to Plumber Joe, so we don't have to stare at his crack. Poor Joe. Boo-hoo.

    After all, Farmer Brown has two pairs of over-alls. He can wear his Sunday pair all the time.

    And Plumber Joe won't ever have to worry about pulling his own pants up....

    In addtion:

    The only part of the debate that from my perspective (I was listening, not watching. It makes for a better understanding of what is actually said.) McCain seemed to win, was the short exchange on the Supreme Court.

    Obama killed him on health care. Again.

    If I were the moderator, I would have asked three questions:

    1- Do either of you support the UN's Small Arms Ban Treaty, and if so, why?

    2- Do either of you think the Constitution is a "living document", and will you pick "activist" Judges for the SCOTUS, and what is your definition of "activist Judge"?

    3- What are the advantages of allowing Health Care companies to set up shop in states with lower regulation, thus lower care; and how does this relate to the McCain health care plan.

    I admit the last question is loaded.

    Obama's Health Care Plan is better.

    I would rather have McCain picking the SCOTUS Judges. Obama's stand on that scares me. He is going to pick people who want to MAKE LAW, not determine the Constitutionality of Law.

  • Nigel Watt||

    One of those bastards will be president. Assume the position.

  • ||

    Barack Obama wants to give bigger tax cuts to people who work for small businesses.

    John McCain wants to give bigger tax cuts to people who own them.

    I wish I had Joe the Plumber's problems: deciding whether to go ahead and buy the business, worrying that I might end up in the highest tax bracket...

  • ||

    I guess it goes along with the $5 million remark.

    An average guy is one who only owns a small business.

  • ktc2||

    If "Joe" can buy a business that is making more than a quarter million a year in profit he's not your average guy. I know the McSame campaign wants to paint him as an average middle class guy who will pay more in taxes (and maybe he will) but if he's got that kind of cash he's not an average middle class guy.

  • Elemenope||

    McCain definitely believes in tax cuts in peacetime...

    Can someone tell me at what point in a hypothetical McCain presidency would we be "in peacetime"?

  • ||

    Turns out Joe the Plumber is not even registered to vote. NOT choosing to vote on a race by race basis may make sense, but not even giving yourself that option is idiotic (yes, I am an elitist calling Joe the Plumber an idiot). Yet this is the "new" face of the McCain campaign. Like with a Palin, a race to the bottom.

  • Elemenope||

    henry, that's not true.

    He's a registered Republican and registered to vote in Ohio.

  • ||

    If "Joe" can buy a business that is making more than a quarter million a year in profit he's not your average guy.

    Dwight Eisenhower got in some trouble when he was president for arguing, I think it was in a debate, "Take the average American family earning $100,000 a year..."

    This was the 1950s.

  • ||

    David, I appreciate the Wagner reference here.

  • ||

    One of the wealthier peasents dared speak to one of our royalty. Not just royalty but the royalty. The media is going to kill this guy.

  • ||

    Joe is probably going to borrow to buy the company, with the loan based as much on the income the company generates as what Joe has in his bank account today. A $250,000/yr business isn't something you save up for with a few more bucks a month without going into a higher tax bracket long before saving that much.

    I don't think Joe is wealthy as much as he's promising the bank a cut of his business's profits for the money to buy said company.

  • Elemenope||

    One of the wealthier peasents dared speak to one of our royalty. Not just royalty but the royalty. The media is going to kill this guy.

    What on Earth are you talking about?

  • short, fat bastard||

    I wish I had Joe the Plumber's problems: deciding whether to go ahead and buy the business, worrying that I might end up in the highest tax bracket...

    Get a real job then joe

  • ||

    That is how contracting works. You work your ass off, save some money and then use it as a downpayment to buy your own business. Some people are not interested in the extra work and spend their lives working for others. It is a lot easier that way with less hassels. But if you want to get rich, being a plumber or a contractor of some sort is a good way to do it, if you are smart and willing to work your ass off.

  • ||

    What on Earth are you talking about?

    The media is going to hate on this guy mostly because he is not one of them and he dared really go after a politician they like. Joe didn't understand his role as the average guy who asks easy questions.

  • Ravac||

    Nothing like an economic downturn/recession to bring out the class warriors.

    Well... more so than usual.

  • Elemenope||

    I appreciate the Wagner reference here.

    Wagner was a megalomaniacal, anti-Semitic, bombastic, no-talent hack with the aesthetic sense of a five-year-old finger painter.

    ...

    I also appreciated the reference.

  • ||

    a 250K+ business really isn't as big as people think. Especially since the taxes are on gross receipts, not on profit. A 250K business might employ, you know, 3-5 people, and with operating costs the guy's probably not going to pull much of a profit.

  • ||

    The media is going to kill this guy.

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!! Yeah, that's what's going on. The media's really tearing into him.

  • Elemenope||

    The media is going to hate on this guy mostly because he is not one of them and he dared really go after a politician they like. Joe didn't understand his role as the average guy who asks easy questions.

    John, you don't understand.

    I *got* what you were saying. What I'm asking is:

    What THE FUCK are you talking about?

    Is it generally the behavior of the media to pile-on to a guy who "dares to question our leaders"?

    Do you have examples of this strange behavior?

  • ||

    The media is going to hate on this guy mostly because he is not one of them and he dared really go after a politician they like.

    Uh huh. John, answer one question: have you watched a single news report or read a single story about "Joe the Plumber?"

    Because you're telling me the sky's green, and I'm looking right at it.

  • TallDave||

    It's official: Joe the Plumber has now been vetted more than Obama or Biden.

  • kinnath||

    But if you want to get rich, being a plumber or a contractor of some sort is a good way to do it, if you are smart and willing to work your ass off.

    Owning a plumbing or contracting business can provide a good life: middle six figures perhaps. It also means 10 to 15 hour days, boat loads of capital equipment, and the never-ending risk of being wiped out by forces beyond your control.

    I wouldn't consider the owner of a plumbing business who nets 250K a year to be rich. I reserve that for someone with a seven figure or better income and net worth.

    But what the hell, I have been called an elitist many, many times in this forum.

  • matt2||

    Yeah, TallDave - Obama certainly hasn't been vetted at all! There are probably all kinds of skeletons in his closet that Hillary, and Edwards, and McCain, and whoever his opponent for the Senate was, have missed!

    Where the hell do you get this stuff?

  • ||

    a 250K+ business really isn't as big as people think. Especially since the taxes are on gross receipts, not on profit. A 250K business might employ, you know, 3-5 people, and with operating costs the guy's probably not going to pull much of a profit.

    Good point.

    Pat Buchanan this morning: "If Joe's business earns $1,000,000 in profits, and Barack Obama's tax plan increases his tax by 5%, that's $50,000. His $3000 per employee tax credit will add up to $9000, so it's an increase of $41,000."

    If there's a plumbing business out there that makes a million dollar annual profit - not earns that much in sales, but profit to Joe the Owner - while employing a grand total of three people, then they're stuffing heroin in the PVC piping.

  • ||

    Wait, TAO has it backwards. Businesses aren't taxed on gross receipts.

  • ||

    Because you're telling me the sky's green, and I'm looking right at it.

    Maybe John's in Jersey today. The fumes would explain a lot.

    Anyway, Isn't Johnny Office Drone a better representation of the average American at this point?

  • SIV||

    I'm still betting Obama is going to raise taxes on a lot of people earning less than 250k, or is it 200k,or 125k? Sure his "plan" uses one of the above figures but what is going to pass congress?
    I'll predict right here and now there is going to be a substantial increase in fuel taxes.

  • ||

    Businesses aren't taxed on gross receipts.

    Really?

  • gmatts||

    If Joe is a plumber, why does he need to "buy" a business? Can't he just start one up?


    (I'm not trying to cast aspersions here. I just truly don't undertsand the plumbing business - I've never plumbed before)

  • ||

    a 250K+ business really isn't as big as people think. Especially since the taxes are on gross receipts, not on profit. A 250K business might employ, you know, 3-5 people, and with operating costs the guy's probably not going to pull much of a profit.

    They are? Since when? Every accounting course I've taken in my life has taxes coming after COGS, SGA, depreciation and amortization, interest expense, R&D and other operating expenses. That means he's taxed after paying salaries and operating costs.

  • Fluffy||

    Forget about what Obama says about taxes - one thing he said that really, really pissed me off last night dealt with his attitude towards spending.

    He said that, to cut spending, he'd got through the budget line by line to find things to cut.

    Um, HELLO, Mr. Obama - you're a sitting Senator. I assume you can get a copy of the budget if you want one. Why haven't you ALREADY gone through the budget line by line, gotten on the floor of the Senate, and proposed your cuts?

    This is just as bad as when McCain says he'll go after waste, fraud and abuse in the budget. Um, excuse me, Grandpa - but if you're aware of waste, fraud and abuse in the budget, how about going onto the floor of the Senate and reading it into the record? How long have you been there, Senator? Shouldn't the Commerce Committee have dealt with this problem already?

  • bubba||

    Logical coherence cannot survive 6 months in the Senate.

  • gmatts||

    "Anyway, Isn't Johnny Office Drone a better representation of the average American at this point?"

    Of course not. Everyone knows that the majority of people in the US are farmers and cobblers.

  • ||

    gmatts | October 16, 2008, 11:23am | #
    If Joe is a plumber, why does he need to "buy" a business? Can't he just start one up?


    I think that it's buying the name and built in clientele more than anything else.

  • gmatts||

    "He said that, to cut spending, he'd got through the budget line by line to find things to cut."

    Obama talks as if the president has a line-item veto which allows him to go line by line thru the budget(which McCain would like to have as well, and seems to talk sometimes as if the president does have that power).

  • Elemenope||

    Fluffy @ 11:24am

    Best point all day.

  • ||

    I confess to being confused with the taxing thing. I understood that there was a certain taxing of salary expense, which is why businesses prefer to give benefits (because they are taxed at a lower rate) than higher salaries.

  • ||

    This is just as bad as when McCain says he'll go after waste, fraud and abuse in the budget.

    Let me point you in the right direction, Queeg, old boy; its initials are

    T

    S

    A.

  • gmatts||

    "I think that it's buying the name and built in clientele more than anything else."

    That's what I figured, but it just seems odd that you'd save up all this money to buy a companies name and clientele that only is worth $250,000.

    But I've probably spent too much time thinking thru Joe the Plumbers business decisions.

  • robc||

    joe,

    An average guy is one who only owns a small business.

    I think my income is fairly average.

  • Oldtimer||

    Joe the plummer. Easy, work in cash, give a 10% discount, do a little bartering along the way. Wife drives a company car, etc. AIG figured out ways to enjoy life at someone else' expense long ago. Now that you've had public exposure you're gonna have to really careful, though.

  • ||

    I understood that there was a certain taxing of salary expense, which is why businesses prefer to give benefits (because they are taxed at a lower rate) than higher salaries.

    That has to do with income/payroll taxes (which are deductible) versus taxes on benefits. But both of those fall under employee compensation costs and are tax deductible. The reason being is that companies can give more in (certain) benefits at a lower after-tax cost than employees can purchase on their own. However, most benefits, are equal to cash payed out and are taxed the exact same way*.

    * For example, Sarah Palin did not declare trips her family took with her on state business as a benefit even though there was no work related reason for them to come. As such, this is considered a benefit in kind and taxes are due on them like any other cash payout.

  • ||

    It would be a coup if Barr could get Joe's endorsement..

  • ||

    Do you think the GOP proposing to Waterboard Obama is going to work?

  • robc||

    if he's got that kind of cash he's not an average middle class guy.

    Sure he is, if he is unaverage in saving.

    My Dad never made more than 60k a year in income at his job, I dont think (I dont know exact numbers). I do know, because they make sure I know where all their financial info is, in case something happens to them, that their net worth is in the millions. Small single digit millions (and with the recent stock market changes, maybe only a single million now :) ) but still.

    A few times, my Dad considered starting his own business, but he never did, timing wasnt ever right. But, Im sure he identifies with this guy.

    Its possible to have the kind of wealth that allows you to buy a business like that while never having more than middle class income.

  • ||

    The guy is definately talking about profit. Any of ya'll hire a plumber lately? They ain't cheap.

  • kinnath||

    That's what I figured, but it just seems odd that you'd save up all this money to buy a companies name and clientele that only is worth $250,000.

    $250K net income per year.

    From the other thread:

    Let's say the company's net income is $250,000 (for simplicities sake). If we assume a P/E of 8x, since plumbing is a relatively mature industry, he's in Ohio (so high growth is unlikely) and it's a pretty competitive market. That company would go for about $2 million.

    It seems unlikely that Joe the Plumber has $2M sitting around, so Joe needs a small business loan to buy the business. An impending change in the tax code could easily invalidate the business case to borrow the money to acquire a 2 million dollar business.

  • :-/||

    Wagner was a megalomaniacal, anti-Semitic, bombastic, no-talent hack...

    Wow.

    I also appreciated the reference.

    Good of you to point out again how bright you are, just in case we missed the first clue.

  • kinnath||

    Close the tags dummy :-(

  • Elemenope||

    Wow.

    Are you saying he wasn't?

  • robc||

    joe,

    Businesses aren't taxed on gross receipts.

    They are in KY. Well, its an alternative minimum tax and I think they got rid of it again - it had only been around a few years. Doesnt come close to in play for my company.

    While it existed and if it still does, you basically have to figure out your taxes 3 ways:

    net profit
    gross profit
    gross receipts

    Then pay the highest. For any reasonable small business, the net profit was the one that was going to hit you. I think if you had greater than $10M in receipts and someone couldnt turn a profit, then this tax came into play.

  • ||

    Fluffy,

    The federal budget printed on one-sided paper stands several feet high. A Senator has a staff of, what, a dozen people? Two?

    The level of detailed review and program analysis Obama is talking about is something that requires resources well beyond those available to a Senator.

  • gmatts||

    kinnath -

    I just went back and rewatched the video. I thought he originally had said something to the effect of "I'm going to buy a company for about $250,000". I completely heard him wrong, as he stated the company he's buying earns about $250000 a year.
    Thanks for pointing that out.

  • ||

    quick threadjack, sort of.

    Did I hear McCain say last night that he thought anyone agreeing with the Roe v Wade decision was NOT qualified to sit on the SCOTUS?

  • ||

    Has anyone checked his countertops yet?

  • robc||

    joe,

    You just pointed out the biggest problem with the budget. No senator should ever vote on any bill that, at the very least, there staff hadnt read. If you cant split it up amongst yourself and your staff and go thru it line by line, you need to vote against it. Otherwise, you arent doing your job.

  • ||

    Why is $250K the demarcation point? Why not $500K? Why not $258,653.24?. Perhaps because it's almost completely subjective and arbitrary, and is high enough for most of Obama's dumb ass supporters to consider "a lot of money".

    What remains unanswered is why Obama and his cronies think they are entitled to it.

  • ||

    Did I hear McCain say last night that he thought anyone agreeing with the Roe v Wade decision was NOT qualified to sit on the SCOTUS?

    Not directly, but logically speaking, yes, he said that.

  • ||

    robc,

    Thanks for the info. I was talking about the federal tax code, which would be the more relevant measure when discussing the presidential candidate's tax plans.

  • robc||

    Don,

    What remains unanswered is why Obama and his cronies think they are entitled to it.

    As I said on a thread on some different topic a few days ago, the question isnt whether Obama or McCain has the better tax plan, but what is the moral authority for them to have a tax plan at all?

  • robc||

    joe,

    When you are an S corp, as many small businesses are, the state tax laws are MUCH more relavent.

    From the federal perspective, my business income is personal income.

  • ||

    robc,

    I meant relevant when discussing the presidential candidates' tax plans.

    As far as I can tell, neither of them have proposed any changes to Kentucky's tax code; nor are they running for any offices with the authority to do so.

  • ||

    what is the moral authority for them to have a tax plan at all?

    Ultimately, I'm going to say "love it or leave it". Sorry, but that's the only answer.

  • Joe||

    joe,

    Let it go, this guy is middle class. And he has a valid point about taxes: there is no free lunch. Taxes hurt economic growth by punishing the successful. I know you have little to no respect for market participants, but the achievers are the people that drive growth, job creation and standard of living increases. Community activists, trial lawyers, bureaucrats and city planners are at best obstacles. More taxes equals less future wealth. That is a fact of life.

  • ||

    "As I said on a thread on some different topic a few days ago, the question isnt whether Obama or McCain has the better tax plan, but what is the moral authority for them to have a tax plan at all?"

    Yup, agreed. If McCain wasn't such a stooge, he could make this point. But since the guy has never held job in the freaking private sector (as far as I know), he's unable to even grasp it.

    Shouldn't the debate be about whether we should have corporate taxes...at all?

  • ||

    Well, sure he's middle class. $250,000 per annum is way, way below $5,000,000.

    Oh, and fuck you very much, snob.

  • ||

    Trial lawyers are obstacles? To what, preventing and and providing restitution to victims of tortious actions?

    I've never understood the strain of conservo-libertarianism that hates lawyers.

  • ||

    Taxes hurt economic growth by punishing the successful.

    Can't be punishing our betters, now. That must be why McCain wants to give much smaller tax cuts to the "unsuccessful" people who don't earn a quarter of a million dollars a year. That'll show 'em!

    Hey, shmuck, next time be more successful.

    Elitist prick, you wouldn't know middle class if it drove its Hyndai onto your lawn and did donuts.

  • concerned observer||

    This wingnut apparently has no concept of social justice. Whenever someone says "spread the wealth" the wingnuts get jumpy. Why shouldn't there be a more equal distribution of wealth? I will now be shouted down for being a socialist, which is considered the same as being a Nazi here.

  • ||

    CO - I don't have a problem with equal distribution. I don't like forced equal distribution, however.

  • robc||

    joe,

    But, yeah, I get your point. You were mostly correct in your come back to TAO but not completely.

    And as Futurama has taught us, technically correct is the best kind of correct.

  • Elemenope||

    Trial lawyers are obstacles? To what, preventing and and providing restitution to victims of tortious actions?

    I've never understood the strain of conservo-libertarianism that hates lawyers.


    Me either. Or the clamoring for "tort reform". Civil courts exist to assign financial burden to harmful acts. That's the whole fucking point.

  • robc||

    joe,

    Well, sure he's middle class. $250,000 per annum is way

    He is middle class NOW. He is trying to not be middle class.

  • ||

    When you are an S corp, as many small businesses are, the state tax laws are MUCH more relavent.

    State tax laws are completely irrelevant to the guys in the debate last night. Unless you were watching a gubernatorial debate.

  • G. Gordon Liddy||

    Back in my day, when somebody wanted a plumber, they hired a goddamn plumber.

    Wimps.

  • ||

    I can't find one. Anybody have a link to a transcript from last nite?

  • ||

    Hey, "Joe."

    Since 1929, Republicans and Democrats have each controlled the presidency for nearly 40 years. ... As of Friday, a $10,000 investment in the S.& P. stock market index would have grown to $11,733 if invested under Republican presidents only ... Invested under Democratic presidents only, $10,000 would have grown to $300,671 at a compound rate of 8.9 percent over nearly 40 years.

    Please, regale us with more of your reality-adverse cliches. Make sure you write "that's just a fact" and insult everyone whose professions you oppose without being able to define while you're at it.

    Shmuck.

  • Elemenope||

    Why shouldn't there be a more equal distribution of wealth? I will now be shouted down for being a socialist, which is considered the same as being a Nazi here.

    Oh calm down. Nazis are different than socialists, *even here*.

    One must correlate desirable ends with appropriate means. I can't think of any appropriate means for income redistribution. After all, the market priced a particular species of labor at a certain salary. Why should someone who didn't undertake the labor benefit from it?

    I'm a rare Libertarian who doesn't think graduated income taxes are right out. But I certainly don't believe that they should be used *for the goal of wealth redistribution*. At best, they should be used to accurately price the diverging quantities of benefit that certain classes of people derive from the existence of public services. To wit, a company's CEO profits much more from a highway existing than does the average Hyundai owner, because he gets to use it to move around his product to different markets.

  • ||

    I love how the left's concern for the small business owner only seems to be on display whilst bitching about Wal-Mart.

  • ||

    If only the candidates would get into an "I'll cut spending more than my opponent" competition. That would be more productive.

  • ||

    I've never understood the strain of conservo-libertarianism that hates lawyers.

    That particular strain consists of people who reflexively side with whomever possesses the most wealth, and their "libertarianism" extends precisely to the point where it promotes the interests of the wealthy.

    Actual libertarians are always talking about trial lawyers being the preferable alternative to the regulatory state.

  • robc||

    State tax laws are completely irrelevant to the guys in the debate last night. Unless you were watching a gubernatorial debate.

    Presidential debates are completly irrelevant in general. My guy wasnt even included. I dont see how adding in another irrelevancy (which actually applies to the question of whether of not gross receipts or net profits are taxes, which had nothing to do with the debate at all anyway) matters.

    sub-threads people, sub-threads. Not all discussions directly relate to the main thread.

  • robc||

    joe,

    No response to my 11:32 post?

    I think it is very important. Most people just assume that a business owner is making money in large amounts. Most small business owners are making LESS than they would make working for the man.

  • ||

    Ele,

    A flat tax does the same thing, in that the CEO's 17% is significantly more money than the Hyundai owner's. Progressive taxes are flat-out statist Robin-Hoodism. Their popularity is based on class warfare and ressentiment.

    Flat tax, no deductions, no social engineering in the tax code, no quarterly taxes, no withholding, taxes are due the Tueday before election day.

  • ||

    Can I kill the Kulaks now???

  • economist||

    Hey, joe, can you give us a source for your 12:04 post?

  • ||

    "Why is $250K the demarcation point?"

    High enough to sound like a lot of money to poor people, but low enough to make meaningful strides towards socialism? same thing with the AMT - originally a millionaires tax - when it started creeping down to the 250k income level is where enough people started getting hit that the media paid attention. I imagine Obama's choice of number is some shrewd calculus based on the idea of splitting off just the right amount the politically unpowerful "income-rich" - with the tacit approval of the truely "wealth rich" who wont pay anything.

  • ||

    Flat tax, no deductions, no social engineering in the tax code, no quarterly taxes, no withholding, taxes are due the Tueday before election day.

    You've got my vote.

  • ||

    robc,

    I don't know what you earn. Middle-class is defined by income levels.

    I find your assertion about most business-owners earning less than median income wholly implausible, unless you're using some obscure definition of business owner.

    I was a contractor for half a year. I guess you could say I owned a business with one employee.

    But the issue on the table is about income tax rates. When people argue that a progressive income tax, or a proposal that will make it more progressive, will hit "business owners" harder, they're talking about upper income earners.

    If you're earning the median, Barack Obama's tax plan will give you a larger tax cut than John McCain's, even if you're self-employed.

  • ||

    economist,

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2008/10/14/opinion/20081014_OPCHART.html

  • ||

    That tax cut isn't going to do you a whole lot of good if the raise in corporate taxes causes you to lose your job.

  • kinnath||

    Actual libertarians are always talking about trial lawyers being the preferable alternative to the regulatory state.

    Yup.

  • ||

    That tax cut isn't going to do you a whole lot of good if the raise in corporate taxes causes you to lose your job.

    Shhh.

  • ||

    And a cut in the taxes paid by corporations won't make them hire more people if the economy tanks, or if their would-be customers are seeing their income eroding.

    It's always worthwhile to note that taxes are just one variable in the economic system.

  • kinnath||

    Middle-class is defined by income levels.

    Middle-class is more defined by a set of values.

  • ||

    So, I guess channeling dead babies is just rightous justice. And fakeing asbestos claims is nothing but good lawyering. If the tort bar wasn't a bunck of fucking greedy crooks, perhaps I could appreciate their mission of saving us from corporate wrongdoers.

  • ||

    James Ard,

    Not all things the market does are good. Not all outcomes of civil cases are just.

    In other news, utopia is not possible.

  • Secret Squirrel||

    Joe the Plumber is quite the wisecracker!

  • ||

    kinnath,

    Well, there are different definitions of middle-class.

    That's why McCain loves the plumber argument. Plumbers make some serious coin, much higher than the median American income, but they're considered blue collar, so they can be cast as Everyman.

  • PFJ||

    Considering we're screwed with debt already, entitlements are going to explode in the next 20 years, and that neither candidate is proposing any real spending cuts, are tax cuts actually good?

  • Elemenope||

    Sugarless,

    I don't think the benefits of public services scale linearly from the guy with the Hyundai up to the guy that owns the Trucking Company. That's the only reason why I think a flat tax wouldn't work; it fails to capture the actual difference in marginal benefit.

    But even a graduated rate code can be simplicity itself. No deductions, etc. Just discontinuities based on income level.

    BTW, withholding makes the tax system oodles more efficient than it otherwise would be, and also cuts down heavily upon the number of people who end up owing a back-tax burden that they can't pay. IIRC, that's why Mr. Friedman designed it.

  • ||

    PFJ -

    I think that, more than anything, is the question that's going to define politics for a long time.

    My off-the-cuff answer is that we need a lot of spending cuts, entitlement reform and a small across-the-board hike in taxes.

    Otherwise we're just going to go down the "credit-card balance-transfer" spiral: Constantly making minimum payments to maintain the debt and always shifting things until the world economy craters when we default.

  • Elemenope||

    In other news, utopia is not possible.

    Hence the meaning of the word.

  • ||

    Wagner was a megalomaniacal, anti-Semitic, bombastic, no-talent hack with the aesthetic sense of a five-year-old finger painter.

    Shutup Jew.

  • Elemenope||

    My off-the-cuff answer is that we need a lot of spending cuts, entitlement reform and a small across-the-board hike in taxes.

    Otherwise we're just going to go down the "credit-card balance-transfer" spiral


    Fucking word, man.

  • Elemenope||

    Shutup Jew.

    Ooh. Not Jewish.

    Sorry. You missed.

  • rhywun||

    It seems to me that if Joe doesn't have enough wiggle-room to tolerate a couple percentage points change in the tax on the profits over 250K, he probably hasn't saved up enough to buy the business yet. Or--and I think this is more likely--he's just bitching about taxes period. Nothing wrong with that, but I wish Joe would be a little more honest about it.

  • Secret Squirrel||

    Turns out Joe the Plumber has a Keating 5 connection. Oops.

  • ||

    The flat tax is a non-starter. The low tax paying public isn't going to accept a tax hike while watching the evil rich getting a tax cut. Ain't gonna happen.

  • jkp||

    Joe --

    The first televised presidential debate occurred in 1960.

  • ||

    Remember when the Republicans wanted to push through a balanced budget amendment?

    Good times.

  • economist||

    joe,
    Maybe they should have taken presidents who cut taxes vs. presidents who raised taxes. For example, Hoover raised taxes while, 30 years later, Kennedy cut taxes. Since most people here aren't Republican shills, you should stick to the topic at hand (the effect of tax policy on economic growth).

  • ||

    My off-the-cuff answer is that we need a lot of spending cuts, entitlement reform and a small across-the-board hike in taxes.

    Otherwise we're just going to go down the "credit-card balance-transfer" spiral

    Fucking word, man.


    Double word. You should see the looks I get when I tell people that I am a libertarian who thinks taxes need a bit of an increase.

  • ||

    jkp,

    Right. They did broadcast debates of the radio, though. I don't remember the context, actually, just the quote.

    economist,

    Kennedy held office for less than 3 of the 40 years, and the story that goes along with the linked chart demonstrates a significant benefit even eliminating Hoover. Who really should be set aside, to be fair, since it probably wasn't his tax policy that made the stock market go bye-bye in 1929.

  • ||

    I should say, it shows a condsiderable benefit under Democrats even eliminating Hoover.

  • SIV||

    I've never understood the strain of conservo-libertarianism that hates lawyers.

    It is a lot more than just conservo-libertarians.
    Try anybody who wants a hot cup of coffee from McDonalds.Or kids who would like to jump off of high diving boards,play with lawn darts,ride three wheel ATVs,ride skateboards on private property etc.New car purchasers who would like a better deal. Smokers who would like to pay $.50 less a pack.Women who want cheap and realistic breast implants.Families that don't want to drive to the big city just to see an obstetrician......

  • Hogan||

    Community activists, trial lawyers, bureaucrats and city planners are at best obstacles

    Can't speak from experience as to the other professions, but as a city planner I think we're definitely a net negative. Every so often we can manage to prevent something objectively bad from happening, but to do that we slow down everything good (sometimes prohibitively) and skew property markets in ways that tend to disadvantage 'average' folk (people who aren't willing to invest the energy and money into getting a lawyer and attending six months worth of meetings just to assert their property rights) and raise housing costs.

  • robc||

    joe,

    I don't know what you earn. Middle-class is defined by income levels.

    Thats why I mentioned that I make about average. My income is very near the average household income in the US. Im in the middle quintile.


    I find your assertion about most business-owners earning less than median income wholly implausible, unless you're using some obscure definition of business owner.


    That is why I didnt make that assertion. I said they make less than they would working for the man. I, for example, had I not left my previous job in 2000 to start a business, would be making 6 figures now. Low 6 figures, pretty much capped out and hating my job, but a good bit more than I make now.

    It is known as the Entreprenurial (sp?) Paradox. Most people who start businesses would be better off financially if they hadnt. For an extreme example, look at the restaurant business. Have you noticed the failure rate?

  • sage||

    Double word. You should see the looks I get when I tell people that I am a libertarian who thinks taxes need a bit of an increase.

    Bah. Cutting spending seems to be the impossibility. Anyone can raise taxes (and they have). Let's see someone cut spending. If it really can't be done we are screwed no matter what the tax rates are.

  • Dave W.||

    That particular strain consists of people who reflexively side with whomever possesses the most wealth, and their "libertarianism" extends precisely to the point where it promotes the interests of the wealthy.

    Actual libertarians are always talking about trial lawyers being the preferable alternative to the regulatory state.


    Strong agree.

  • ||

    Ele,

    It's not about withholding being efficient. It's about bleeding people slowly so they don't realize they are being bled. Make them haul out their checkbooks and write out the full amount.

    If they think the welfare/warfare state is so awesome, they won't grumble, right?

  • ||

    SIV,

    I can still get a cup of hot coffee at McDonald's. I just can't get coffee that causes third-degree burns after 30 seconds of exposure.

    You can rattle off a list of the "outrageous" cases Reader's Digest tells you all about, but keep in mind that every case (usually) has two sides of attorneys, a judge, a jury and multiple appeals.

    So "TEH trial loiers are to blame!" theme is misguided and smacks of ignorant populism.

  • Elemenope||

    Sugarless,

    I know that it's easier to boil a frog slowly, but my point is that the efficiencies are *immense*. Centralized tax collection would require a serious inflation of the bureaucracy that might very well swamp any positive movement your other reforms may create.

    And at the bottom of my paycheck (as, I imagine, most other paychecks) it enumerates for me exactly what, to date, has been withheld. Trust me, it's a big enough number for me to know that I'm being bled. I doubt anyone is under any illusions as to how much they give to the Feds.

  • Jesus The Carpenter||

    Joe The Plumber is a myth.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Once again, I'll gloat that I'm paying negative federal income tax. That's right - the last couple of years the feds have rebated my entire withholding and have given me some folding money to boot.
    And once again, I'll point out how crazy our tax code is to make such a thing possible for someone with my net worth. (Good for me, but crazy.)

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Oh, and I forgot about the "rebate." That's another $1,200. It's like they're printing money or something.

  • ||

    Bah. Cutting spending seems to be the impossibility. Anyone can raise taxes (and they have). Let's see someone cut spending. If it really can't be done we are screwed no matter what the tax rates are.

    I was referring to an world where the public, at the very least, decides the amount of public goods it desires based on what it is willing to fairly pay. Not that I even completely agree with that world, just that it would at least be more sane than our current one.

  • ||

    This is hilarious, everyone is debating the impacts of something a politician running for office promises to do. It's about as futile as arguing the implications of Bush II asserting he won't get involved in other country's business in 00, or Bush I's assertion that he won't introduce new taxes in 92. You all actually believe this stuff?

  • ||

    I should give a full disclosure: Yes, I am in law school. No, I am not planning on being a tort lawyer. Yes, I've argued for the civil system as a peaceful means for resolution way before I decided to go to law school.

  • Fluffy||

    The level of detailed review and program analysis Obama is talking about is something that requires resources well beyond those available to a Senator.

    Joe, come on.

    Obama has had the resources of his entire party to draw on for months, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign cash.

    If he can't hire some aides to help him go through the budget so he can let us know about his magical cuts BEFORE he's elected, then he obviously doesn't really give that much of a damn.

    Maybe he and his guys could just go through the first 1000 pages, to give us a sample of the types of specific cuts he'd make? No? Of course not.

    Because what he's really saying is, "I know I'm expected to say that I'll cut things, but if I say I'll cut something specific some voter somewhere might get mad, so I'm just going to make noise with my mouth without actually describing any cuts." It's a Sarah Palin style meaningless boilerplate answer, just with better delivery.

    With regard to trial lawyers -

    Our civil courts currently tend to assign liability unjustly, due in part to bad theories of liability that have crept into precedent, and due in part to the fact that many Americans make really bad jurors. You can't really do much about the jury pool, but if the first problem were corrected, I would have no problem with trial lawyers. Trial lawyers are taking the rap for a system which is rigged to deliver outsized penalties to anyone with deep pockets who has even a tangential impact on harms.

  • ||

    What theories of liability do you find unjust?

  • ||

    Ele,

    Once again, it's not about practicalities. It's about forcing people to confront the choices they make. If they are happy paying through the nose for a bloated dinosaur, then what's the problem?

    And besides, the efficiencies of the payroll bleed is on the backs of business owners, and still the IRS is enormous. I'd be fine if it toppled under its own weight as well.

    You and I look at our paychecks, most don't. It's a "pain at the pump" notion that might work on everyone else.

  • ||

    "Let it go, this guy is middle class."

    He makes more than $250,000, he's not really the "Joe Sixpack" everybody is talking about. He's Joe Plumber, a scrappy tough guy who ceased to be middle class a few years ago, but is burly enough to make actual middle class people making $40,000 identify with him. I said before, there's a reason McCain doesn't make a symbol out of Amir the computer programmer, or a startup architect.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    OSU law, TAO? Didn't you cop to being a Buckeye?
    My undergrad son just switched from engineering to pre-law (economics and political science). I haven't disowned him yet, though.

  • ||

    Not that I support Obama's tax increases,
    but I have a hard time believing that Joe The Plumber makes over $250,000 in personal income.

    Unless I am missing something income tax is on income, not the purchase price/value of a business or gross revenues.

    Maybe Joe needs a better accountant. I don't know.

  • voxpo||

    You should see the looks I get when I tell people that I am a libertarian who thinks taxes need a bit of an increase.

    I can understand why. A high-income but unreliable employee who is also a shopaholic with massive credit card debt and a weakness for iffy schemes and sleazy company...with holes in his pockets and a counterfeiting side gig--this guy should probably spend less time at the mall and rethink his priorities, not demand a raise. Oh, and he also loves to travel.

  • ||

    "Trial lawyers are taking the rap for a system which is rigged to deliver outsized penalties to anyone with deep pockets who has even a tangential impact on harms."

    While this is true, I think the idea isn't to penalize people who have tangential relationship to harm, but to make sure that some guy with a one arm and two stump legs doesn't get screwed over by a company that goes bankrupt after a couple of judgments. That's why the issue of deep pocket defendants is still alive - it's not an easy nut to crack.

  • Fluffy||

    What theories of liability do you find unjust?

    The replacement of the theory of contributory negligence by that of comparative negligence.

    I personally believe that if you are speeding and drive your car into a tree, it shouldn't matter where the manufacturer installed the gas tank of your vehicle. Don't drive into trees.

  • ||

    "My undergrad son just switched from engineering to pre-law (economics and political science). I haven't disowned him yet, though."

    You can't disown your son. What a terrible thing to suggest. I recommend taking him aside and telling him that he's making the biggest mistake in his life, he's out of your will, and you'd prefer never to talk to him ever again.

  • ||

    OSU law, TAO? Didn't you cop to being a Buckeye?

    Si, si senor. That is correct.

    My undergrad son just switched from engineering to pre-law (economics and political science)

    Econ yeah...poli sci boo. I was a poli sci major for a little while (it seems to be a popular notion that you have to do poli sci to go to law school) but I realized what a worthless major it was and switched to econ/philosophy.

    Free advice: pre-law programs are worthless (IMHO). The best advice I got was to take one science (econ) and one "argumentative art" (you know, like philosophy or I guess poli sci) and to take a year off between undergrad and law school and work and Learn Life 101.

  • Fluffy||

    While this is true, I think the idea isn't to penalize people who have tangential relationship to harm, but to make sure that some guy with a one arm and two stump legs doesn't get screwed over by a company that goes bankrupt after a couple of judgments.

    I understand this. But even framing the issue in this way is an admission that the system has been built [or re-built] to make sure that guy gets a lot of money, regardless of who he has to get it from. And to me, you have to have just determinations of the "who" for the system to be just.

  • SIV||


    I can still get a cup of hot coffee at McDonald's.


    No you can't. you can get a cup of lukewarm coffee at McDonalds.They don't sell hot coffee anymore because of a lawsuit you might be familiar with.The one where they were successfully sued for providing exactly the same defect free product they had sold for years to willing customers. Are you happy with the effects of sexual harassment case law on speech and behavior too?

  • Bingo||

    I'm getting the impression that the election of either of these two ninnies will result in bad things happening to small businesses and small business owners, and government backing of large entrenched corporations (which are too big to fail). Joe the Plumber is much more likely to reinvest any profits back into his own business in order to grow it. Charlie the CEO is going to take his 20mil bonus and do who knows what with it. When the tax is increased its going to be much harder for the small business owner to grow his business, and the big CEOs don't really give a shit about the tax increase because they are already rolling in dough and unlikely to need to re-invest it.

  • ||

    "Free advice: pre-law programs are worthless (IMHO)."

    I completely agree. Heck, take English. Take music theory (seriously). Philosophy is great. Take anything that will give you a background different than political science.

  • ||

    Not that I support Obama's tax increases,
    but I have a hard time believing that Joe The Plumber makes over $250,000 in personal income.

    Unless I am missing something income tax is on income, not the purchase price/value of a business or gross revenues.

    Maybe Joe needs a better accountant. I don't know.


    He never said that he makes $250,000 a year, rather that he's thinking of buying a company that makes $250,000-280,000 per year. I assume that it is likely with loans. I'm not sure how that affects his tax structure. Maybe someone else can help.

  • ||

    It is known as the Entreprenurial (sp?) Paradox. Most people who start businesses would be better off financially if they hadnt.

    It's not a paradox. They get a psychic (adj., definition 1) benefit for being self-employed. That has value. It's also why working for a tobacco company pays well. People need to be paid to do unpleasant things.

  • ||

    SIV - such a lie! In the Liebeck case, she was burned by 180-190 degree coffee. It is STILL McDonald's policy today to brew at 190 and serve at 174.

    If you don't think 174 degrees is "hot", you're just making stuff up to try to bolster your argument that the big bad trial lawyers ruined your coffee.

  • Paul||

    I'm betting that Joe the Plummer makes more than I do.

  • ||

    Fluffy,

    Maybe he and his guys could just go through the first 1000 pages, to give us a sample of the types of specific cuts he'd make? No? Of course not.

    I've seen Barack Obama enumerate areas he'd cut. You haven't? Have you been looking, or are you just assuming that he must not have?

  • Paul||

    And probably spells better, too. Plumber, sheesh.

    I will use the preview button.
    I will use the preview button.
    I will use the preview button.

  • ||

    "He never said that he makes $250,000 a year, rather that he's thinking of buying a company that makes $250,000-280,000 per year. I assume that it is likely with loans. I'm not sure how that affects his tax structure. Maybe someone else can help."

    Then he wouldn't be affect by Obama's plan? Maybe he just wanted to take the opportunity to smack around Obama on TV. I don't think this Plumber guy's story adds up.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Paul,
    You were obviously thinking of Christopher the Plummer.

  • Scott66||

    "I should give a full disclosure: Yes, I am in law school. No, I am not planning on being a tort lawyer. Yes, I've argued for the civil system as a peaceful means for resolution way before I decided to go to law school."

    Well that explains your ignorance then. Let me make it real simple for you to understand. Lawyers supposedly help regulate business through the tort system. Who regulates lawyers? Answer, other fucking lawyers be they judges, who are lawyers, or some branch of the Bar who are also, you guessed it, lawyers. Now what do you think would happen if plumbers regulated plumbers, doctors regulated doctors, etc..?

    People who hate lawyers in general hate them because the current crop makes a mockery out of law and justice.

  • ||

    He never said that he makes $250,000 a year, rather that he's thinking of buying a company that makes $250,000-280,000 per year. I assume that it is likely with loans. I'm not sure how that affects his tax structure. Maybe someone else can help.

    Well, if he pays ~$2 mil for the company and buys 25% of the equity, he'll have a loan for $1.5 mil. Let's be generous and assume he gets a 7% rate on that. That means he'll have interest payments of around $100K, which are tax deductible and reduce his net income to well below the taxable rate. Even if he takes a 50% equity stake in the company and has 50% debt load, he'll pay ~$70K in taxes and bring the number down below that magical $250K number.

  • ||

    I can understand why. A high-income but unreliable employee who is also a shopaholic with massive credit card debt and a weakness for iffy schemes and sleazy company...with holes in his pockets and a counterfeiting side gig--this guy should probably spend less time at the mall and rethink his priorities, not demand a raise. Oh, and he also loves to travel.

    Point taken. But the "drowning government in a bathtub" approach is becoming disasterous as a method of cutting spending. It could likely destroy our government, yes. But I would rather avoid that disaster for many reasons.

    Perhaps we should think about balancing the budget so voters see the real cost of governmental policies.

    I dunno. Perhaps there is no way out of this other than outright disaster and/or revolution.

  • ||

    I would tax Amanda the Plummer. And I have a feeling she'd tax me.

    If any of you fucking pricks move, I'll execute every last motherfucking one of you.

  • sage||

    I've seen Barack Obama enumerate areas he'd cut. You haven't? Have you been looking, or are you just assuming that he must not have?

    Could you point us to those, joe? The only reference I've heard to any spending cuts is the vague statement by Biden that we'll have to "slow down" on foreign aid.

  • ||

    sage,

    Off the top of my head, he'd eliminate the Medicare Advantage program.

  • ||

    There's also the small matter of the Iraq War, sage.

  • ||

    I've seen Barack Obama enumerate areas he'd cut. You haven't? Have you been looking, or are you just assuming that he must not have?

    Well, he's not readily admitting to any serious cutting during debates, joe. I think that's a good indication that anything he's bullshitted about before is just that - bullshit.

  • ||

    "Well that explains your ignorance then. Let me make it real simple for you to understand. Lawyers supposedly help regulate business through the tort system. Who regulates lawyers? Answer, other fucking lawyers be they judges, who are lawyers, or some branch of the Bar who are also, you guessed it, lawyers. Now what do you think would happen if plumbers regulated plumbers, doctors regulated doctors, etc..?"

    This is a bit naive. People hate lawyers because lawyers regulate EVERYTHING. Of course, doctors DO regulate doctors until the panel's decision is appealed to the courts. And plumbers DO regulated plumbers, until the inspector's decision is appealed to the courts. Everything comes down to lawyers who run the world, and doctors who save your life.

  • ||

    Well, he's not readily admitting to any serious cutting during debates, joe.

    As a matter of fact, he's mentioned the Medicare Advantage program in each of the three debates.

  • ||

    Let me make it real simple for you to understand. Lawyers supposedly help regulate business through the tort system. Who regulates lawyers? Answer, other fucking lawyers

    If you have an alternative suggestion, I'm all ears.

  • sage||

    I didn't catch that, joe. Thanks.

    And the war? His statement about the war is that we're spending $10B a month there that should be spent "helping folks here at home." That doesn't count as a cut, IMO.

  • Scott66||

    Lamar, you are a bit dense aren't you? People hate lawyers because they perceive the current legal environment is rigged to favor lawyers at the expense of justice. Perhaps you are to worried about word choice to understand the obvious.

  • ||

    Scott66 - I asked you for an alternative. Spend your time on that rather than being a nasty prick.

  • ||

    joe, you are right about the Medicare Advantage program ($15 billion) and Iraq (more). But it ain't gonna get us there and you know it, considering he is talking about significantly increasing spending in other areas to offset those cuts.

    Read below and if you can honestly tell me that it isn't one of the more evasive answers that you have seen, then you're drunk on the kool aid.

    LEHRER: All right. All right, speaking of things that both of you want, another lead question, and it has to do with the rescue -- the financial rescue thing that we started -- started asking about.

    And what -- and the first answer is to you, Senator Obama. As president, as a result of whatever financial rescue plan comes about and the billion, $700 billion, whatever it is it's going to cost, what are you going to have to give up, in terms of the priorities that you would bring as president of the United States, as a result of having to pay for the financial rescue plan?

    OBAMA: Well, there are a range of things that are probably going to have to be delayed. We don't yet know what our tax revenues are going to be. The economy is slowing down, so it's hard to anticipate right now what the budget is going to look like next year.

    But there's no doubt that we're not going to be able to do everything that I think needs to be done. There are some things that I think have to be done.

    We have to have energy independence, so I've put forward a plan to make sure that, in 10 years' time, we have freed ourselves from dependence on Middle Eastern oil by increasing production at home, but most importantly by starting to invest in alternative energy, solar, wind, biodiesel, making sure that we're developing the fuel-efficient cars of the future right here in the United States, in Ohio and Michigan, instead of Japan and South Korea.

    We have to fix our health care system, which is putting an enormous burden on families. Just -- a report just came out that the average deductible went up 30 percent on American families.

    They are getting crushed, and many of them are going bankrupt as a consequence of health care. I'm meeting folks all over the country. We have to do that now, because it will actually make our businesses and our families better off.

    The third thing we have to do is we've got to make sure that we're competing in education. We've got to invest in science and technology. China had a space launch and a space walk. We've got to make sure that our children are keeping pace in math and in science.

    And one of the things I think we have to do is make sure that college is affordable for every young person in America.

    And I also think that we're going to have to rebuild our infrastructure, which is falling behind, our roads, our bridges, but also broadband lines that reach into rural communities.

    Also, making sure that we have a new electricity grid to get the alternative energy to population centers that are using them.

    So there are some -- some things that we've got to do structurally to make sure that we can compete in this global economy. We can't shortchange those things. We've got to eliminate programs that don't work, and we've got to make sure that the programs that we do have are more efficient and cost less.


    ....

    LEHRER: But if I hear the two of you correctly neither one of you is suggesting any major changes in what you want to do as president as a result of the financial bailout? Is that what you're saying?

    OBAMA: No. As I said before, Jim, there are going to be things that end up having to be ...

    LEHRER: Like what?

    OBAMA: ... deferred and delayed. Well, look, I want to make sure that we are investing in energy in order to free ourselves from the dependence on foreign oil. That is a big project. That is a multi-year project.

    LEHRER: Not willing to give that up?

    OBAMA: Not willing to give up the need to do it but there may be individual components that we can't do. But John is right we have to make cuts. We right now give $15 billion every year as subsidies to private insurers under the Medicare system. Doesn't work any better through the private insurers. They just skim off $15 billion. That was a give away and part of the reason is because lobbyists are able to shape how Medicare works.

    They did it on the Medicaid prescription drug bill and we have to change the culture. Tom -- or John mentioned me being wildly liberal. Mostly that's just me opposing George Bush's wrong headed policies since I've been in Congress but I think it is that it is also important to recognize I work with Tom Coburn, the most conservative, one of the most conservative Republicans who John already mentioned to set up what we call a Google for government saying we'll list every dollar of federal spending to make sure that the taxpayer can take a look and see who, in fact, is promoting some of these spending projects that John's been railing about.

  • ||

    "Lamar, you are a bit dense aren't you? People hate lawyers because they perceive the current legal environment is rigged to favor lawyers at the expense of justice. Perhaps you are to worried about word choice to understand the obvious."

    I was being flip about your assertion that doctors don't regulate doctors and plumbers don't regulate plumbers when, in fact, they do. But then I realized it all comes down to lawyers anyway. Plus politicians are usually lawyers. Nevertheless, I'll defer to your pop psychology formulation of why people hate lawyers. I don't like lawyers either. Also, don't be a dick about it.

  • ||

    everybody hates lawyers until they need one.

  • economist||

    I think the conservo-libertarian hatred of lawyers is roughly analagous to the left-libertarian dislike of cops. Both, in theory, have legitimate professions that benefit (rather than harm) society. However, because both professions involve the use, ultimately, of physical coercion (more explicit in the case of cops, who often carry out the physical coercion necessary to enforce, for example, court rulings), they are open to abuses, which piss a lot of people off.

  • Barney||

    Dont kid yourself everybody hates lawyers; especially when they need one.

  • economist||

    AO,
    You are not, by any chance, a law student, are you? Not that there's anything wrong with that, but you seem awfully concerned about the reputation of the legal profession.
    Oh yeah, and community organizers can suck mine. No, not you Barack.

  • ||

    Well, if he pays ~$2 mil for the company and buys 25% of the equity, he'll have a loan for $1.5 mil. Let's be generous and assume he gets a 7% rate on that. That means he'll have interest payments of around $100K, which are tax deductible and reduce his net income to well below the taxable rate. Even if he takes a 50% equity stake in the company and has 50% debt load, he'll pay ~$70K in taxes and bring the number down below that magical $250K number.

    So, it's likely that we're all arguing about bullshit? Shock!

  • ||

    economist - I did disclose that, but I have argued for years before this that lawyers are an unfair whipping boy. People get the government they deserve.

  • economist||

    Plumber Joe did well to call Obama on the 95% figure. He will dramatically increase government spending, when we already have a deficit, and eventually that has to balance out. He's said he'll cut taxes, moreover, for 95% of Americans. Senator Obama, are you going to get all that money from 5% of the population? Have you talked it over with them?

  • economist||

    AO,
    Sorry I missed the disclosure. My bad.

  • economist||

    Of course, according to Joe Biden, Barack need simply strike the rock with his staff and 2,000,000 jobs will go forth. But the staff needs to be payed for by the top 5% Americans, income-wise.

  • ||

    "Not that there's anything wrong with that, but you seem awfully concerned about the reputation of the legal profession."

    If you've practiced law for a couple of years, and you still defend lawyers, chances are you are sold in the women's aisle.

  • economist||

    AO,
    Can we still agree that John Edwards sucks ass?

  • Virgil Tibbs||

    All that matters is that we're gonna have a black President and he's so smooth!

  • economist||

    Lamar,
    It all depends on what you actually do as a lawyer. Defending your profession against charges that everyone in it is evil is a natural response. I just figured that that must be the reason AO was so concerned with the issue.

  • ||

    economist - no problem about the disclosure thing. And yes, I'm down with hating on Edwards.

  • ||

    "It all depends on what you actually do as a lawyer."

    It took me a long time to find something that isn't sleazy. So I guess I look down my nose at the big time ambulance chasers and insurance defense greasers.

  • ||

    "Can we still agree that John Edwards sucks ass?"

    Why don't you ask his mistress?

  • Lester Hunt||

    "Wagner was a megalomaniacal, anti-Semitic, bombastic, no-talent hack..." Anti-Semitic, yes. No-talen? Hardley. This is a stupid and ignorant statement. As one of my profs told a class when I was in college, "it would be nice if the good guys had all the brains, but they don't". He was talking about Ezra Pound, another case in point.

  • Mark||

    My attorney bills me 10 buck just to send me an email that says -- So would 2:00 tomorrow work for you?

  • fyodor||

    Just got here, but the reason "Joe the Plumber's" plight matters is NOT because he's such an ordinary guy. It matters because it's an example of how taxation, even of "rich" people who supposedly "can afford it," impedes the economy, which DOES affect ordinary guys (and gals and those above and below ordinary).

    That said, there's overall pros and cons to progressivity in taxation. Whether the tax code needs to or should be more progressive than it is currently, I sure have no idea. And nothing McBama said last night shed any light at all on the subject.

  • HL||

    It is perhaps provocative of a sour mirth that the Bill of Rights was designed trustfully to prohibit forever the two favorite crimes of all known governments - the seizure of private property without adequate compensation and the invasion of the citizens' liberty without due justification.

    It is provocative of a mirth yet more sour that these prohibitions are placed in the hands of courts, which is to say, placed in the hands of lawyers, which is to say, placed in the hands of men specifically educated to discover legal excuses for dishonest, dishonorable and anti-social acts.

  • ||

    I'll admit my love for the lawyer that showed up in court with a 26 page brief while my former employer's high priced lawyer's brief was three pages. Summary judgement and a very pissed off ex-boss. Sweet.

  • BDB||

    I'll defend lawyers even though I'm not one. Lawsuits are far, far, FAR preferable to a regulatory state. Do they have problems? Sure. But it's the least bad solution.

  • Elemenope||

    Lester Hunt --

    I give Nietzsche the last word on Wagner. And Nietzsche's final opinion of Wagner was:

    Wagner is a megalomaniacal, anti-Semitic, bombastic, no-talent hack.

    Look, he lacked the musical nuance evident in some other composers of the Romantic period (like, say, Beethoven). He never met a throng of horns he didn't like. His themes had all the subtlety of a ton of bricks. He was a proud anti-Semite. Finally, he lacked any and all forms of self-effacement and/or modesty.

    It is not "stupid" to have a different opinion that you, you know. And this one happens to have a decent amount of backing.

  • Geoff||

    Joe,

    Could you please take a look at an actual economist's analysis of the NYT OP-ED piece on market returns during different party's terms in the Whitehouse?

    http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/2008/10/republicans-democrats-and-stock-market

    Knowing more than one perspective might be useful.

  • ||

    Just got here, but the reason "Joe the Plumber's" plight matters is NOT because he's such an ordinary guy. It matters because it's an example of how taxation, even of "rich" people who supposedly "can afford it," impedes the economy, which DOES affect ordinary guys (and gals and those above and below ordinary).

    No the problem is he was a partisan making a point that didn't exist. Let's say his business made $280,000. The amount of extra taxes on everything above $250K going from 36%-39% amount to $900. If that amount of money affects his decision, he can't afford the business even without the Obama tax plan. There are valid criticisms of the Obama plan, but Joe the Plumber isn't making them.

  • ||

    Plumbing is an expensive business to run. In some areas (I'm not sure if Joe's area is one of them) Joe can either own a plumbing business or be a plumber, but he can't do both at the same time. Some unions have rules that force you to draw a thick black line between owner and laborer. There are ways around it, but inevitably they'll cost you money (and you need to have someone you can trust be the "owner" of your business).

    I'm considerably underwhelmed with Obama's response to the plumber and since McCain is quickly becoming a non-factor, I think it's probably time to start shifting into a referendum on Obama's plans for his seemingly inevitable first term as president.

  • Lester Hunt||

    Elemenope,

    There are many intelligent opinions that are different from mine, but this is not one of them. Nietzsche's view was certainly not that Wagner lacked talent. It was that he had a great deal of talent and that this was a very bad thing because it would enable his terrible ideas to have a great deal of influence -- which of course they did.

  • ||

    Just to follow up on the Plumber cannot be owner point, it's possible Joe might run into a tax problem because of that. A guy who is the sole owner of a business and gets paid a salary, that guy can shift the money between salary and profits as it suits him financially. However Joe might be in a situation where whatever it is he's going to make, he might have to take it all in salary if he's not technically an owner (if union rules prohibit him from being one). Thus Obama's tax plan may very well whack him pretty good without any of the small business breaks kicking in for him.

  • ||

    My naive yet jaded opinion of lawyers and the law is this. Most people that go into lawyering do it initially with the purpose of doing the "right thing." Then reality rears its ugly head. The "right thing" is a nirvana like legal outcome where the injured party finds emotional satisfaction with the judgement. In the real world, judgements are based upon strict interpretation of statutes and codes and stuff. In the real world, no allowance can be made for the plaintiff's emotional well being, as said well being is not quantifiable.

    At some point, lawyers realize this and then they become business people. How to get a favorable ruling making the most money, with the least amount of actual work. In areas like work comp law, where punitive damages are almost impossible and actual damages are very structured and quite low, there is no reason for a lawyer to go the extra mile, as there will be no reasonable monetary gain for the firm.

  • Elemenope||

    Lester --

    In Nietzsche contra Wagner, he said that Wagner's work was emotionally evocative but lacked a laudable aesthetic. Your seeming confusion stems from the notion that Nietzsche would equate the ability to effectively express terrible ideas with possessing artistic talent. He certainly did not. Nietzsche also did a lot of bitching on the side about the content of the themes, particularly the religiosity, but did *directly* attack Wagner's purported talent at creating an artistic vision at several points.

  • ||

    Awwwww, yeah, its a Nietzche bitch fight!

  • Slow Boiled Frog||

    Elemenope | October 16, 2008, 12:30pm | #

    BTW, withholding makes the tax system oodles more efficient ... IIRC, that's why Mr. Friedman designed it.

    True but then he later recanted in this very magazine

  • ||

    "Thou goest to woman? Forget not thy whip!"

    Nietzsche is the very essence of bitch fight.

  • Elemenope||

    Wagner is the musical Paul Verhoeven.

    I wouldn't go so far as Nietzsche seems to and call him the musical Uwe Boll. I'm a nicer guy than all that. :)

  • Elemenope||

    "Thou goest to woman? Forget not thy whip!"

    Nietzsche is the very essence of bitch fight.


    Especially funny when you consider the photo Nietzsche had composed.

    Nietzsche is pulling the cart and Salome has the whip.

  • ||

    Ele,

    I'd go with Michael Bay, actually. Bold, loud, frenetic, but devoid of authentic emotion and any understanding of the subtleties that make life bearable.

  • ||

    Lou Salome is one of my 19th century crushes.

  • Elemenope||

    True but then he later recanted in this very magazine

    I was not aware. Thanks for the link.

  • ||

    SCHIEFFER: But even if it was someone -- even someone who had a history of being for abortion rights, you would consider them?



    MCCAIN: I would consider anyone in their qualifications. I do not believe that someone who has supported Roe v. Wade that would be part of those qualifications. But I certainly would not impose any litmus test.



    Sorry for the interruption again. But could somebody please disect and explain McCain's answer on this?

  • ||

    "True but then he later recanted in this very magazine

    I was not aware. Thanks for the link."


    Query: what if Friedman, on his death bed, recanted everything he ever said. Would that include a previous retraction? And would it negate his life of work?

    Brotherben: translation: McCain imposes a litmus test.

  • ||

    brotherben,

    There really needs to be a simple term for "pandering to your base and then covering your ass with a complete contradiction and hoping no one notices."

    "McCaining" wouldn't be fair to the other who have done is so well in the past.

  • ||

    Sorry for that gibberish last sentence. Can't type, coming down.

  • fyodor||

    No the problem is he was a partisan making a point that didn't exist. Let's say his business made $280,000. The amount of extra taxes on everything above $250K going from 36%-39% amount to $900. If that amount of money affects his decision, he can't afford the business even without the Obama tax plan.

    There's always some amount at the margin that can affect a particular decision, and I don't think it's ever accurate to say if such and such an amount makes a difference then he can't afford it anyway. How do you know?

    That said, point taken that Joe the Plumber (and thus McCain) may be overestimating (or overstating) the effect of Obama's tax plan, and either way, his dilemna may be too specific to reflect other people's circumstances a whole lot.

  • ||

    Sugarfree: MI-BA-BLA-BA SPLOSIONS!!!

  • Elemenope||

    Query: what if Friedman, on his death bed, recanted everything he ever said. Would that include a previous retraction? And would it negate his life of work?

    Of course not. I was simply remarking that I was unaware he recanted, and am now better informed.

    It doesn't change my opinion that withholding, while having the unfortunate effect of disguising somewhat the annual tax burden, creates an extremely efficient tax system that saves millions in bureaucratic overhead.

  • fyodor||

    brotherben,

    It's a contradiction which makes the "no litmus test" mantra meaningless. The truth is, politicians put a heavy weight on judges' known opinions but want to accuse the other side of doing that while acting like they themselves are above politics in their judicial choices.

    But then, you knew that! :-)

  • robc||

    everybody hates lawyers until they need one.

    even then.

  • .||

    There really needs to be a simple term for "pandering to your base and then covering your ass with a complete contradiction and hoping no one notices."

    There is. It's called "politics."

  • ||

    BTW, I did finally find a transcript

  • robc||

    Who is the musical John Woo so I know not to every listen to them?

    I have kept my vow I made sometime during the last 4 hours of Face/Off. Never Again! And I really, really, really wanted to see Paycheck.

  • ||

  • robc||

    brotherben,

    But could somebody please disect and explain McCain's answer on this?

    Sure. Anyone with legit experience is qualified and there is no litmus test, but someone who disagrees with me on issue A is unlikely to get an overall score good enough to be considered.

    Think of it this way - you need a 70% to pass and the abortion question is 28% of the test. Its not a litmus test, but it aint likely you will get a 70 out of 72.

  • ||

    here is that link. Hopefully not hannitized.

  • ||

    There's always some amount at the margin that can affect a particular decision, and I don't think it's ever accurate to say if such and such an amount makes a difference then he can't afford it anyway. How do you know?

    Because business is naturally unpredictable and there is always inherent risk involved. If a 0.03% change is profit is the line between unaffordable and affordable, then you shouldn't get involved in your own business.

  • Turtles||

    A $250K business, and all the leftoids think the guy is filthy rich? Cripes. After the Dem-created housing bubble, $250K wouldn't get you a double wide in some parts of the country, and those owner ain't rich.

  • robc||

    lmnop,

    creates an extremely efficient tax system that saves millions in bureaucratic overhead.

    I dont think it does this, however. It saves million in government bureaucrat overhead, while increasing business bureaucrat overhead. Switching to single payment per year would reduct overall bureaucratic overhead, but increase government bureaurcratic overhead. Since both are a net loss to the economy, as overhead isnt productivity, the single check method would probably* be better.

    *Im not sure which would net out better for sure, just guessing.

  • ||

    "A $250K business, and all the leftoids think the guy is filthy rich? "

    If you'd followed the thread, a mere $250,000 business wouldn't make Obama's tax policy apply. It would have to be closer to a $1 million business.

  • ||

    robc,

    I disagree with your analysis:

    McCain:I will find [judges] who have a history of strict adherence to the Constitution. And not legislating from the bench.

    Schieffer: But even if it was someone -- even someone who had a history of being for abortion rights, you would consider them?

    McCain: I do not believe that someone who has supported Roe v. Wade that would be part of those qualifications.


    Logically speaking, McCain is saying:

    L1: I will appoint people who adhere to the Constitution
    L2: Roe v. Wade is not consistent with that qualification

    Ergo, litmus test.

  • ||

    Thanks, everyone. I thought that was how I heard him last nite, but on reading it, it seemed a little muddy.

  • robc||

    Mo,

    Just because the varience is high doesnt mean the EV calculation couldnt get moved across the breakpoint.

    If Im in a +EV situation but with high risk, I realize I may lose a bunch of money. If Im okay with the risk, then its still good to go.

    Lower the EV a little so it is a -EV investment but same risk and its a stupid decision.

  • ||

    Look, I gotta say this.
    This story would be much more interesting if it revolved around Jody the plumper.

  • robc||

    TAO,

    I think is is more like:

    L2: A person who supports Roe is unlikely to be consistent with that qualification on other issues.

    He is being weaselly, but there is a possible condition in which he is being honest. I dont think he is there, but it does exist.

  • ||

    robc: so the word "would" in this case is used as a presumption or expectation?

    That is, McCain is saying "I presume (or expect) that someone who has supported Roe v. Wade is not consistent with Constitutional principles".

    Sort of a "rebuttable presumption" idea that puts the onus on the justice to prove he's still a strict constructionist AND pro RvW.

    I can see that.

  • Fluffy||

    In Nietzsche contra Wagner, he said that Wagner's work was emotionally evocative but lacked a laudable aesthetic. Your seeming confusion stems from the notion that Nietzsche would equate the ability to effectively express terrible ideas with possessing artistic talent. He certainly did not. Nietzsche also did a lot of bitching on the side about the content of the themes, particularly the religiosity, but did *directly* attack Wagner's purported talent at creating an artistic vision at several points.

    Gotta completely disagree here.

    Nietzsche repeatedly expresses great admiration for the technical skill or genius of thinkers with which he disagrees - Socrates, Moses, and Christ most notably.

    And The Birth of Tragedy Out of the Spirit of Music tends to counterbalance the somewhat catty and post-breakup Nietzsche Contra Wagner, don't you think? As does the years time Nietzsche spent around Taliesin kissing up to the Great Man.

    I think the best way to describe Nietzsche's relationship to Wagner is that he loved and admired his music when young, but eventually grew out of it - and the process of growing out of it was helped along by what Nietzsche saw as Wagner's "selling out" to the German Reich and bourgeoisie.

    When someone decides they don't like their favorite composer any more because of that composer's essentially political acts, I tend to discount that person's criticism of the composer's artistic merit quite a bit.

  • Elemenope||

    When someone decides they don't like their favorite composer any more because of that composer's essentially political acts, I tend to discount that person's criticism of the composer's artistic merit quite a bit.

    This here last paragraph is a fair bit (though I'd say the break was far more personal than political; anti-Semitism was just the icing), but I think that part of the problem here is you are conflating *technical* merit with *artistic* merit. Nobody is questioning whether Wagner possessed the technical capacity to write a piece in key and tempo, or arrange an orchestra. What Nietzsche questioned was whether the result of that technical acumen was art.

    He said no, and I am inclined to agree.

  • ||

    "When someone decides they don't like their favorite composer any more because of that composer's essentially political acts, I tend to discount that person's criticism of the composer's artistic merit quite a bit."

    Like not listening to Skynard ever again because of "Sweet Home Alabama?"

  • voxpo||

    withholding, while having the unfortunate effect of disguising somewhat the annual tax burden

    Slightly OT, but I always liked the idea of this alternative pay stub. Wonder how it's doing...:
    http://www.mackinac.org/article.aspx?ID=4530

  • Seer||

    Joe The Plumber for President!

  • *||

    Turtles | October 16, 2008, 3:15pm | #
    A $250K business, and all the leftoids think the guy is filthy rich? Cripes. After the Dem-created housing bubble, $250K wouldn't get you a double wide in some parts of the country, and those owner ain't rich.

    So, you're saying that if you're not able to buy a new house WITH CASH every year, you're not rich? Even Scrooge McCain doesn't have that many houses, dumbass.

  • ||

    This will be of no surprise to anyone, but the Solons at Democratic Underground are doing everything they can to rip the guy apart. Because - as we should have all learned by now, and we'll probably all learn in the next six months or so - you can only question or speak truth to Republican power.

    Reagan's followers have built a religion. Obama's have built a cult.

  • *||

    >>Reagan's followers have built a religion. Obama's have built a cult.

    This lame shit gets repeated over and over...right-wingers are jealous over the popular support Obama has received. And the best they can come up with is "Must be a cult!"

    Suck on it.

  • ||

    "This will be of no surprise to anyone, but the Solons at Democratic Underground are doing everything they can to rip the guy apart."

    Oh please. The guy claimed that Obama's tax plan would stop him from buying a business, and it turns out that Obama's plan wouldn't apply to him, and he's not even a licensed plumber, which he would need to be to own the business. The guy is full of shit and deserves to be called out.

  • ||

    Cripes man! They can't even find good schills these days. I would think that these big badass campaign cultists* could find a better joe the plumber than one that succumbs to less than twelve hours of shit-digging. Call me disappointed.

    *the hardcore left and right are both cultists, but they think I'm the crazy one for saying I don't know who I'm voting for.

  • fyodor||

    Because business is naturally unpredictable and there is always inherent risk involved. If a 0.03% change is profit is the line between unaffordable and affordable, then you shouldn't get involved in your own business.

    Sez you.

  • Jeffersonian||

    As is typical of Reason, a statement by Obama's which clearly shows him to be an all out enemy of economic freedom and property rights is turned into an attack on Mccain's inconsistency. Fuck You Reason!

  • zoltan||

    Jeffersonian, way to conflate Reason the magazine, which is comprised of writers/journalists, with a minority percentage of Hit & Run posters. You sound even dumber than Obama supporters, which I did not think possible.

  • Jeffersonian||

    No I was referring to Reason magazine and it's writers/journalists such as Matt Welch and David Weigel and Nick "Leather coat" Gillespie. Count the number of anti-Obama versus Anti-Mccain stories in the last month or so on this site. I bet it is at minimum 3 to 1. This story above is a perfect example.

  • Jeffersonian||

    As an example I'll just cut and paste a number of story titles and their short descriptors from the front page here

    Former FEC Head Brad Smith on How Campaign Finance Laws Prevent Political Speech
    And why John McCain won't shake his hand. (10/16)

    The Angry Candidate
    Why John McCain's aggressive new tactics won't work Steve Chapman

    How Your Beer Bought John McCain's $500 Loafers
    Uncovering the government subsidies behind Cindy McCain's family fortune Radley Balko (10/15)

    NOW PLAYING AT REASON.TV: HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW THE REAL JOHN MCCAIN?

    Either a Borrower or a Lender Be
    Under John McCain's mortgage plan, you'd better not be a taxpayer. Jacob Sullum (10/15)

    Why John McCain Likes Being the Underdog
    An inside look at the candidate's "runt" psychology Matt Welch (10/13)

    Adventures in Fiscal Fairyland
    Why both Obama and McCain will raise taxes Steve Chapman (10/13)

    Obama's Destructive Crime Policy
    The senator sounds some encouraging notes, then endorses a failed, familiar policy--more federalization of crime. Radley Balko (10/9)

    The Winner of Last Night's Debate? Washington
    Both candidates embrace central planning as prudent economic policy Matt Welch (10/8)

    As you can see there are a number of stories that bash both candidates, as if they are equivalent from a libertarian perspective. Then there is one story that bashes Obama in particular. And more than half of the stories bash Mccain in particular.

  • ||

    No the problem is he was a partisan making a point that didn't exist. Let's say his business made $280,000. The amount of extra taxes on everything above $250K going from 36%-39% amount to $900. If that amount of money affects his decision, he can't afford the business even without the Obama tax plan. There are valid criticisms of the Obama plan, but Joe the Plumber isn't making them.

    Seriously, I realize that all economic decisions are made on the margin. But that's a really fucking tight margin.

  • ||

    As in, you are right, he should not be thinking about a business if he can't afford a small hike on that margin.

  • ||

    As you can see there are a number of stories that bash both candidates, as if they are equivalent from a libertarian perspective. Then there is one story that bashes Obama in particular. And more than half of the stories bash Mccain in particular.

    Libertarianism has nothing to do with bashing both major party candidates with an equal hand. It has to do with a philosophy which John McCain has made sure that he does not want to accomodate in the least bit.

    He's simply the worse candidate and he deserves his criticisms.

  • MJ||

    We have a video clip here of a voter questioning Obama about Obama's tax policies and Weigel makes it a segue to criticizing McCain's tax policy. OK, McCain did specifically reference this exchange ad nauseaum during the debate, but is Weigel the least bit interested in examining what Obama's proposing?

  • MJ||

    Part of the problem with what Obama says in that clip is that he obliquely implies that the owner of a $250 plumbing business is presently being taxed at a rate comparable to a waitress. For better or worse we have a progressive tax code, flatter than it has been in the past, but a higher income individual still pays a significantly higher rate than a lower income person. Bush's tax cuts lowered rates across the board, they did lower the upper end rates by more percentage points at the upper end than the lower end, but that is a direct function of the progressivity in the tax code in the first place. To say that the middle and lower income people have not gotten tax breaks under Bush is a gross distortion if not a bald-faced lie.

  • Yanni.Znaio||

    I wouldn't be surprised to see people waving wrenches at McCain rallies when (as Sarah Palin said today) "Joe or Jane the Plumber" is name-dropped.

    I would.

    The Secret Service would *never* allow people to carry wrenches into a rally.

  • Jeffersonian||

    He's simply the worse candidate and he deserves his criticisms.


    Did you even watch and listen to what the fuck Obama said in that video? How could any "libertarian" listen to both candidates plans and speeches and debate answers and voting record and claim somehow that Obama is the better candidate defies belief. I don't like Mccain but he is 100X closer to my beliefs than Obama.

  • Nick||

    Obama talks about returning tax rates on the wealthy back to that of the Clinton era and cutting taxes for the bottom 95%. Even if this breaks even with Clinton-era and/or current revenues somehow (which I don't understand mathematically how it could), how the f*** is he going to pay for the nearly $2 trillion in additional spending he has proposed/supported, including the bailout plus all his proposals, on top of the current Bush administration spending which are already drowning us in deficits and unlikely to be cut significantly by him? Plus, shifting the military from Iraq to Afghanistan won't really cut the defense budget either. Why aren't the Republicans calling him on the sheer impossibility of his math? Of all political promises I have ever heard, Obama's tax + spending plan is probably the most impossible/dishonest and will prove itself as such when he likely gets elected. Either taxes go up for everyone, taxes go way higher than he's claiming for the rich or he pays for everything with debt, which is a more expensive tax on future generations.

    Just when McCain was starting to look pretty damn swell in comparison, he proposes buying up all the bad mortgages (while simultaneously calling for a spending freeze, which would be a great thing but doesn't make any sense as long as he continues to push for more new idiotic spending.) Plus, he's losing anyway.

    We are SO screwed.

  • Dave W.||

    My attorney bills me 10 buck just to send me an email that says -- So would 2:00 tomorrow work for you?

    boo freaking hoo. have him stop itemizing the bill and put him on retainer if it upsets you that much.

  • ||

    I wish I was a plumber. I am a graphics/web guy, but cannot find a job. I'm very good at what I do but I need more than 12.50 an hour to pay the mortgage. Joe has lots of money.

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