Thursday, October 16, 2008

Down the drain

Maybe we shouldn't have been wasting our time last night, listening to McCain and Obama accusing each other of being big spenders when we should have gone straight to the one expert who seems to agree with John's tax proposal. I don't mean some PhD economist or tax law expert or even a CPA; I'm talking of course, about Joe the Plumber, the fellow whose concerns about Obama's tax proposal has made him one of the most well known men -- and certainly the best known plumber on the planet at the moment. If that notoriety alone doesn't translate into financial success for Joe, it will be only because he'd rather not be in a higher tax bracket.

According to Joe Wurtzelberger, a progressive tax structure is Robin Hood socialism and John McCain seems to agree. I particularly liked his oily sneer when he repeated his "spread the wealth around" formula, but I wonder how that meshes with the spreading around of wealth inherent in supply side economics. It's only the direction of the trickle that differs after all, not the redistribution.

Of course Joe seems to have misunderstand what the differences are, and who can blame him? Like all of us he's been bombarded with ugly stereotypes of tax and spend liberals all his life and to be fair, it's complicated, but Joe is wrong. If he buys a business that grosses more than $250,000, he will not be propelled into a higher tax bracket by that fact alone. Surely Joe understands the difference between gross and net and knows about all the expenses and other deductions available. It's very unlikely that the business would net that much and therefore be subject to a tax increase of any kind. It's not very nice of his "Buddy" John not to have explained that to his "best buddy."

For one thing Obama's plan offers additional benefits like a tax credit for new employees and the elimination of Capital Gains for small businesses. Even if the business is wildly successful, and with all this notoriety, it may well be, the increase would be 3%. He would be better off in Obama's America than he would have been in Ronald Reagan's or John McCain's.

Very much to Mr. Wurtzelbacher's credit, he's not endorsing anyone yet. After all, his future and my future depend on a lot more than a 3% potential tax hike that's very unlikely to affect him. A new and deep recession may make it all moot if McCain's leadership is not much better than George Bush's.

All in all, the scenario is not what Joe fears it would be, it is not what John McCain misrepresents it to be and it's very very far from anything one could honestly describe as "spreading the wealth around" even if it's said without the squint and sneer and rubbing of hands. But then we're talking about John McCain's claims about his tax policy and not about honesty, and to quote another plumber and funny guy I used to know - that shit don't flush.


betmo said...

from what i gather, it won't matter who he endorses- he isn't registered to vote. and if he doesn't understand the difference between gross and net- he best not buy a business. and if he doesn't get that tax cuts for the wealthy mean tax raises for the rest of us- 'cause that's what's happened state by state as they don't get as much fed money (and it has to come from somewhere)- then it's a good thing he can't vote.

d.K. said...

No, he's actually registered to vote, and voted in the Republican primary -- his name is misspelled and he didn't bother to correct it.

What's funny is that McCain chose to use this poor guy, who is now humiliated because of his tax lien and no plumber's license, etc., when all that could have been avoided by a simple phone call to the guy, Joe, Sam, whatever, asking if there was anything that might embarrass him or McCain by using his "gotcha" moment with Obama for political gain. They apparently didn't.

But then, we know how well poor John's people "vet" their proxies -- just take a look at Sarah "Ms. I Said No to the Bridge" Palin..., Hahaha. Sheesh.

Capt. Fogg said...

Yes, using his buddy Joe was done either out of panic or is typical of his bad judgment - and there's no reason it can't be both.

'People are saying' his choice for Secretary of State will be Joey Buttafuoco but who knows?

Baltazar said...

The only thing left to find out about "Joe" is his real mane is BinLaden