Campaigns/Elections

Joe the Plumber Doesn't Know Jack

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A recent headline from one of the bewildering array of The New Republic blogs:

Joe the Plumber Should Like Obama's Health Plan

In fact, The New Republic is in the middle of an all-out anti-Joe crusade right now. See here (his name's not really even Joe!), here, here (where Jonathan Chait accuses him of being a lying liar who lies), here, here, and here (Joe isn't a working man, he's management!). One problem for the TNR gang, I suspect, is that they don't quite believe that people like Joe really exist. They're skeptical that there is such a things as a small business owner who might get screwed under Obama's plan, or a non-rich person who likes McCain's. This particular Joe says he'll get screwed, so he must be a partisan hack, or a liar, or be suffering from false consciousness, or be bad at math, or something.

Elsewhere, the first article is described like this: "Hey Joe! You May Think It's 'Socialistic,' But You'll Get Better Health Care Under Obama."

To review:

Joe: I don't want your health plan, pinkos.

TNR: Yes, you do. You're just too stupid to know it.

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  1. Joe can’t be all bad, if TNR is going after him.

  2. “(where [New Republic writer] accuses him of being a lying liar who lies)”

    TNR guys are the experts on lying.

  3. I think Joe doesn’t understand the difference between net and gross, and that Joe is going to be sorely disappointed when Joe nets 70k (if hes lucky) on his 250k business.

  4. Please, please, please let the final weeks of silly season be consumed by something OTHER than the vagaries of whether some guy in Ohio does or does not fit into certain categories, is or is not a patriot/laborer/manager/idiot/rebel, related or not to whoever, is registered to what political party, and whether he uses his middle name as his first name?

    Please?

    I mean, I know this is McCain’s fault. But still.

    Please?

  5. It’s so messed up how as soon as an ordinary person has the temerity to dare getting involved in the political process, they’re vetted more than Sarah Palin. He didn’t ask for this. He just asked a candidate a question. This isn’t right at all.

  6. And he also don’t pay his taxes! Say it ain’t so!

    Please, please, please let the final weeks of silly season be consumed by something OTHER than the vagaries of whether some guy in Ohio does or does not fit into certain categories

    Sorry dude, the public is demanding Joe the Plumber and the media is delivering some damn Joe the Plumber.

  7. Christ, now even Bob (“the Builder”) is trying to work the Joe angle…

    While Obama and McCain seek to put patches on leaks, Bob Barr hopes to rebuild America

    “Senators Obama and McCain are no friend to ‘Joe the Plumber,'” says Barr. “But ‘Bob the Builder is.’ ‘Bob the Builder’ says that Joe should be able to keep the fruits of his labor, and shouldn’t be responsible for the mistakes of other people. ‘Bob the Builder’ says Joe shouldn’t be asked to shoulder Wall Street, and shouldn’t have his son sent off to die in a war that should have never been started. ‘Bob the Builder’ wants to build a government that is limited to its Constitutional authority, spends less of Joe’s money and stays out of Joe’s life.”

  8. Joe also wrote some newsletters in the early 1990s. Finally, that issue can be laid to rest.

  9. Forget Joe. If I can NET a $250,000 profit on a 2 man plumbing business I AM going to buy Joe’s business from his boss. I will even pay Joe to manage the company and give him my health plan.

    As I pointed out a long time ago, and others have also pointed out, I think this dude has personal income confused with gross business revenue. I have had million dollar businesses that paid no income taxes. So have most people, I imagine.

  10. You know what, the guy asked a question, Obama answered it honestly and now the left wing press are shitting themselves so they are trying to destroy the man who DARED to question “the One.”

    Truly pathetic.

    Currently, S corps pay arate of 35 percent, while sole proprietors and general partners face a tax rate of 37.9 percent and they’re responsible for paying both income tax and the Medicare component of the payroll tax.

    If Obama’s dream of spreading the wealth occurs, and his plan to raise the self-employment tax on those making more than $250,000, the S corporation rate would rise from 35 percent to 39.6 percent. The sole proprietor and partner rate would rise from 37.9 percent to 50.3 percent. Many Democrats in Congress have proposed making all small businesses (including S corporations) pay this 50-plus percent rate.

    Huge.

  11. I have had million dollar businesses that paid no income taxes. So have most people, I imagine.

    Million dollar business owners.
    The new majority?

    Or do you mean, most people who owned million dolla’ businesses paid no income taxes?

  12. This narrative that leftist elitists are fucking the guy for daring to ask a difficult question oughtta be stopped in its tracks like now. Regardless of whatever other issues JTP’s plight may or may not rightly raise, I really, really don’t think anyone gave a damn about him, leftist elitists included, until McCain cited him a dozen or more times in the damn debate. I sure I’d never heard about him before and cared even less.

  13. The key lesson of Joe the Plumber is that if a citizen asks a popular left-wing candidate a question that exposes the candidate’s desire to loot our earnings, the media will be all over you like white on rice, looking for dirt.

    They’re acting like a pack of scientologists.

    -jcr

  14. To review:

    Joe: I don’t want your health plan, pinkos.

    TNR: Yes, you do. You’re just too stupid to know it.

    Translation: KMW doesn’t understand the article she linked to so she will use a bumpersticker at the end of her post in place of some analysis.

  15. KMW seems to believe that an opinion based upon misinformation or a misunderstanding is valid and any attempt to provide correct information or correct the misunderstand is disrespectful of the person who has been misinformed.

    Or something.

  16. S-Corps are pass through entities. S-Corps pay no tax themselves.

    Partnerships are pass through entities. Partnerships pay no tax themselves.

    Partners are required to pay SE tax on their net income (which is the employers and the employees share of FICA), but half of that is an above the line deduction.

    I know this isn’t probably the right time or place… but this whole Joe windstorm has exposed just how precious little folks know about finances and taxes in general.

  17. The key lesson of Joe the Plumber is that if a citizen asks a popular left-wing candidate a question that exposes the candidate’s desire to loot our earnings, the media will be all over you like white on rice, looking for dirt.

    And if citizens ignore the incontrovertible fact that the other candidate has the exact same desire to loot our earnings, then nobody’s the wiser and maybe we can all keep believing the GOP is the free market party for just a few more years.

  18. Elemenope:
    yes, and I SO wish we could dispense with all the Marxist and quasi-Marxist social divisions.

    borgeois vs. proletariat
    capitalist vs. worker
    management vs. labor

    All this shite goes back to Marx.

    It’s becoming increasingly flipping obvious that not only are these divisions false dicotomies, but that a significant slice of the labor force doesn’t, and never will, fit into either one.

    The topic of this post is basically a bunch of people arguing about whether Joe is a “working man” or a “capitalist”, as if that designation would make some kind of moral dictinction.

    Oh he’s a working man, therefore he’s a good guy, right? Oh wait, no he’s a capitalist, that’s bad. Oh no! Which Marxist social category can I pidgeonhole this guy in? I must know!!!! I can’t evaluate this situation until I figure out if he is borgeoisis or proletariat!!!

  19. I usually vote for the more honest thief. Is that Barack?

    (Disclaimer: I actually live in Illinois – doesn’t make much difference who I vote for. Might just sleep in that day)

  20. Neu Mejican | October 16, 2008, 6:24pm | #

    KMW seems to believe that an opinion based upon misinformation or a misunderstanding is valid and any attempt to provide correct information or correct the misunderstand is disrespectful of the person who has been misinformed.

    Or something.

    Hey Neu:
    Some folks, as a matter of principal, simply want the government to stay the hell out of their lives, no matter “how good” the goodies supposedly are. It’s a really simple concept that all too many of the nannies and political left in this country simply don’t get.

  21. The key lesson of Joe the Plumber is that if a citizen asks a popular left-wing candidate a question that exposes the candidate’s desire to loot our earnings, the media will be all over you like white on rice, looking for dirt.

    Well I guess my false narrative stoppage didn’t last very long!!! Lasted all of one damn minute!!!!

  22. Joe should probably like the Obama plan — it’s hard to know without knowing his details — but at 34 he’s just coming into the age where things begin to go wrong. Probably a couple of them already have.

    What he will find, as a self-employed person, is that no one will sell him health insurance at ANY price because of preexisting conditions.

    The definition of “preexisting conditions” is quite broad.

    Joe will be locked out of the health care system. You might as well lock him out of the grocery stores.

    This is how America throws its uninsured to the wolves.


  23. Joe will be locked out of the health care system. You might as well lock him out of the grocery stores.

    David,

    Nice hyperbole.Sorry about your Pap smear results.

  24. Hazel Meade —

    I couldn’t disagree more. Sure, everyone’s “people”, but underneath that, there have always been vast differences in means and interests.

    Before Marx, it was considered uncouth to point out that many economic systems *go out of their way to fuck the non-wealthy*. I give him credit for making explicit that which either previously was left unsaid or was even esteemed as a positive feature.

    People also forget that Marx thought of Capitalism as *much better* than anything that had come before. Capitalism was the first sufficient solution to the problem of scarcity. The problem then became one of distribution. That is where Market Capitalists and everyone else part ways. For what it’s worth, I think the Austrian school capitalists were closest to right about the problems of distribution (i.e. information of that nature cannot be centralized efectively).

    But fairly clear divisions exist, and while you can’t paint a razor-sharp line at a given income level, groupings of class are not wholly useless. You can’t honestly tell me that a guy who’s working a McJob to pay the bills on some shitty basement apartment has the same interests, socially and economically speaking, as a guy who makes a quarter million dollars a year.

    Can you?

  25. Hey No Name Guy,

    I know you think that was profound, but you are not telling me anything new.

    KMW is not making that point.

    Person: I already pay enough taxes. Pinko plan A would raise MY taxes.
    Person 2: No it wouldn’t, it would lower them.

    KMW: Person 2 thinks Person is stupid for opposing the plan to raise his taxes.

  26. Remember folks 250,000 bucks is 5 times the median income and only 5% or so of the population make this much.

    When people define middle class, they always include themselves.

    Rich people are those that make a lot more than I do.

    No matter who I am.

    I come from a family which includes members at around the median and those well above 250,000 bucks a year.

    Trust me.
    The difference in life-style that making 5 times the median buys make your interests much different than that of the middle class.

    Much different.

  27. It’s rednecks like this that allow the economic ruling class to keep its wealth and power. For some, reason working Americans have a nasty habit of kneejerk reacting against anything perceived as socialist. Even if its in their best interests.

  28. “This narrative that leftist elitists are fucking the guy for daring to ask a difficult question oughtta be stopped in its tracks like now.”

    They’re not elitists: They’re bottom-dwelling scum. They are, however, doing their scummy best to damage anyone who dares dissent from their political orthodoxies.

  29. The funny thing is, Joe the Plumber was playing football in his own front yard when Obama walked up to him.

    http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081016/NEWS09/810160418

    Quote:

    Mr. Wurzelbacher was playing football in his front yard with his son, Joey, on Sunday afternoon when Mr. Obama made an unscheduled stop to go door to door greeting voters and asking for their support.

    But that will not prevent people from claiming that this is some kind of McCain operation. Insane Andrew Sullivan is already on the case.

    And since he isn’t a licensed plumber, the City of Toledo Plumbing Board of Control may consider a punishment for Wurzelbacher. That should teach him about speaking up to his betters.

    The plumber asked the candidate a legitimate question about his economic plan and it was Obama who put his foot in his mouth and revealed that he wanted to Spread. The. Wealth. I think this is what has stuck a needle deep into the lefty psyche. The lefties are going bananas over this guy. On other blogs, folks have pulled up his divorce records. They found a “connection” (probably bogus) to the infamous Charles Keating based upon a common last name. They’ve found that he owes some back taxes on his property tax.

    The press has dug deeper into his background in hours than they have into Obama’s background in months. This guy is going to regret ever opening his mouth and asking the Messiah a tough question.

  30. It’s becoming increasingly flipping obvious that not only are these divisions false dicotomies…

    I’d be willing to bet that the folks out there working two McJobs just to pay the rent would have a thing or two to say about your false dichotomies.

  31. “You can’t honestly tell me that a guy who’s working a McJob to pay the bills on some shitty basement apartment has the same interests, socially and economically speaking, as a guy who makes a quarter million dollars a year.”

    I’m not completely disagreeing with your idea here, but it’s not as black-and-white as you think. As a registered Libertarian I voted for lots of Republicans for economic reasons (i.e. against Democrats) while I was working a McJob to pay my apartment rent. And I used to listen to Rush Limbaugh back then too.

  32. Thats right whenever a wingnut gets called on his idiocy the other wingnuts feel all sorry for him but when anyone else misspeaks its okay to crucify them for it glad thats cleared up

  33. It’s not McCain’s fault. Obama stopped by the guy’s lawn and shook his hand. Joe asked him a question. Obama accidentally told the truth about his governing philosophy (Michael Kinsely has a name for when a politician accidentally tells the truth but I can’t remember what it is).

    Of course McCain is using it. That’s politics.

    So the deranged left is now doing all it can to destroy the guy who asked the question. That’s Obama politics.

    One of my best friends is an Obama supporter – don’t know if she’s been fully indoctrinated cause we haven’t discussed it face to face yet. But she sent me the email going around about how much my taxes will supposedly decrease under the Obama vs the McCain plans and of course it shows I’ll pay considerably less under Obama.

    It’s not that I disbelieve the numbers – I disbelieve the man. A Dem president with a Dem supermajority will raise my taxes, corporate taxes, all taxes. Especially in a recession – cause that’s what they do.

    So if Obama wins, we have a bet – we wait for the new tax legislation to be passed – we’ll give it a year, it will likely be much sooner – and if my taxes go down, I owe her three drinks at some fun bar we’ve never been to. Or vice versa.

    I think we’ll go to this bar out near the Heights where they make really good martinis. And I won’t ask for Grey Goose cause we’re good friends and I’m not a bitch.

  34. @Old Bull Lee
    if you listened to rush limbaugh then you really are stupid and it proves my point that you people are a bunch of wingnuts who just desperately wnat to smoke pot.

  35. thats right lets bet on this election like a horserace. thats real mature.

  36. “It’s rednecks like this that allow the economic ruling class to keep its wealth and power. For some, reason working Americans have a nasty habit of kneejerk reacting against anything perceived as socialist. Even if its in their best interests.”

    In other words, like our soon-to-be-glorious-leader, you believe people are too stupid to know what they want and its the government’s place to decide whats best for them.

  37. Neu Mexican,

    “Person: I already pay enough taxes. Pinko plan A would raise MY taxes.
    Person 2: No it wouldn’t, it would lower them.”

    Person 1: But to pay for the lowering of my taxes, you want to take moeny for someone else, I call that stealing, If I were to take money from someone else at the point of a gun, that would be a crime, but If I get the govenrmet to do it for me, somehow thats “fairness”.

  38. The point I am trying to get at is that (A) many people don’t neatly fit into one of those categories. And (B) their interests may be different but they don’t neceesarily conflict. Hence that these divisions are not only useless, but damaging to policical discouse since they set up false dichotomies.

    For example, lets take capital vs. workers. Marxist theory holds that their interests are opposed because capital will always try to drive down wages.

    But with the decline in the manufacturing base it becomes increasingly clear that labor NEEDS capital since without a manufacturing base, there are no jobs. The “workers vs. capital” dichotomy obscures the fact that labor interests are aligned with the health of the industry. So trying to suck as much blood as possible from capital is ultimately self-defeating.

    Then there are small business owners, which have NOT gotten gobbled up as Marxist theory would hold. They are constantly getting recreated at the lowest levels – grassroots capitalism. The entire banking crisis is an explicit example of how big companies can implode, clearing the way for smaller growth. (If the government would let them, that is.) Note how the local banks are now pissed off because the big banks are getting subsidized.

    Marxist theory holds that everything should eventually become more and more concentrated until you have a tiny number of people owning everything. But what actually happens is that there’s a constant cycle, consolidation, implosion, collapse, and regrowth. That’s the “creative destruction” that socialists like to mock. Some businesses need to die for others to be born.

    This Joe the Plumber issue is a case in point of how stupid these distinctions are. They’re arguing about which artificial social category he belongs to instead of stepping back and evaluating what is just from his perspective as an indivudal. Their idea of “social justice” is class based – if he’s a member of the management class then it’s automatically just to take his money because supposedly managers and capitalists are leechers and parasites on the working man. That’s why it’s so important to them to figure out which class he belongs to. They can’t decide right and wrong without first assigning him a label. That’s f—ed up.

  39. KMW seems to believe that an opinion based upon misinformation or a misunderstanding is valid and any attempt to provide correct information or correct the misunderstand is disrespectful of the person who has been misinformed.

    I was going to say something similarly, only less coherently. Thank you.

    Also, I’m not sure why this guy (who frankly, doesn’t know what he’s talking about) is the excuse for a libertarian to suddenly leap to the defense of the everyman, but whatever.

  40. Hazel,

    Hear, hear, wish I state it half as well.

  41. Person 1: But to pay for the lowering of my taxes, you want to take moeny for someone else, I call that stealing, If I were to take money from someone else at the point of a gun, that would be a crime, but If I get the govenrmet to do it for me, somehow thats “fairness”.

    Person 2: No, it’s called civilization.

  42. The false dichotomies are the ones like race religion ethnicity and ‘moral values” that the right uses to divide the oppressed so that they can keep oppressing them. Economic class is not a “false dicotomy” it is the most meaningful dichotomy in capitalist economies.

  43. @xanthippas-good luck tryingto get the wingnuts here to recognize any legitmate role for taxation. theyve got there heads int heir own assholes and they’re going to keep them there as long as they possibly can

  44. but when you ask the wingnuts if they would like to go live in the wilderness like their philosophy on civilization says they should, they call you ahippie.

  45. sorry wingnuts but there are actually other people in the world with legitimate interests that might involve taking some of your precious money.

  46. CO,

    The thing is, in a capitlait economy, Economic class is a transitory status, people move in and out of the varions economic classes all the time.

  47. Sometimes we just call them a troll.

  48. “sorry wingnuts but there are actually other people in the world with legitimate interests that might involve taking some of your precious money.”

    Certainly there are, they are called thieves. And every thief feels completely justified in their thievery.

  49. Twisted Nerve, you make a good point that is even more important, but no less true, than the false dichotomies point.

    When I was at my McJob, I knew I could move myself up to my current middle-class, home-owning status. And I never resented the classes above me.

  50. I don’t know if going after Joe the plumber from Ohio is very smart for the dems to do. They might ought to back off, being that he’s from a state they need. Ohio has a lot of people just like Joe the plumber.

  51. @Twisted Nerve-right there’s mobility so why is there a permanently impoverished underclass in this country?

  52. concerned observer:
    Says who?

    I’d argue that the biggest social division currently isn’t wealth based but rural vs. urban. Not to mention racial (black vs. white vs. mixed/hispanic/everyone else).
    Both of these strike me as far more apparant than rich vs. poor.

    In the last quarter century, and particularly with the rise of the internet, there are a huge number of people out there who are self employed as independent contractors, or who have chosen life paths that aren’t working in either McJobs or even salaried 9-5 jobs.

    There’s practically an entirely new economic class composed of computer technicians and other information technology workers. People who work from home, set their own hours, or take temp jobs so they can have more vacation time. People who are self-employed or partially employed in some activity of their own interest – art music writing photography. I can personlly attest that as a single person it’s remarkably easy to get by on an income that is considered poverty line. I know numerous people who have chosen to quit work and go back to school. Others who are intependently wealthy because they started their own business. Then sold it, bought a house, and became a freelance something or other or consultant.

  53. right just keep saying all taxes are theft. youll have a lot to bitch about when everyone else decides that taxes are not evil. go live in your libertarian fantasy world.

  54. @Hazel Meade
    you completly missed thepoint. the perceived “differences” between urban and rural and black and white are designed by the economic upper class to keep the underclass unaware that it is being exploited. It happened in the south when the big plantation owners convinced the poor white trash that it was the black slaves’ fault they were poor and later did the same when the slaves’ were freed.

  55. then again you seem to be one of th wingnuts so I shouldn’t be suprised.

  56. CO,

    There is a permanent underclass because there there has to be a nadir of any scale, just as there must be a zenith. but consider that in a capitalist economy especially ours,the “underclass” lives quiet well by world standards, including those celebrated social dmeocracies in Europe. Secondly the permanent underlcass is made up of many types of people, those for lack of drive, self interest, or disability, lack the ability to move to another level, those that are just beginning their financial live and quite rightly must start at the bottom, and those that are temoprarily brought low by circumstance or poor decisions. and actively working thier way up.

  57. concerned observer: You need to change your name to “Marxian Zombie”, with your mindless repetition of socialist talking points.

    The differences between urban are rural are not “perceived”. These people have very different lifestyles and values. Racism cuts across both urban and rural classes, and has nothing to do with plantation owners from 150 years ago. There are actually some pretty good cognitive explanations for racism that aren’t based on some Marxist theory about the ruling class, but on biological predispositions. (i.e. racism is an extension of innate tribalist tendancies in human psychology.)

    Put down your Marxist texts and try reading what actual social scientists have to say about racism.

  58. Okay twisted nerve keep rocking back and forth denying anything I say actually means what it means. The doctors will bring your medication shortly

  59. you have to love it when a libertarian wingnut lectures you on social science.I thought you wackos didn’t believe in such a thing as society.

  60. Probably best to just ignore concerned observer. No one’s going to get through to him/her and if he/she doesn’t get any attention he/she might go away.

    In other words, don’t feed the troll.

  61. CO,
    “Okay twisted nerve keep rocking back and forth denying anything I say actually means what it means. The doctors will bring your medication shortly”

    I can honetly say that I dont understand the above. How dont thes adress the points I am trying to put forth? I am trying to have a discussion with you, am I wasting my time?

  62. “are designed by the economic upper class to keep the underclass unaware that it is being exploited”

    THAT’S the kind of bullshit that gets you called hippy.

  63. You are of course right tekende, but sometimes I can’t resist. Plus this started with rational points made by Elemenope (whom I was respectfully disagreeing with) and Hazel Meade and I hate to see a meaningful discussion degrade like this.

  64. CO: There’s a difference between believing that societies exist, and basing one’s morality (aka “social justice”) on invented distinctions between arbitrarily defined social classes.

    Speaking of which, maybe all these class distinctions are just another extension of our ape-brains trying to divide ourselves into conflicting tribes.

    Ug say Worker clan good. Manager clan bad. Worker clan smash manager clan cheif with big rock. Ug Take food for worker clan families!
    Make manager clan slaves to worker clan!

  65. tekende,

    I fear you may be right, CO is not interested in dissneting views, I started here attemtpting the engage New Mexican, but he is either elswhere engaged on not interested. CO seeme ready to take up the banner but has devolved into poo flinging.

  66. Twisted Nerve,
    Why don’t you actually make valid points? Why does the U.S. consistently have a 15% poverty rate while most western European countries have a poverty rate around 3 or 4%?

  67. “am I wasting my time” – TN

    You have to ask?

    Don’t feed the troll.

  68. Hazel Meade, your stuff in this thread has been great. Lucid, precise and eloquent. Good stuff.

  69. right. don’t feed the troll. if they disagree and raise uncomfortable points, they are trolling. or maybe ITS JUST AN EXCUSE TO GO BACK INSIDE YOUR ECHO CHAMBERS AND PRETEND NO OTHER POINTS OF VIEW EXIST!

  70. THen again, I guess the posters here have become afraid to argue with me.

  71. “concerned observer”:

    Is individual liberty the highest principle? If not, why not? Are you willing to look another human being in the eye and say that his or her body, mind, time and life — one life — belong to somebody else?

  72. “Hazel Meade, your stuff in this thread has been great. Lucid, precise and eloquent. Good stuff.

    Ditto… Take that CO!!! HA.

  73. Twisted Nerve,
    STOP, please! CO just grows stronger on getting pwned. Just ignore it and it will go away. Okay, not really, but we can always hope.

  74. @Tom-can you look a million starving people in the eyes and say THEIR lives are worth less than some millionaire inheritance punk?

  75. @Economist- considering that you can’t come up with a clear point to save your life, you should just shut up.

  76. @Tom-can you look a million starving people in the eyes and say THEIR lives are worth less than some millionaire inheritance punk?

    Uh, no, and what does that have to do with anything?

  77. “concerned observer”:

    If I don’t promptly respond, it’s because the Mexican place closes at 9, and I really want tacos for dinner. Not because I’m “afraid” to argue with you.

    Also, tonight’s MLS soccer game on ESPN is waiting on my DVR, so I’m gonna eventually be ducking out for that as well. Okey doke.

    Maybe at some point, when that’s all done, you’ll have answered the question I asked at 8:33.

  78. I was responding to your 8:23 post.

  79. CO,
    I know you enjoy griefing here, but have considered a less perverse hobby, like torturing animals or arson?

    Really.

  80. If no one here is man enough to argue with me, I’ll just have to do it myself!

  81. CO: I’ve been trying to argue with you, but you refuse to argue back.

    I have to admit, it’s entertaining keeping you around for a piniata though. Masochistic on your part, but entertaining.

  82. Fuck Joe the Plumber. I wanna hear the plight of Joe the Pot Guy.

  83. Oh, look, another Republican fake everyman blows up in their face.

    Funny how that keeps happening.

  84. I was responding to your 8:23 post.

    I don’t have a post from 8:23. And I already know you “responded.” What I’m pointing out is that you didn’t answer the question.

  85. Oh, look, another Republican fake everyman blows up in their face.

    WTF joe?

    There is nothing “fake” about him but he may be blowing up your guy.Lotta swing voters wondering if that socialist charge just might be more than an epithet.

  86. And my tacos are sitting over there, so hurry up.

  87. OK, losers. We get it. Today’s talking point is “The Democrats are mad because he asked The Messiah a question.”

    Does it feel good to rent out your brain like that? I’d feel like crap.

  88. Oh, look, another Republican fake everyman blows up in their face.

    I don’t like the phrase “WTF,” so I won’t say “WTF.” But I will say: What in the world are you talking about?

  89. As a side note, I think it’s pretty interesting that he’s being castigated for not being a mamber of the plumber’s union and not having a plumbing license.

    Which is not the same as it being illegal, he’s operating in unregulated segments of the plumbing markets. The problem is that the plumbers unions and lisencers are pissed off by the fact that someone not belonging to the “guild” (basically), is muscling in on their territory.

    The guy is even more libertarian than it seemed initially. He’s bypassing the old union hierarchy and rufising to jump through the hoops they have set up to restrict who is allowed to practice plumbing.

    Why is this supposed to be a bad thing?

  90. Lotta swing voters wondering if that socialist charge just might be more than an epithet.

    Well, SIV, you sure do know what swing voters think.

    So…how’s that Palin thing working out?

  91. I’m talking, Tom, about McCain’s desperate pimping of this guy turning into a fiasco for him.

  92. OK, losers. We get it. Today’s talking point is “The Democrats are mad because he asked The Messiah a question.”

    Who cares? That stuff is just noise. Why does it matter? By engaging with it, even to dismiss it, you’re participating in the very same partisan-ping-pong you’re ostensibly decrying.

    And yes, sure, why not: With my decrying of your post, I’m participating in the very same etc. etc.

  93. I’m talking, Tom, about McCain’s desperate pimping of this guy turning into a fiasco for him.

    How is it turning into a fiasco for him? I’m asking somewhat earnestly, because I can’t say with confidence that I’m up to speed on all of the day’s news and meme-spreading. Busy day at work.

  94. Tom,

    Because Joe, the middle-class plumber and undecided voter who would be screwed by Barack Obama’s tax plan turns out not to be middle class, a plumber, an undecided voter, or someone who would be screwed by Barack Obama’s tax plan.

  95. Tom,

    That is how joe panics.

  96. Because Joe, the middle-class plumber and undecided voter who would be screwed by Barack Obama’s tax plan turns out not to be middle class” really? what class is he?
    “a plumber” must be news to his cusotmers,
    “an undecided voter” when did he assert that?
    “or someone who would be screwed by Barack Obama’s tax plan” who wont be?

  97. joe, He IS a plumber. He’s just not a member of the plumbers guild (aka trade union).

  98. So…how’s that Palin thing working out?

    Just fine joe. Are you panicking again?
    All those swing voters are wondering ,like Joe the plumber, if Obama is out to raise their taxes.

  99. Because Joe, the middle-class plumber and undecided voter who would be screwed by Barack Obama’s tax plan turns out not to be middle class, a plumber, an undecided voter, or someone who would be screwed by Barack Obama’s tax plan.

    That’s cool. But how is it turning into a fiasco for McCain? Are McCain supporters who loved the Joe the Plumber saga now aghast at this apparent news, and turning their backs on McCain?

    Or is his problem now with all those Really Crucially Important Undecideds — these folks who still haven’t chosen a candidate with just 18 days to go and whose obviously intense engagement with the electoral process means they are surely following every detailed twist and turn of the Joe the Plumber thing like hawks?

  100. Oh, please, don’t rape me in this thread anymore! If no one here is man enough to torture me, I’ll just go suck Obama!

  101. Lmao at Joe the Plumber being more important for the media to thoroughly investigate, analyze, report on, and skewer than Acorn, Ayres, and all the other suspicions that are actually about Obama.

  102. Hey joe,

    How do you like the Gallup poll’s “likely voter” model? Statistical dead heat.
    Hopey just might have peaked too soon.

  103. SIV | October 16, 2008, 9:15pm | #

    Tom,

    That is how joe panics.

    Awesome! You haven’t accused me of panicking in weeks! Since mid-September, actually. The last time you accused me of panicking, it was because Sarah Palin was winning the hearts and minds of ordinary Americans.

    LoL, cling to that shred of hope. It was awesome watching it slip away last time, SIV.

  104. Tom,

    It’s turning into a fiasco for McCain because, just like with the Hockey Mom, the McCain campaign and their fanbois went all in, and it’s all falling apart in their faces.

  105. …That is how joe panics.

    … Awesome! You haven’t accused me of panicking in weeks!

    Is this the part where y’all start talking about each other, and the thread gets all meta instead of being about interesting things (for example, things that aren’t Reason posters)?

    Cuz I think that means I need to go eat my tacos and watch the soccer game.

  106. Hazel:

    Sorry you had to put up with CO in the interim. We were having a good exchange!

    But with the decline in the manufacturing base it becomes increasingly clear that labor NEEDS capital since without a manufacturing base, there are no jobs. The “workers vs. capital” dichotomy obscures the fact that labor interests are aligned with the health of the industry. So trying to suck as much blood as possible from capital is ultimately self-defeating.

    Marx elucidated that dependency well; he argued that the classes did not exist in a literal dichotomy, but rather their constituents ultimately held different interests that conflicted teleologically. The crucial distinction here is he argued that while neither could survive without the other, one added a *parasitic* dimension to their side of the relationship, by extracting surplus value without direct compensation.

    Then there are small business owners, which have NOT gotten gobbled up as Marxist theory would hold. They are constantly getting recreated at the lowest levels – grassroots capitalism. The entire banking crisis is an explicit example of how big companies can implode, clearing the way for smaller growth. (If the government would let them, that is.) Note how the local banks are now pissed off because the big banks are getting subsidized.

    Marx did not account well for the persistence of the middle class, because he assumed that petty-bourgeois was a metastable state. He was flatly wrong on that count. On the other hand, he can hardly be blamed, as the societies and histories that he studied had a unifying story of ossified class relations, no social mobility except by force, and a social superstructure *explicitly* designed to reinforce predetermined roles.

    Modern experience especially in the United States suggests that there is a stable middle class. Of course Marxists ever since have described this classes’ relations with the others in various ways, but there is still a dynamic of extracted surplus value afoot.

    Marxist theory holds that everything should eventually become more and more concentrated until you have a tiny number of people owning everything. But what actually happens is that there’s a constant cycle, consolidation, implosion, collapse, and regrowth. That’s the “creative destruction” that socialists like to mock. Some businesses need to die for others to be born.

    And ultimately Marxist theory on this point has remained practically right. The names at the top rarely change. Even if the capital accumulations and mechanisms collapse over the short term, those *people* who controlled them still get their paycheck/bailout. The political class is uniformly rich, the executive class is as well, and they walk hand-in-hand and are often the very same people.

    The creative destruction element primarily functions to buttress the stability of the middle class. The damage at what almost invariably ends up being the periphery of the market maintains the space necessary for the middle class to eke out a small accumulation of productive capital. However, absent a massive change in the means of production themselves (such as the advent of a new market or a technological revolution), these players almost never challenge the larger players credibly in the same business.

    [/Marxist off]

    But seriously, I think that Marx was an invaluable critic and historian of Capitalism, and his insights should be taken seriously. I think the basic divide that he elucidated between those who primarily benefit from the productivity of capital and those who create through their labor that productivity is essentially real, as a practical if not strictly metaphysical consequence of a capitalist system.

  107. SIV | October 16, 2008, 9:20pm | #

    Hey joe,

    How do you like the Gallup poll’s “likely voter” model?

    It’s one poll among many. The most McCain friendly polls show an Obama lead, with the least McCain friendly polls showing a lead in the mid-teens.

    Hopey just might have peaked too soon. Well, Hopey, I thought you’d peaked in early September, but here you are again.

    Panic! Sexism! Panic! Sexism! Panic!

    You sure you want to start this up again, chief?

  108. My God, joe never got this panicky over Palin!

    Full screaming panic mode.
    I guess “thoughtful contrarian joe” is gone till November.I’m not sure of the year.

  109. I mentioned this in another thread, but in some areas you can’t be a union plumber and own a plumbing business at the same time. Maybe that plays somewhat into why he’s got things set up as they are.

  110. Looks like I’m going to have another thread to throw in SIV’s face in week.

    Best. Election Campaign. Ever.

  111. You’ve never had a thread to throw in my face joe
    You are mixing up my comments with the voices in your head.

  112. The Libertarian philosophy is based on the subjective notion that taxes are theft, which is pretty much on par with the rest of their bad analogies, and emotional reasoning.

    Of course, without having proven that taxes should be considered theft by anyone but themselves, they have little to rely on, other than these buzzwords, which obviously imply a from of “aggression.”

    It’s a sly appeal to emotion, and it’s become a preprogrammed mantra that has led to a rather lonely existance, which ignores every other dynamic that occurs in civilization outside of tax issues.

    It’s like watching someone slowly painting themselves into a corner, until they become irrelevant to any societal discussion.

    I would even go so far as to consider devout Libertarianism the result of a personality disorder.

  113. Well, SIV, maybe its the panic. And the sexism. I seem to be a little flat-footed.

    Lol.

  114. “I would even go so far as to consider devout Libertarianism the result of a personality disorder.”

    And trolling isn’t?

  115. I would even go so far as to consider devout Libertarianism the result of a personality disorder.

    Whereas painting all of one group with the same brush is, sadly, very common. Almost normative, and certainly sane.

    I’m sure it was some hippie fellow who once said that it is no sign of health to be well-adjusted in a profoundly sick society.

  116. Elemenope: The crucial distinction here is he argued that while neither could survive without the other, one added a *parasitic* dimension to their side of the relationship, by extracting surplus value without direct compensation

    Which is still bunk, since the notion of extracting surplus value is based on the labor theory of value.
    Marx doesn’t seems to get the role that capital owners play in directing investment towards activities that satisfy marketplace demands. The capital owner isn’t just a parasite living off the workers, he’s satisfying consumers by directing labor towards activities that meet peoples demands.

    Marx sees people as workers, not so much as consumers, so he doesn’t seem to get that market forces are a manifestation of consumers desires, not some kind of alien force that the workers need to bring under their control.

    IOW, The capitalist’s interest is aligned with the workers as consumers. (And he himself may be a consumer of someone else’s product, or a worker in another context.)

    On the other hand, he can hardly be blamed, as the societies and histories that he studied had a unifying story of ossified class relations, no social mobility except by force, and a social superstructure *explicitly* designed to reinforce predetermined roles.

    Which makes it all the more apparant that the class distinctions he invented are irrelevant to today’s society. Why are we using social distinctions that belong to an era when people were running around with the title of Duke or Baron?

    And ultimately Marxist theory on this point has remained practically right. The names at the top rarely change. Even if the capital accumulations and mechanisms collapse over the short term, those *people* who controlled them still get their paycheck/bailout. The political class is uniformly rich, the executive class is as well, and they walk hand-in-hand and are often the very same people.

    Because capitalism isn’t sufficiently capitalist? What free-marketeer do you know who is happy about the bailout?

  117. blargh. Sorry, I’m in a hurry to get somewhere. That post turned out repetitive.

  118. Famous Mortimer:
    There’s more to libertarianism than tax policy.

    But how exactly are taxes not theft? What makes something theft anyway? And why not get back to the moral premise? Is it ever okay to take someone’s property against their will? When, and in what circumstances? Do those circumstances conform to the current tax policy? is taxing for wealth redistribution justified? How is it justified? On what moral grounds?

  119. Famous Mortimer,

    Libertarin philosophy (my understanding of it anyway)posits that to take take the product of one mans labor against his will and give it to another man who has not earned it, is to have comitted a theft, and essentialy taken a portion of the first mans life an suborned it to the second.

    That it not the same as taxation, ideally each person providing a properly apportioned share for the basic operation of a government, which itself is kept to a mimimal level and well circumscribed.

    It is a sly appeal to the golden rule.

  120. Marx sees people as workers, not so much as consumers, so he doesn’t seem to get that market forces are a manifestation of consumers desires, not some kind of alien force that the workers need to bring under their control.

    Uh uh. He definitely also saw them as consumers. That was the other half of the analysis: a worker is paid wages to make a product, and then the owner marks up the product and sells it. But who buys it? The worker (and others like him). His point was that somewhere between the point at which the product is made and when it is sold, there is an addition to its salable value *as if by magic*. Since the worker is using the discounted proceeds from his labor to buy the product marked at premium, he gets screwed.

    Which makes it all the more apparant that the class distinctions he invented are irrelevant to today’s society. Why are we using social distinctions that belong to an era when people were running around with the title of Duke or Baron?

    There is something to this. However, there is also something to the fact that in our current system, the gap has steadily become wider, not narrower, between the two polar groups, and the middle group has steadily shrank.

    Because capitalism isn’t sufficiently capitalist? What free-marketeer do you know who is happy about the bailout?

    None. And that also feeds from Marx’s point that the system is ultimately not stable without something external hedging the margins. Government usually serves this purpose.

    A free-marketer would say, get the government out so that the market can function efficiently. A Marxist would say, on the contrary, there is no way to get the government out without killing the market itself.

    Both, BTW, are total articles of faith, since there has never been such an animal as a free market.

    Incidentally, a Distributist would say in response to your question there that the problem isn’t that there isn’t enough capitalism. The problem is that there aren’t enough capitalists; the thinking being that if productive capital were itself more finely divided that the system of capitalism would be more equitable *and* stable, since the divisions between classes would be minimized.

    Food for thought, at least.

  121. There’s no difference in how much tax you pay on net income with an S Corp or C Corp. (I don’t know about an LLC, but I’m guessing it’s the same.) My wife has an S Corp and I have a C Corp. There is no tax advantage that one has over the other. Any profit that is not declared as personal income is subject to a federal tax of about 15%, IIRC.

    The big problem with corporate tax is than it acts as a disincentive to saving money to do such things as research, hire new employees, and bond projects. Many businesses aren’t sure whether or not an opportunity to expand will ever come. If the opportunity does come, the savings will be worthwhile. But if the opportunity doesn’t come, the business owner will have to pay personal income tax on the money that was saved in the business and already taxed.

    I can’t remember. Which presidential candidate wants to completely eliminate the silly corporate income tax ?

  122. There is something to this. However, there is also something to the fact that in our current system, the gap has steadily become wider, not narrower, between the two polar groups, and the middle group has steadily shrank.

    While I do not deny that the ‘middle group’ in the US may be shrinking*, one of the root causes is that the ‘middle group’ *world wide* has significantly expanded.

    *it depends on your definitions

  123. I don’t think anyone who dares ask a question of a politician left or right ought to have their divorce and tax records and home address made public. Anyone not appalled by the media’s behavior in this should be ashamed of themselves. If they think this guy is full of shit and Obama’s tax plan is great, fine say so. But whatever they think, don’t try and destroy some poor bastard who happened to ask a question.

  124. just to expand on *

    I think, but would have to look up, if you account for immigration (either as very poor groups becoming ‘poor’ groups – and hence ‘middle’ on a global measurement, or as the net cause for the enlargement of the the ‘poor’ group) the middle is doing OK.

    Not their are not real problems (the most pernacious one is that a high school diploma ain’t worth a damn anymore)

  125. Not their are not real problems (the most pernacious one is that a high school diploma ain’t worth a damn anymore)

    they keep dumbing down college and a college degree won’t be worth much pretty soon. We could fix the high school degree problem if we would stop pretending everyone wants to go to college and learn latin and instead start teaching skills in high school that are actually valuable.

  126. John

    they keep dumbing down college and a college degree won’t be worth much pretty soon. We could fix the high school degree problem if we would stop pretending everyone wants to go to college and learn latin and instead start teaching skills in high school that are actually valuable.

    Skills like plumbing?

  127. Everyone may not want to learn Latin, but it is undeniably useful to know, nonetheless.

    Which bring us back to a point I made about a week ago, that the marginal value of education is hidden to the prospective customer…because they don’t have an education.

    After all, one of the things a good and comprehensive education can teach is how to calculate marginal value.

  128. I think Joe stepped in it, to put it mildly. Happens to people, and he looks like a big boy. So while I think the hoopla around this is a little out of whack, in the end it will be done and gone in a few weeks, and he’ll be OK.

    As far as Senator Obama’s statements go, I think everyone here probably agrees that taxes are a vital part of government. It seems most people are primarily arguing over what the government does with the money. This is where the wealth redistribution statement hits a nerve. Unlike infrastructure improvements or applying the money directly to a service agency, the return on investment for wealth redistribution is much harder to quantify. There are benefits to redistribution, just as there are benefits in having roads.

    My primary distaste for wealth redistribution by our government is that it is handled by the federal government. That puts too much money and thus power in one place. The founding fathers and most people around the world realize that there are benefits to chopping your government off at the knees. Limiting the power that the few who govern/rule you can wield is a good thing. The whole checks and balances thing in our constitution doesn’t work well when both sides are in a fight over which side gets to be the Caesar first. Thus our only method for regulating our would be emperors is to make them less powerful.

    Wealth redistribution for those of us firmly in the middle is not so much a quality of life issue as it is a risk mitigation issue. I just don’t like seeing that much cash flow through the federal government. Put the wealth redistribution systems at the state or better yet the local level, and I would feel much better about it.

  129. He definitely also saw them as consumers. That was the other half of the analysis: a worker is paid wages to make a product, and then the owner marks up the product and sells it. But who buys it? The worker (and others like him). His point was that somewhere between the point at which the product is made and when it is sold, there is an addition to its salable value *as if by magic*. Since the worker is using the discounted proceeds from his labor to buy the product marked at premium, he gets screwed.

    I disagree. He saw workers consuming. But he still thought of the whole situation from the perspective of them as workers. In other words, person A produces X, and person B produces Y, so they trade. Right?

    But what if Person A doesn’t want Y? You could look at the entire situation from the other perspective. Person A wants W and Person B wants Z. Neither wants what the other produces, so they can’t trade. Or Person B wants X, so he buy’s A’s product, but then nobody wants Y so he goes broke.

    The role of the market, and hence capital, is to tell B to produce W instead of Y.

    This happens because A really wants W, and offers a high price for it, so the person who is smart enough to get B to produce it gets a big reward.

    That’s not “surplus value”. That’s making money off the difference between what people want and the cost of producing it (labor not being the only factor). Or in marginal utility, the marginal cost of producing one extra unit.

    In other words, people voluntarily choose to reward the capitalist with a large amount of money because a LOT of people want something that there isn’t enough of, and the capitalist is making it possible for them to get it.

    None. And that also feeds from Marx’s point that the system is ultimately not stable without something external hedging the margins. Government usually serves this purpose

    No, that’s why we have a constitution that protects private property and limits the powers of government. The bailout is an intervention. It requires the government ot raise taxes and spend them. If the government couldn’t do this, the bailout would not be possible.

    a Distributist would say in response to your question there that the problem isn’t that there isn’t enough capitalism. The problem is that there aren’t enough capitalists; the thinking being that if productive capital were itself more finely divided that the system of capitalism would be more equitable *and* stable, since the divisions between classes would be minimized.

    I’d agree with this analysis. But I think the answer is to produce more investors. We need a culture of low-level entrepreneurship. More people acting like capitalists and workers at the same time. Not a workers vs. capital dichotomy.

  130. “But how exactly are taxes not theft? What makes something theft anyway? And why not get back to the moral premise?”

    Defining any kind of taxation as theft is hyperbole. We live in a democratic country where we vote for a particular platform. No country is free to live in. Taxes are applied based on the level to which the public, at large, is willing to accept the cost of living in that country.

    While you may feel that certain taxes are a complete waist, these taxes are taken out of your paycheck before you receive the money, or are expected to be paid before the end of the filing period.

    My statements are directed towards the strict Libertarians, who are often represented on this forum.

    In the most strict form of Libertarianism, it’s not merely a matter of how the wealth is being redistributed, but that it’s being redistributed at all. These Libertarians envision an agrarian Republic that the general population would never agree to buy into.

    Even the least interfered with market systems will periodically face a market collapse. Therefore, assuming that the most appropriate response to this reality is “tough shit,” it does not qualify as a reasonable response to most human beings. Having SOME socialism can help alleviate those realities, which overall, can lead to a much more functional society.

    The important point is, living in your version of a “free” society is, thus far, purely a figment of your imagination. The argument over how free people can really be is a much more important one, than merely championing the idea of absolute freedom, without any kind of qualification.

    Doing so can result in the same unintended consequences that Communist countries naively overlooked.

    I feel that it would be detrimental to erase S.S., and most of the public agrees with me. Although you don’t agree, your philosophy has not won out. This does not equate to stealing from you, since a cooperative society, at every level, is necessary for instituting, and maintaining something like a market economy.

    Of course the government is going to apply punishment to those who do not pay all of their taxes because they are not providing the established cost of living within the country. There’s no other way to enforce it. “Pretty please” is not an option. Tax evasion can lead to greater forms of government control.

    You can complain about this, but to equate it with theft, is for obvious reasons, dishonest.

    I certainly believe that some form of federal involvement in health care, and education is better than leaving it completely up to the markets. It doesn’t mean that the government is necessarily better at providing these services, it just means that the government can provide a means to shore up the gray areas often encountered in a market economy.

    The faith generally placed in business around here is astonishingly short sighted. It’s akin to throwing a baby out with the bathwater.

    It doesn’t come down to theft. It comes down to priorities, and in the human realm, priorities differ.

    Fortunately, you are allowed to influence people to change their priorities, but that requires much more effort than simply moaning about it on Hit & Run.

    I would be much more convinced that you actually believed that taxation was theft if you were doing more about it. Thus far, the evidence leans more towards it being little more than a disgruntled, emotional plea.

  131. Yeah, I suppose Barack “stepped in it” when he mentioned spreading the wealth around. I’m voting for the guy, so I’m naturally inclined to play down the idea that Barack’s a socialist at heart, but it’s probably true. I don’t care, I’m voting for him anyway. I’d rather spend 2009 criticizing a President Obama than building a fallout shelter or moving to Canada or god knows what will happen if we don’t vote out the neocons. I’m much more confident that he’s a pragmatist and a consensus builder at heart than a socialist. And you would have a really hard time convincing me or any typical economic conservative that it was a good idea for Bush to cut taxes at a time of war and that it’s a bad idea to roll back those tax cuts. J the P worrying about Barack raising his taxes is legitimate, I suppose, if he’s living in a bubble. But seriously, if I was in his position, I’d be worried about a LOT more than what was going to happen to my marginal income above $200,000. I WISH I had Joe’s problems.

    You’d have to be intellectually dishonest to say that over the past 8-15 years our manufacturing base has not eroded, the middle class has not been squeezed, and that the tax changes Obama has proposed will not help ameliorate this condition even a little bit and will in fact hurt it. You’d be disagreeing with a majority of economists.

    Of course, to get at the root of our economic problems you have to look at our trade and monetary policies more than our tax policies, but it’s a start.

  132. Famous Mortimer:

    Wow. I am disappointed. I was hoping, given your earlier posts, that you would have a much more coherent and insightful response. What I got, instead, was the same tired generalities one could get by listening to a high school social studies teacher.

    Arguing that “It’s a democracy” is hardly a moral justification. How much say does one voter really have in a democracy? And of course, does that make anything the majority votes for okay? Withholding makes taxation okay because you don’t really “see” the income?

    Surely you have a better argument than THAT.

    Even the least interfered with market systems will periodically face a market collapse. Therefore, assuming that the most appropriate response to this reality is “tough shit,” it does not qualify as a reasonable response to most human beings. Having SOME socialism can help alleviate those realities, which overall, can lead to a much more functional society.

    One of your few coherent points. I think the libertarian response is not so much “tough shit”, but that people are capable of forming their own support networks that they buy into with their own money. Voluntary associations, sort of like the old fraternal orders. Or insurance, for example, which has the express purpose of sharing risk. I’d like to see someone invent a non-profit “insurance union”, so that risks and costs get pooled among those who buy into it.

    I feel that it would be detrimental to erase S.S., and most of the public agrees with me.

    Because everyone likes free money. There are a couple problems with government-run social insurance (including health care and social security). Beyond being involuntary. First, the benefits of any such program are bound to continually expand because people will vote for as much free stuff as they can get. Secondly, the costs are displaced from the person receving the benefits, so he has no incentive not to vote that way. Eventually, that gets translated into defecit spending, since at some point it becomes impossible to raise more money from the insurance premiums themselves. But people keep voting for more. Ultimately, the government runs out of money and has to borrow.

  133. You can’t honestly tell me that a guy who’s working a McJob to pay the bills on some shitty basement apartment has the same interests, socially and economically speaking, as a guy who makes a quarter million dollars a year.

    Can you?

    They both want pussy (let’s simplify and assume they’re both straight). So they have the same interests, but different means of trying to get it.

  134. It’s worthwhile to actually read the quote, rather than taking Republican shills’ word for it about what Barack Obama was saying.

    “My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody. If you’ve got a plumbing business, you’re gonna be better off if you’re gonna be better off if you’ve got a whole bunch of customers who can afford to hire you, and right now everybody’s so pinched that business is bad for everybody and I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

    Having a stronger economy, one where you have more customers, is not redistribution.

  135. They both want pussy (let’s simplify and assume they’re both straight). So they have the same interests, but different means of trying to get it.

    LOL. I suppose the also want to avoid getting typhoid. Sure, they share some interests. Just not many.

    Having a stronger economy, one where you have more customers, is not redistribution.

    Well, uh, yeah it is, when the strengthener is introduced via a graduated tax. It’s just demand-side redistribution, which has the effect of creating more solvent customers.

    A tiger is a cat, and a domestic cat is a cat. There are a lot of differences between them…but they are still both cats.

  136. this whole Joe windstorm has exposed just how precious little folks know about finances and taxes in general.

    And if “we” collectively had a lick of sense, we would be demanding that our overlords simplify the tax code, and stop using the tax code for social engineering, and to reward their special friends.

    After that, we can work on the education system, and require the inclusion of logic and economics in the curriculum.

    I’ll be here, building a corral for my pony.

  137. I see Famous Mortimer’s using his “it’s democracy so it’s okay” schtick. I would argue that all government is, to some extent, immoral. However, I also think some government is necessary to prevent greater evils, since in an anarchic we will usually end up with rule by the most effective thugs. That said, government should be kept limited to essential functions, such as defense and policing. Taxation should be based on a realistic assessment of the benefits individuals enjoy. The test for whether to fund an activity through taxes should always be: If they would pay for that benefit voluntarily if offered on a fee-for-service basis with all benefits and costs internalized, without inflicting an uncompensated harm on any third parties, then it may be funded by government through taxes.

    joe,
    Obama’s using some fuzzy reasoning here, since he doesn’t specify where the wealth is coming from. If the government takes a dollar from me and gives it to one of my customers and the customer then pays me a dollar for a widget, I’m none the better off, I’m just out a widget. Or Obama’s saying the “wealth” will come from someone besides JTP, in which case you have a similar problem, only more concentrated. Redistribution is redistribution, no matter what faulty reasoning one uses to justify it.

  138. You don’t treat blood loss by removing some of the patients blood from one artery and transferring it to another.

  139. LOL, this is rich!

    Sen. Obama says he wants to increase taxes on every business with revenues in excess of $250,000 and follows it up with “to spread the wealth around” to a plumber HE picked out to talk to.

    Somehow the plumber is made out by the Leftoids to be “confused” about gross and net, plus gets accused of being a McCain plant.

    Love the business about how the already over-taxed guy might be behind on his taxes too.

  140. P Brooks,
    You raise an interesting point about education. However, I would suggest that we should be careful about what we “require” in the curriculum. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, and students with incomplete educcation in logic and economics could make some boneheaded decisions in the voting booth.

    Then again, they already did, and currently do, so I guess it can’t do any more harm.

  141. Forgot to add my the gratuitous TNR comment that one not even need to read the article to know it was Fairbanksed.

  142. As both a worker and an owner of capital, I can say with some certainty that both sides want pussy. And to not get typhoid.

  143. One thing that (please forgive if I’m wrong) didn’t come up in the exchange between Hazel and Elemenope was the concept of capital. Capital doesn’t just direct labor. It also increases its value. Try making shoes by hand versus making shoes in a factory. This capital generally represents the invested wealth of investors. In most industrial societies (though not all) the majority of this invested wealth is the unspent product of their own labor (as when a worker buys stock in a company). Therefore, when talking about the moral rights of labor vs. capital, it is important to note that 1. Capital does, in fact, increase the product of labor and 2. The owners of capital generally have a legitimate claim to it. Now, of course, some gain the wealth they invest by force and political pull, but this is besides my present point, which details the idea of capital and labor in an ideal libertarian society.

  144. students with incomplete educcation in logic and economics could make some boneheaded decisions in the voting booth.

    They could even, you know, award the Nobel Prize for Economics to somebody like Paul Krugman. [sorry- I couldn’t help m’self]

  145. “My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody. If you’ve got a plumbing business, you’re gonna be better off if you’re gonna be better off if you’ve got a whole bunch of customers who can afford to hire you, and right now everybody’s so pinched that business is bad for everybody and I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

    Shorter Obama: We can tax our way to prosperity.

  146. P Brooks,
    In their defense, Krugman actually did some legit work for that prize. His columns are shite, but that doesn’t make him an idiot, just biased. When he’s talking about economics from a positive rather than normative standpoint, he can be quite lucid.

  147. Gilbert Martin,
    Obama logic 2+2=5 if one of the 2s is taken away from the person who earned it and given to someone else.

    McCain logic: If most of them say they want us to leave, that really means that they will all die if we leave.

  148. Barr logic: I can say whatever I want, because I’m not going to win anyway.

  149. My logic: Just because I’m drinking at 10:19 in the morning doesn’t make me an alcoholic.

  150. economist,

    If the government takes a dollar from me and gives it to one of my customers..

    That’s the thing: he’s not talking about taking dollars from you to give to your customers.

    He’s talking about collecting taxes to pay for the workings of government. All he is talking about “giving” to your customers in that exchange is tax cuts, which are usually not considered as redistribution.

  151. economist: I agree, but… trying to get around the Marxist logic here. The Marxist response would be that the capitalist is merely buying the factory and the tools from workers that produce them. Hence it’s all still “surplus value”.

    My point is that the market value of commodities is not set by magic or fiat, its a reflection of consumers desires. The capitalist is providing the added value of satisfying real desires. Or: Consumers are paying him for making sure they get what they want instead of whatever someone else may choose to produce.

    That’s why Marxist based systems always end up with shortages of consumer goods and central control. Wihout the price mechanism, production gets out of wack and the government has to step in to tell people what to do. And nobody bothers to think about whether people want blue jeans or miniskirts in any given year, cause they are more interested in making sure the factory workers churning out tennis shoes are getting paid for their “labor value”.

  152. TNR is way behind. Hit and Run has had anti-joe crusades for years!

  153. joe,
    tax cuts for one group can be, for practical purposes, a form of redistribution if they are paid for raising taxes on other groups. Really, you can do better than that.

  154. Note: I am not bashing tax cuts at all. But screwing some people over less by screwing others over more doesn’t count.

  155. I was otherwise engaged.

    Twisted Nerve | October 16, 2008, 7:40pm | #
    Neu Mexican,

    “Person 1: I already pay enough taxes. Pinko plan A would raise MY taxes.
    Person 2: No it wouldn’t, it would lower them.”

    Person 1: But to pay for the lowering of my taxes, you want to take money for (sic) someone else, I call that stealing, If I were to take money from someone else at the point of a gun, that would be a crime, but If I get the govenrmet to do it for me, somehow thats “fairness”.

    It seems Person 2 cleared up the misunderstanding on Person 1’s part. Person 1 is not working with correct information and we can discuss the implications of the plan based on a mutual understanding of the details.

    Person 2: Both you and Person 3 are paying into the same pot which benefits everyone. Obama’s plan recognizes the fact that the current system does not fairly distribute the burden of providing these benefits and would like to re-calibrate that system. He feels that you and other people like you have been paying more than your share while people with greater resources have been paying less. He is trying to reduce the degree of theft (as you describe it)…not increase it.

  156. Person 1 is NOW working with correct information.

  157. I agree, for what it’s worth, with “Economist.” If you tax Peter for the purpose of paying for a taxcut to Paul, of course it is redistribution. Note that Obama himself characterized it as “spreading the wealth.”

    Someone once defined “gaffe” as “an unplanned emission of truth.” In that sense, this was a gaffe.

  158. How dare one question the all-powerful and all-knowing OBAMA!!!

    He shall smite you down with his hammer and sickle and unleash his minions upon thee as they drag you down into nutrootz land.

  159. Showing just how much of an ignorant and arrogant snot he can be joe said,

    Oh, look, another Republican fake everyman blows up in their face.

    Funny how that keeps happening.

    First off it is disgusting watching obama’s campaign staff smear the guy for asking a question. All in a rather pathetic to deflect attention away from the answer obama gave.

    Furthermore, if the media vetted obama, his associates, and his campaign staff with the same vigor they vetted Joe the plumber the resulting explosion from his associates blowing up in Obama’s face could end life on earth as we know it.

    But the media is acting as a wholly owned subsidiary of the obama campaign so there is no threat of that vetting being done.

    Shouldn’t We Be More Worried About Obama’s Campaign Treasurer’s Tax Lien?

    I wonder if she feels the same way about Obama’s campaign treasurer, Martin Nesbitt, who has a $2,411 tax lien from the state of California.

    Think about it. In 24 hours, we’ve learned more unflattering details about a guy who asked Obama a question and walked away unpersuaded than almost any of his campaign staff or associates.

  160. sliming-joe.

    What the left doesn’t understand is that Joe’s personal background doesn’t matter at all. What matters is Obama’s answer.

    As Ed Morrissey describes what we’ve learned from this revealing episode,

    1. Thou shalt not offend The One by asking him a question. Of any kind.

    2. Anyone who questions The One will have to undergo a public pillorying of a kind unseen since the Red Scare, or perhaps the Inquisition.

    3. The Tanning-Bed Media will happily participate in any inquisition, as long as it keeps them from investigating irrelevant issues like Obama’s ties to the Chicago Machine, William Ayers, ACORN, ….

  161. Thou may asketh the one questions about how he became so great and wise, why anyone would ever oppose him, and what is the meaning of life, provided thou doth not sound at all accusatory or sarcastic.

  162. “The One” should be capitalized. I shall punish myself for my error by flogging myself at the altar of The One and saying a thousand prayers for His forgiveness.

  163. The High Priest of That-Greatest-of-Names- Which-I-Am-Not-Worthy-to-Utter, has flogged himself to death.

  164. And from now on, I want all direct quotations from me to be written in red.

  165. “How much say does one voter really have in a democracy? And of course, does that make anything the majority votes for okay? Withholding makes taxation okay because you don’t really “see” the income?”

    Of course not. For the most part, inalienable rights are laid out pretty clearly in the Constitution, with some varying interpretations. However, we have elections where the majority is allowed to vote for a candidate based on his, her, or it’s platform.

    Freedom from taxation is not an inalienable right. The subject is merely an ongoing debate over the the exact meaning of the phrase “the general welfare” in relation to taxation.

    However you would like to interpret that phrase, at the very least, the Constitution does not deny the institution of welfare programs.

    Again, you can certainly complain about the way in which taxes are being spent, but it doesn’t mean that it has to be defined as a matter of “theft,” which, as I have said before, is little more than an appeal to emotion.

    “Surely you have a better argument than THAT.”

    I doubt that any argument I could provide would be deemed a sufficient argument by anyone who seeks to end all types of welfare.

    “One of your few coherent points. I think the libertarian response is not so much “tough shit”, but that people are capable of forming their own support networks that they buy into with their own money.”

    They can “think” that all they want. It’s a paper tiger. Thinking about it doesn’t make it a foregone conclusion.

    I understand what Libertarians think the general public will do in the absence of any safety net, but I do not believe that the public will be able, or willing to provide those safety nets in a sufficient manner.

    At this point, you are merely advocating ideas, and not sound evidence that such ideas will be successfully employed. Personally, I’m not interested in yet another social experiment, which this time will be instituted by Conservatives. I’m looking for some middle ground, with a primary interest in civil liberties.

    For the record, the New Deal did not result in Communism. It’s an invalid slippery slope argument that is the lifeblood of virtually any strain of conservatism.

    “Voluntary associations, sort of like the old fraternal orders. Or insurance, for example, which has the express purpose of sharing risk. I’d like to see someone invent a non-profit “insurance union”, so that risks and costs get pooled among those who buy into it.”

    I’m all for such experiments, but not in the absence of anything else. If those experiments result in promising results, then we can talk, but at this point Libertarians expect us to take much of this on faith, which I see as nothing more than a backhanded appeasement derived from an overall disinterest in societal problems.

    The attitude seems to be that whatever chaos might ensue from this strict notion of Libertarianism, it’s nothing that a fence, and some ammunition can’t solve.

    Have you seen the comments on this forum? The disdain that many Libertarians have expressed in regards to the poor is hardly veiled. After reading these comments, you would think that poverty is some kind of moral failing to them, which it probably is. So, I choose to remain skeptical of any Libertarian argument that attempts to frame the results of their initiatives in an entirely positive light.

    “Because everyone likes free money.”

    What a truly horrible simplification of human nature. The money that people receive from any kind of welfare grant is hardly something to get excited over; not to mention the noted impact that it can have on one’s self-image.

    There are more reasons that people are poor, or become poor than the simple expectation of free money, or outright laziness. Refusing to acknowledge this basic reality is, again, intellectually dishonest. It’s a rampant problem in Libertarian discussion forums because the “taxes are theft” mantra is felt to be water tight by so many Libertarians.

    When the gray areas are broached, they are left to try and improvise a positive result, or merely express disgust over the person’s “statist” beliefs.

    In the end, you have to try and convince someone that they should, or should not care about providing at least some safety nets as an elected cost of living in a civilized country.

    Thus far, Libertarians, as well as Republicans have not been able to sway the public to abandon all interest in allowing it to continue.

  166. “Then again, they already did, and currently do, so I guess it can’t do any more harm.”

    Yes, while those who “believe” that thy have a complete education on economics and logic spend their time sharking about it on Hit & Run while under the influence.

    After all, if people don’t come to the same conclusions that you do about certain matters in life, or believe the same things that you do about certain matters in life, then their education on those topics must be incomplete.

    Who are the elites again?

  167. This is getting even funnier.

    Some ‘professional’ media type spews the nonsense that the McCain campaign should have “vetted” this plumber employee ‘better’, LOL!

    For those missing the funny there, it is the ultimate in nannyism “not my fault, you should have stopped this from happening” crap that the Left continues to shove at everybody else.

    Do these people calling for McCain to “vett” every single person who might ask Sen. Obama a question, FROM THEIR OWN PROPERTY (oops, private property, bad concept for Leftoids) have any idea how moronic they sound to normal people?

    But wait, there is more! Somehow a $1200 tax lein, on a guy who is taxed over his hears anyway and asking to please not have his taxes raised any more, is “evidence” that this fellow is omehow of bad character? Nice! Sounds a little like that badly disguised notion that income belongs to the government and the earners are allowed to keep what they “need”.

    OMG! He does not even have a plumber’s license, even though he is not required to have one in his current employee capacity! Better send in the SWAT team! Remember, unwashed masses, one should not work anyplace without a license unless you are in the country illegally.

    Sen. Obama declares he wants a tax on all revenues over $250,000. That gets translated (by Sen. Biden, and others) into the man declaring that he makes over $250,000 already. BTW, *if* any plumbers do live in Sen. Bidens’ neighborhood, they probably do clear over $250,000.

    ROFLMAO, the world of the Leftoid is better than watching the Marx Brothers.

  168. TJIT: “the media is acting as a wholly owned subsidiary of the obama campaign”
    This is as incorrect as saying “Punch” wholly owned “Judy” in the famous French puppet show.

    The hawk only eats the rabbits that don’t look up.

  169. Morty: “”the general welfare”

    welfare programs.”

    That’s called the fallacy of equivocation.

    Liberal Socialists are supposed to be smart. That means no fallacious reasoning. What happened here?

    Is there any liberal socialist alive or dead who can prove “justice for all”? Don’t forget to justify the cost to the tax PAYER.

    “Justice”?? “Just US”.

  170. Morty: “”theft,” which, as I have said before, is little more than an appeal to emotion.”

    So you DO know what fallacies are!

    Unfortunately, you need to cast the beam out of your own eye. That taxation is theft is a matter of definition, not opinion:

    Theft … “the crime of taking the property or services of another without consent”

    If you donate part of your set of resources to {whatever}, it’s not theft. But you have never been granted the Right to take the same from me. Sorry, it’s hard living Free, but it’s the only choice we can ALL live with fairly.

    Our forced compliance with your fallacious socialist schemes is more a matter of the fact We the People have been disarmed (in an intellectual sense much more than in a material sense) than of any semblance of “fairness” on the socialists part.

  171. Morty: “safety nets in a sufficient manner”

    ???

    And who, O Famous One, gets to decide what is “sufficient”???

    You??

    You have already wasted not a micronewton to demonstrate your adoration for fallacious statements.

    You are therefore hardly to be trusted in your opinion of “sufficiency”.

    Sorry. You’re not a bad person, you’ve just been programmed by very bad people. We’re still happy to make sure you are free to express yourself, though. And most of us will be happy to help you get through your cognitive dissonance issues. It’s just that there’s no law that says we have to believe you, nor your programmers, the socialists.

  172. By the way, I am concerned observer.

  173. Okay I know it’s unlikely anyone will read this, but “Famous Mortimer” really needs to get his head out of his own butthole.

    “We can try such experiments, but not in the absence of something else. If they work, then we can talk.”

    No, because our experiments don’t involve forcing people to be involved in them. Your socialist “experiments”, however, force people’s involvement whether they consent or not. If anyone’s argument should be regarded with suspicion, it should be the one who would coerce everyone else into following his idea. The burden of proof should be on those who favor government intervention ie government force.

    Btw, Im not really a libertarian. I favor government provision of infrastructure,public education, and even a limited taxpayer-funded safety. I think that there are other considerations, like practicality and basic decency, that can override individual rights in certain limited cases (although I do believe that in all cases individual rights should receive primary consideration and can only be overridden by overwhelming necessity in the two aforementioned areas).

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