Thursday, October 16, 2008

Liberals: Plumbers aren't people who fix pipes

This is just priceless. 

Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden is charging that Joe the Plumber is not a plumber.  And surely a guy who spends so much time at Home Depot knows a plumber when he sees one.

Why isn't Joe a plumber?  Well, just flip over to today's New York Times.  Joe is not a plumber, it turns out, because a) he's not licensed by the government; and b) he isn't in a union.

In Liberaldom, apparently, fixing pipes is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for being a plumber, whereas having a government license and being a union member is.

Oh, and then there's the matter of back taxes.  Joe owes some.  Proof positive, if we didn't have it before, that Joe is not a plumber.

If this reasoning doesn't make sense to you, it will after Nov. 4, when these people take over.

22 comments:

dean said...

leave it to these people to make the issue out to be whether the guy is or isn't a plumber (his name also isn't really "joe".. why aren't they all over that one too?)

the issue here is that the guy is getting ready to purchase the company, making him a small business owner who is going to have his taxes raised under an obama presidency. has nothing to do with whether or not he's a licensed plumber... but the liberals want to bury the real issue under a bunch of meaningless rhetoric.

also, why are they all hot and bothered about him being behind on his taxes (which he has no choice about paying), when they are bound and determined to bankrupt our country bailing out folks who are behind on their mortgages and credit card payments... debt they voluntarily took on?

smoke and mirrors.

Anonymous said...

Uh, I think it is you people making a big deal over the plumber label. As dean points out, he is/will be a small business owner, not what most people think of as a plumber.

And it is Mr Cothran's logic, not that of the NYT, which makes the claim:"Oh, and then there's the matter of back taxes. Joe owes some. Proof positive, if we didn't have it before, that Joe is not a plumber."

The liberals' point is, I believe, that if this gentleman is making $250,00 to $280,00 a year (not sure if that is what the article meant), he is not a typical middle class worker. [This may be chump change to Mr Cothran and friends, but it isn't to most working Americans.]

jah

dean said...

anonymous...
most working americans, whatever their income, and including myself, should be grateful that there are business owners who make that kind of money (and yes, it is chump change compared to a lot of other small businesses in this country) so that they can make payroll for us middle class workers.

you don't have to be a very large business at all to bring in that kind of money. rush limbaugh gave a pretty extensive rundown of the earnings a business must have in order to be considered a small business by the SBA. most are well over the $250,000 threshold, and well into the millions for many.

the media, and biden, are needling at this in order to discredit the guy, and to distract the public from the real issue, which is that obama wants to raise taxes on the people who employ a good chuck of the american workforce. those extra costs will either be passed along to consumers in price increases, or affect american workers through layoffs, deferred hiring or deferred raises.

whether the guy is a licensed plumber has nothing to do with any of those issues, which is why they're making a federal case out of it.

Anonymous said...

How much does Charlie Rangel owe Uncle Sam? He writes the tax code for goodness sake and the New York Times worries about a Ohio plumber's thousand dollar tax lien?

Anonymous said...

dean: obama wants to raise taxes on the people who employ a good chuck of the american workforce. those extra costs will either be passed along to consumers in price increases, or affect american workers through layoffs, deferred hiring or deferred raises.

So, no taxes is good taxes? Is there any level of taxes which will not cause these problems? I'm not sure what dean's point is. If we shouldn't raise taxes on rich people, should we lower them even more? Should we cut spending or keep borrowing and let our kids and grandkids pay for everything?

jah

dean said...

we've already got the second highest corporate tax rate in the world. i'm all for cutting spending, starting with earmarks. as for taxes in general, i'm good with either a flat tax or the fair tax. right now we have a tax code so massive and complex, you'd be hard pressed to get 2 IRS employees to give you the same answer to a question.

the thing that bothers me more than senator obama wanting to raise small business taxes, is his whole wealth redistribution philosphy... the basis of socialism.

"joe the plumber" got obama to admit to it publicy, and now he's being hounded unmercifully over minute details of his life that have nothing to do with any of that.

Anonymous said...

Taxes are a pretty complicated topic, which I do not know enough about to discuss properly. I think we can all agree that the current system is needlessly complicated.

The issue of fairness is another topic. I assume those who want flat taxes (why not a really flat tax - say 1 person, 1 votes, 1 $15,000 tax due?) would be willing to get rid of rich subsidies such as no sales tax when buying lots of gold coins (tax is due in some places if you only buy a few), no sales tax on stocks, mortgage deductions on 2 houses, etc. Not to mention corporate tax subsidies - such as government paying more to build roads for timber companies than we get in fees (neglecting the value of the timber), etc.

But I suppose that yes, I feel that rich people should pay a higher tax rate. There are a lot of reasons for this.

jah

Martin Cothran said...

Jah,

I feel that rich people should pay a higher tax rate. There are a lot of reasons for this.

I'd love to hear them.

Lee said...

> Uh, I think it is you people making a big deal over the plumber label. As dean points out, he is/will be a small business owner, not what most people think of as a plumber.

What would be the upward path for a plumber looking to better his lot in the economic world, if not some hope of owning a business?

> The liberals' point is, I believe, that if this gentleman is making $250,00 to $280,00 a year (not sure if that is what the article meant), he is not a typical middle class worker.

Generally, people who earn that kind of money as small businessmen take on quite a little bit of liability and risk, and provide jobs for other people. The people they hire get paid whether the business makes money or not.

We are seeing, played out in the news media, the liberal attitude toward people who stick their necks out like that.

> The liberals' point is, I believe, that if this gentleman is making $250,00 to $280,00 a year (not sure if that is what the article meant), he is not a typical middle class worker.

No, but he may be the typical employer of middle class people. If you make it too hard for people like him, middle class people may go unemployed.

Lee said...

> Taxes are a pretty complicated topic, which I do not know enough about to discuss properly.

But if you agree with Obama, you already know that the tax code is mainly about fairness. Wherever that is written down. Oh, sorry, forgot... Of course, The One knows all about fairness. He's a primary source on the subject.

> But I suppose that yes, I feel that rich people should pay a higher tax rate. There are a lot of reasons for this.

So what is the fair rate? Is there a logical demarcation between a fair and an unfair rate? Where? In England in the 1960s, the top tax rate was 95%. That is not a misprint. If 95% was too high, it wasn't intuitively obvious to Parliament. At least not until all their productive people moved to the U.S.

There were at least two songs written in protest over that tax rate: "Tax Man" by the Beatles, and "Sunday Afternoon" by the Kinks.

Tax Man: Let me tell you how it will be/There's one for you, nineteen for me/And if you think your take's too small/Be grateful I don't take it all/'Cause I'm the Tax Man....

Sunday Afternoon: The tax man's taken all my dough/And left me in my stately home/Lazin' on a sunny afternoon/And I can't sail my yacht/He's taken everything I've got/All I've left's this sunny afternoon./Save me save me save me won't you please?/I got a big fat momma trying to break me....

Most of the Beatles solved the problem by moving to the U.S. John Lennon was an avowed socialist, but as Conquest's Laws stipulate, everyone is conservative about the things they know. Mr. John "Socialist" Lennon died with about $160 million in the bank. He wasn't quite socialist enough to have kept all but about $8 million and gladly remitted the rest to the Crown.

The times may change, but people don't. I just betcha that millionaire Obama has more money than Joe the Plumber. I just betcha that after his stint as president, Obama will be worth even more. Only Republicans are greedy; Democrats are successful. Ain't characterization a wonderful thing?

Personally, I think the Equal Protection clause makes the graduated rate tax unconstitutional. If government takes 40% of my income and 50% of Joe the Plumber's, we're not getting equal protection.

But the bottom line is that for rich people, taxes are optional. If you raise the rates on them to the point where they feel the risks of enterprise outweigh the rewards, they will take their money and go home.

Why don't liberals understand this?

Anonymous said...

I need to know more about how you people think (and yes, I know I got criticized the last time I suggested that different people might think differently).

Why do we pay taxes?
Why do we have a government at all?
The answers to these questions determine what sort of tax system we should have.

I suggest that two of the purposes of government are to provide education and defense against other countries. [That gives you people the opportunity to complain about the socialistic/leftist/criminal liberal aspects of having public grammar schools.]

So let's consider defense first. How much does it cost to defend our country per person? Does it cost more for a rich family than a middle class or poor family? I don't think there is much difference. Then let's just assess everyone a self defense tax, say $1000 per person per year. [If you can't pay it, you go to debtor's prison or get kicked out of the country.] That's a real flat tax. So why should people pay a percentage of their income rather than a flat per unit cost of whatever the government provides?

Likewise, should governments pay for schools? If so, have a similar fee; if not, then what other functions should a government provide? Again just make everyone pay for what resources or services they get.

My impression is that many conservatives are mightily offended that some citizen might get something from the government which they haven't paid for. For whatever inherent reasons, I just feel that societies should help the less fortunate.

Some people obviously don't have such sentiments. I don't understand how so many people can feel abortion should be outlawed on moral grounds yet feel no compunction to help the resultant kids who are born into poor, uneducated, irresponsible, and/or abusive households. Many people claim the U.S. is a "Christian" nation, yet are vehemently opposed to having that nation take on the Christian virtue of helping the needy.

I'm thankful I was born here and not in poverty and in some other third world country. But that is just my luck; I did nothing to deserve that. So I can't look down on the less fortunate and blame them all for misfortune.

That should be enough for now to get you guys frothing.

jah

Anonymous said...

dean: we've already got the second highest corporate tax rate in the world.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/08/12/MNC4129OFL.DTL

About two-thirds of U.S. companies and foreign firms doing business in this country paid no federal income taxes from 1998 to 2005, according to a study by the Government Accountability Office.


jah

Anonymous said...

lee: If you raise the rates on them to the point where they feel the risks of enterprise outweigh the rewards, they will take their money and go home.

Why don't liberals understand this?


I must be a real liberal. Would I rather pay $10,000 taxes on income of $40,000 or $2,000,000 on income of $4,000,000? Hmm, I might just choose the higher tax rate.

jah

jah

Lee said...

> I must be a real liberal. Would I rather pay $10,000 taxes on income of $40,000 or $2,000,000 on income of $4,000,000? Hmm, I might just choose the higher tax rate.

It's a question of options, big guy. It's the tax on the last dollar earned that's decisive on how a person chooses to behave with his money. For a rich person, the amount of money that shows up as income on your books is largely optional. Not too many wage slaves at that level of income.

In your example, what other options would have been available to you?

You have to trade off risk against reward. Did you make your $4 mil in equity? If so, then you had to weigh that against what you could have made in municipal bonds, which are tax-free and not risky. If you make 5% tax free, you might be better off than if you made 12% in equity with the tax liability and fees. That's something you had to consider.

What if you had netted your $2 mil take-home in municipal bonds? Under what conditions would you be willing to risk your money in stocks? In a good stock market, you might be tempted to enter if you could make 12% with a reasonable risk. But the tax bill you are liable to incur becomes a part of your decision-making. If the top rate is 50%, that might deter you -- whereas if it is only 30%, the rewards may outweigh the risks.

This is why every capital-gains tax rate cut in recent years has netted the IRS more revenue, not less, and why liberals keep scratching their heads in denial, not understanding, or pretending not to understand. (I can't figure out which.) Lower tax rates lure more money out of tax shelters and into the productive sector.

If on the other hand you earned you $4 mil as a businessman, and taxes and liabilities continue to rise, every year you are faced with a decision: continue to operate? Or sell out, take the money, and run? As long as risks and overhead are low enough, you may be tempted to stay in another year. When they become too great, you cash out. Tax rates affect these decisions, too. As tax rates increase under Obama, expect higher unemployment as these scenarios play out.

Liberals like to pretend that people operate in an incentive-free vacuum. Rich people aren't rich because they're stupid. They know an incentive, or a disincentive, when they see one.

Anonymous said...

I knew I shouldn't have posted that response to lee. The real question I wanted to address was what sort of basic tax structure should exist. People here seem to want a flat percentage. I proposed a true flat tax. Until I have some idea of what you people think of government, society, and purpose of taxes, I can't really address the question since we don't have enough in common to understand one another.

I guess the only opinion I have on this side issue is: If all these businessmen are so distressed by overtaxation and regulation, they should just move to nice unregulated, low tax countries such as China and Russia. There they will have the ideal environment to engage in whatever money making behavior they wish.

jah

Lee said...

> I knew I shouldn't have posted that response to lee.

Well, gee, it's nice discussing things with you, too.

> I guess the only opinion I have on this side issue is: If all these businessmen are so distressed by overtaxation and regulation, they should just move to nice unregulated, low tax countries such as China and Russia.

All things come full circle, or so they say. We have just witnessed the "America -- Love it or leave it" argument posed from the liberal side of the aisle. It's the first time I've ever heard anyone but an ultra-right winger use it.

Congratulations, jah. Robert Welch would be proud of you.

And my answer is the same answer that liberals used to give: I love America and want it to become a better place.

Anonymous said...

lee: Well, gee, it's nice discussing things with you, too.


It's a side issue which has apparently detracted from the original why are progressive taxes reasonable question which was asked of me and to which no one has responded.


lee: All things come full circle, or so they say. We have just witnessed the "America -- Love it or leave it" argument posed from the liberal side of the aisle.

Lee, you were the one who repeatedly has stated that all the rich people would take their money and run under ruinous taxation and regulation. I merely pointed out that there are locales more amenable to such philosophies. More than your leaving, I do wish you would actually read and try to understand and respond to my comments, but that is as likely as your ever finding president who isn't too far to the left.

jah

PS I'm not registered as a Democrat.

Lee said...

> It's a side issue which has apparently detracted from the original why are progressive taxes reasonable question which was asked of me and to which no one has responded.

The entire set of responses in this thread, including yours, are a side issue, considering that the original post was about Joe the Plumber. I have no problem with that, personally. I was just rolling with it.

> Lee, you were the one who repeatedly has stated that all the rich people would take their money and run under ruinous taxation and regulation.

This is because I believe that most people, most of the time, will tend to behave in a manner which they believe will help their financial situation. Not all people. Not all of the time. Most people, most of the time. That's certainly true of me. If stocks are tanking, I want to be out of that market. If stocks are rising, I want to be in. If someone offers me a job with a 20% increase in pay, I'm likely to seriously consider it. I think most people are like me in this regard.

And so, if the people shrewd enough to have amassed and/or maintained a fortune are presented a scenario in which the risks of loss are at least the same, but the benefits of a gain have decreased due to taxes, they are going to tend to reconsider their options. I would. I'm guessing you would, too. But maybe you're not "most people."

For the sake of argument, I have granted the "fairness" perspective a stay. Maybe you are right that in terms of being fair, "rich people should pay a higher tax rate." It isn't written in the Bible, but maybe John Rawls said it and therefore it is holy scripture for liberals. Fine. I will concede it for the sake of argument.

All I am doing is pointing out that "fairness" has costs, and most of those costs will be paid by the very people the "fairness" is designed to help -- and therefore, in practical terms, the "fairness" approach fails on its own terms. Maybe Barack Obama is willing, personally, to pay the cost of tax-rate "fairness", even if it means the rich dudes like him make less money but are still rich, while the lower middle class to whom he's bestowing all that "fairness" are now unemployed. Obama is a millionaire, he can afford fairness. But can the poor schlub who just got laid off in order to salve Obama's conscience?

> I merely pointed out that there are locales more amenable to such philosophies.

What's the matter with acknowledging that this locale is better in this regard than most, but pointing out it could be better yet?

> I do wish you would actually read and try to understand and respond to my comments...

I don't find your comments hard to read or to understand. When you said:

> "If all these businessmen are so distressed by overtaxation and regulation, they should just move to nice unregulated, low tax countries such as China and Russia."

...I parsed it as:

> "If all these businessmen are so distressed by overtaxation and regulation...[If they don't like it here]... they should just move to nice unregulated, low tax countries such as China and Russia... [they should leave]"

That's a perfectly reasonable interpretation of what you said. And it is so close to "America -- Love it or leave it," why, I couldn't resist.

> ...but that is as likely as your ever finding president who isn't too far to the left.

The sitting president, a Republican, just presided over the nationalization a large sector of the economy, while the Republican candidate for president helped him do it. The sitting president has, over the past eight years, presided over the largest budget expansion in history, with the largest growth of government in history, with the largest increase in entitlements in history.

It's hard to believe a Democrat could have, er, "accomplished" all that; he would have met too much resistance from... the Republicans, of all people.

So don't marvel at an old conservative like me being unhappy with the party that's is supposed to defend conservative values. If I had wanted all of that, I would have voted for Democrats.

Anonymous said...

lee: The entire set of responses in this thread, including yours, are a side issue, considering that the original post was about Joe the Plumber.

Yes, but MC specifically asked me a question. Knowing how frustrated I get when he fails to answer any of mine, especially when he says he is working on it and will post in a day or so, I felt that I should respond.

lee: But maybe you're not "most people."

That's exactly true. And I think that gives me a different perspective. Because I realize I do not think like most others, I appreciate that people can think differently. And it is my opinion that many other people, (especially some of those raised in very homogeneous environments) do not appreciate this. Therefore they conclude that anyone who disagrees with them must have ulterior motives. Thus scientists who devote their lives to research (often giving up higher paying jobs elsewhere) must be motivated by an evil conspiracy to destroy America or will say anything to get grant money. The option that they may seriously believe in what they do never seems to be considered.

lee: And it is so close to "America -- Love it or leave it," why, I couldn't resist.

I thought of that slogan too. the difference is, in the first case defenders of the status quo were suggesting the proponents of change leave whereas in the second it is more of suggesting that we must not change because it would cause other to leave, which to me sounded like fawning over the privileged so that they might deign to drop us a few of their crumbs.

lee: The sitting president, a Republican, just presided over the nationalization a large sector of the economy, while the Republican candidate for president helped him do it. The sitting president has, over the past eight years, presided over the largest budget expansion in history, with the largest growth of government in history, with the largest increase in entitlements in history.

It's hard to believe a Democrat could have, er, "accomplished" all that; he would have met too much resistance from... the Republicans, of all people.

--------
100% agreed. As a social liberal and fiscal conservative, my feelings about the sitting President should be easy to imagine.

jah



jah

Lee said...

> Because I realize I do not think like most others, I appreciate that people can think differently.

But you do see that most people, most of the time, will tend to behave in a manner that's best for their pocketbooks, don't you?

> And it is my opinion that many other people, (especially some of those raised in very homogeneous environments) do not appreciate this.

It's hard to respond when you don't know what "homogeneous" means in this context, or even what "appreciate" means.

> Therefore they conclude that anyone who disagrees with them must have ulterior motives.

I don't think one side has the monopoly on this. Tell you what: spend some time at a corporate course in political correctness. Then ask questions of the presenters that tend to question some of their assumptions. You'll see what I mean. It's always a fun day when you know that coming off as disagreeable (and, of course, a sexist or a racist by their definition) can cause your bosses to take note, but you also know that you have to say something or you won't be fighting the good fight.

> Thus scientists who devote their lives to research (often giving up higher paying jobs elsewhere) must be motivated by an evil conspiracy to destroy America or will say anything to get grant money.

Is it possible that a perspective can contribute harm to the country even if arrived at in good faith? I think that's pretty much the essence of political discord.

> The option that they may seriously believe in what they do never seems to be considered.

Sincerity is an overrated virtue. I'm sure the folks who brought the financial system down by forcing lenders to lend money to people who couldn 't afford thought they were doing a good thing, a la civil rights. A trillion dollars later, maybe they goofed.

> ...whereas in the second it is more of suggesting that we must not change because it would cause other to leave, which to me sounded like fawning over the privileged so that they might deign to drop us a few of their crumbs.

The "privileged", in this context, is a question-begging epithet. Someone may have worked very hard for that "privilege." They may have stuck their necks out on a shoestring and created a business that has given gainful employment to hundreds or thousands of people. They may be providing good or services that people rely on every day. But if one assumes they are "privileged" because they have a lot of money, then I guess they must deserve whatever Obama has in store, right? We have to spread the wealth around, after all.

Are you going to be one of the folks who stands by in shock and amazement when some of those "privileged" decide they are going to close up shop and retire with their net worth? Declining the privilege to pay more taxes?

> 100% agreed. As a social liberal and fiscal conservative, my feelings about the sitting President should be easy to imagine.

Don't know enough about you to agree or disagree. Only want to point out that someone is not really a fiscal conservative if he doesn't believe in spending less money, but only believes that it spending lots of money should be financed by direct taxation rather than reductions in spending. Just thought I'd point that out.

Anonymous said...

I guess the interesting thing I learned from this is that I am more bothered by how government money is spent/wasted/stolen than how it is collected.

jah

Lee said...

If I were new to Earth and only knew what liberals said and did not know their track record, I would expect someone who espouses liberal principles to oppose a government authority with the power to invade people's privacy the way the IRS does. I'm not sure why anyone thinks the government has a right to know how you or I earn our money.

But I am not new to Earth, and I think I know liberals pretty well. Liberals have no objections to invasions of privacy, per se, but only to those invasions of privacy that stand in the way of their agenda. When someone's cell phone is tapped because they were called from overseas by a suspected terrorist, for example, that's bad. But when the IRS starts digging into my income records, that's necesary in order to raise the money that allows liberals to play God with society.