Thursday, October 16, 2008

Meet Joe the plumber

Move over Joe Six Pack, now there's Joe the Plumber. 

Last night he was referred to by John McCain in the Presidential debate after a video circulated of him asking Barack Obama about how his tax plan would affect him. His real name is Joe Wurzelbacher, and he hails from Ohio. 

A plumber by trade, he has worked for one company now for his entire career and has been able to work his way up into a position where he can now buy the company he works for. The problem he now sees is that he might be unable to buy that company now given the new tax bracket it would be put in under Obama's tax plan. While he says that 95% of all people will get a tax break, those who make more than $250,000 a year will not. Unfortunately, the small plumbing company makes more than that. Now, it doesn't matter so much that most of that money goes to paying salaries and reinvestment into the companies capital development, it just matters that it makes more than that arbitrary prescribed amount. When asked why he had to work so hard for so long just to get taxed more for his efforts, Obama told Joe that spreading the wealth around will help others achieve what Joe has been able to. 

Here's the video.

The cat is out of the bag. Obama's real policies aren't any different than the tax and spend democrats before him. It's a Robin Hood mentality. 

I'm tired of this liberal conception that tax cuts have to be 'paid for.' Obama's explanation is that if the middle class gets a tax cut, the difference has to be made up somewhere, and so those who have more should pay more. Why does it have to be that way? Why can our government not do with less money and more efficiency? How about instead of cutting taxes for some and raising them for the rest, we cut taxes for all, or leave them at the same rate and cut useless programs from the budget and make the programs that work work better? 

Since when did the idea of taxing your small business owners, managers, and CEOs more make sense? How can you get a sputtering economy going again by inhibiting American businesses from making more jobs available, having more money to invest in workers, infrastructure, and R&D? The truth is, you can't. This is a time when the private sector needs to be encouraged, not discouraged. 

And another note, I love how Obama keeps mentioning how Exxon-Mobile is going to get a $4 billion dollar windfall under John McCain's tax policies, and how greedy it is for having made a record $12 billion in profits this year. First off, since when was being profitable a punishable offense? Do we despise companies that make money? Have we considered the fact that very little of that profit went directly to bosses and employees pocket books? Where did it all go you ask? It went back into the company. Oil exploration is extremely costly nowadays. Most of the "profit" therefore gets put back into ways of sustainable drilling, government leases, Research and Development, capital improvements, etc. 

And, our own government doesn't help the oil industry any by not allowing our own reserves off the coast to be tapped. The claim has been made by Obama that the US consumes 25% of the world's oil yet only has 4% of its reserves. Why is that? Because oil companies are not allowed to drill and discover new reserves. The 4% figure does not have to be a fixed one

I am not saying drilling is the only prescription, but it is an important one. There are more reserves that have not been explored, and we should use our own people, ingenuity, and resources to become energy independent. While we have it, we should use it. That does not mean "raping" our land and oceans as so many eco-crusaders would say; it means doing it in a pragmatic and sustainable way. Furthermore, I know full well that even with discoveries of vast new reserves it will take several years for that oil to get to market. However, that makes the need to drill even more pressing. And, the discovery alone, along with the willingness of the companies to use it, and lack of government interference will make the cost of fuel go down. That is because economic theory is based on expectations. If people expect there to be more oil, the price will go down, even if there isn't any.

If we can create a more stable fossil fuel environment, we can have a much smoother transition to alternative fuels and other sources of energy including wind, solar, tide, and geothermic. It can't be just one way or the other. We need all methods on the table.


Mark Hamilton said...

Thank you! I love reading up on my daily Satire are the only sane political analyst.

Anonymous said...

I see both tax plans as problematic. They both work in principle, but neither in practice.

Whether you raise or lower taxes, it's hard for CEOs to see their salary drop. And it's not just the oil companies.

Here are some salaries of credit card company CEOs to consider:
Ken Chenault (AmEx) $53 million
Jamie Dimon (JP Morgan) $41 mil.
Rich Fairbank (Capital One) $37 mil.
Vikram Pandit (Citigroup) $30 mil.
David Nelms (Discover) $21 mil.
Ken Lewis (Bank of America) $99.8 mil!

There's no reason Ken Lewis needs a $100 million salary. And then they turn around and charge 29% interest (a la the mafia 30 years ago) on credit cards.

But I also TOTALLY agree there are plenty of government programs that are wasteful and unnecessary.

I think the root of all of this is greed - but there's not really much we can do about that. Unless you and I run for president together and fix everything.

Ian/Scotty 2012!

Michael Powers said...

Right on Scotty. 2012.

However, even though those CEOs you listed make an exorbitant sum, I don't think that it is government's job to say what is "too much."