Thursday, October 16, 2008

Is Joe the plumber a leaky story?


Anonymous said...

Joe the Plumber is simply not someone who would, on his absolutely best day, make his way up to advance a question to Obama. What happened? You'd truly have to be an idiot not to suspect that he was planted and paid by Fox news or "Team Maverick". This average numbskull just happened to ask Obama questions about average numbskulls making just over a quarter million dollars and it just happened to be captured on camera and it just happened to be immediately prior to the last-chance debate? The entire scenario would be truly laughable, if the typical McCain voter didn't actually believe it and, of course, that Obama is "ah, ah, ah, a A-rab".

Ilíon said...

You "progressives" just *refuse* to think, don't you? And you're typically hypocrites, on top of refusing to think.

The GOP isn't isn't allowed to expose Obama for what he is??

Of course not, not by the twisted anti-logic for which "progressives" are so justly famed.

"Joe the Plumber!

Can We taxe him?

Yes! We can!

Victor Reppert said...

It's a simple question. Is this guy as advertised?

Ilíon said...

VR: "It's a simple question. Is this guy as advertised?"

I have no idea. And the question, simple or complex, is quite irrelevant.

You *do* understand the concept of a hypothetical question, do you not? You *do* understand that we use hypothetical questions to extend our knowledge, do you not?

Let us presume that Joe-the-plumberGate is fully as "terrible" and "shocking" and "outrageous" as you "progrssives" will nanter on that it is. The proper response to your nantering is: "*yawn* So what? The GOP quite effectively reified a hypothetical question and so exposed Obama for the leftist he is."

Mike Almeida said...

As the mythology of Joe the non-plumber begins to unravel: he makes $40G a year, he will actually benefit from Obama's tax cuts, he does not have a plumber's license, he does not own the small business worth $250G+, etc., etc., it has become perfectly clear that it was just more McCain sleaze. Ok, as long as we know.
That aside, we really should take a lesson from illon, and try to live up to this paradigm of thoughtful posting: mimicking chants from Bob the Builder! Wait! Let me guess: on deeper reflection, Bob is the re-reification of Joe who is exposing Obama's negative impact on the small construction worker.

Anonymous said...

How do the guy's personal details affect the issues raised by his question?

Anonymous said...


Considering the fact that Joe was talking about purchasing a plumbing business in the future, why does it matter that he doesn't currently own one?

Blue Devil Knight said...

Grouchypants: If McCain wants to use him as their poster boy, they should have their facts straight about his life.

If he is the poster child for someone that will have his taxes raised, and it turns out to be bull, that is hilarious. Another McCain ploy backfiring.

And even if it weren't BS (which it looks like it is), my response would be:
"Boo hoo, I make more than 250k a year because of the opportunities given to me by the country, and I don't want to contribute anything back. Whaahhh, I'm in a higher tax bracket."

Blue Devil Knight said...

Incidentally, you know how much Obama wants to increase taxes for people that make more than 250k?

Three percent.

Versus McCain:

'We are spending way more money than we are earning, on defense and bailouts. We have racked up huge debts to China. How could anyone want to raise taxes in a time like this. '

So the solution is to cut taxes? That's like me quitting my job because my credit card debt just went up.

I do agree with one thing McCain said about economics, "The issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should."

Anonymous said...

Joe's question dealt with a hypothetical case in which would purchase the company for which he currently works. What facts about his current situation have any bearing on that hypothetical?

Blue Devil Knight said...

Grouchy: that's not how McCain presented it at the debate.

Charlie said...

Obama was honest about his plans. Joe the Plumber gets taxed if he makes 250k or more.

The controversy mostly surrounded Obama's "spread the wealth" statement.

But the Ilions of this world who get scared at statements like that should realize that our government has already been "spreading the wealth" -- just among multinational corporations, not ordinary people. And McCain plans to do the same.

We have been spreading the wealth either way. And it's pseudo-patriots like Ilion who want to keep centralized corporatocracy alive and well, yet have the nerve to complain when Obama wants to tax those earning more than 250k, which account for less than 2% of wealthy families. And technically he's not raising their taxes, given that they've been getting tax cuts from Bush for the last eight years. They're just paying the money that they haven't been paying for eight years.

Anonymous said...

If you oppose raising a tax, then any increase over 0% is going to be unacceptable.

And the problem with the exchange between Joe and Obama was Obama's remark about "spreading the wealth". If you don't think that the government should be in the business of spreading the wealth, then it doesn't really matter what Joe's real or hypothetical tax burden is.

Charlie said...


See my comment above about "spreading the wealth".

Charlie said...

Success in this country does not depend on skill alone; there's a lot that depends on luck. (cf. Smilansky's discussion of the 'global perspective' in Free Will and Illusion.)

For the rich elite to complain about paying taxes, for them to greedily refuse to give a little back to help this nation --and keeping in mind that the money they made is partly due to luck, timing, and chance-- is frankly sad.

Anonymous said...

Ilion isn't the only person who reacts negatively to the notion of spreading the wealth. The idea isn't very popular with most Americans. That's one of the reasons behind the scrutiny being placed on Joe. It distracts from Obama's gaffe.

Anonymous said...

I'm aware that the race doesn't always go to the swift. Life has never been fair.

But I don't trust the government to effectively even things out. That would require putting too much faith in politicians.

Charlie said...

Yet you would trust the government in their financial dealings with multinational corporations and banks? Do you, for example, trust our government helping to "spread the wealth" with IMF, the World Bank, WTO, etc., who control about a third of the world's economic output? Do you, for example, trust our government in financially motivated wars in Columbia? Etc.

Anybody who claims to be against "spreading the wealth" should certainly not be voting for McCain.
He will spread it more so than Obama could ever dream of, but for corporate interests rather than those of ordinary folks.

Perhaps "grouchypants" is willing to also trust Gramm and Liddy in our White House?

Anonymous said...

I trust politicians to look out for their own best interests. That applies to their dealings with multinational companies as well as with ordinary Americans. So I have little faith in them doling out money fairly in any situation. That makes me less inclined to support someone who actually expresses in interest in doing so (which is what Obama did in his response to Joe).

Charlie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlie said...

Do you doubt that McCain plans to be spreading money for corporate interests if he gets in? Were you aware that his chief economic advisor is already knee-deep in business with banking and oil corporations?

Let's think about principles here for a second. Would you rather money be spread among struggling American families or powerful multinational corporations, all things considered?

Anonymous said...

Considering how the Democrats ran interference for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, I'm not convinced that Obama would be any better at resisting corporate influence than McCain. (He did have a former Fannie Mae CEO heading his VP search committee for a time after all.)

As a general principle, I think that government's power needs to be restrained rather than expanded. Encouraging the government to get into the business of income redistribution would expand its power.

Charlie said...

Let me know when you're going to answer those questions.

Anonymous said...

I don't doubt that both candidate will do favors for corporate interests. So that isn't a deciding factor for me.

Charlie said...

By the way, last I checked Obama fired Jim Johnson from the VP selection committee.

Will McCain fire Gramm and renounce the activities of Liddy? No way.

Charlie said...

Also, you said that spreading wealth was the problem. I asked you:

Would you rather money be spread among struggling American families or multinational corporations, all things considered?

You've yet to offer a direct answer to this. But I suppose your answer would be 'the former'. In which case, if spreading the wealth is a problem for you, it should make you more cautious of McCain than Obama.

Anonymous said...

He fired him after he became a political liability. He was motivated by politics, not principle.

Why would I be more concerned about McCain and corporations if I think that Obama is just as likely to do them favors? He would be just as bad as McCain in that regard. And in addition to that he would like to have the government get involved in income redistribution for individuals as well.

So I view them as equally bad in one regard, and view Obama as worse in another. Therefore, I'm more concerned about Obama on the overall issue.

Charlie said...

I think that Obama is just as likely to do [corporations] favors

And your supporting evidence for this claim is, where?

Charlie said...

If there are any "deciding factors" here, they certainly don't help McCain at all.

Obama: Indpendently-rated better economic plan; has a renowned team of expert economists
McCain: Admits to not knowing much about economics and has documented crooks as his economic advisors.

Obama: Tax cuts to 95% of working families
McCain: More than $3.8 billion in tax breaks to oil corporations (e.g. ExxonMobil). No tax cuts to working families.

Obama: Wants to responsibly end a wasteful, unjustified war in Iraq.
McCain: Is "fine with 100 more years in Iraq".

Obama: Treats foreign relations with utmost seriousness and is willing to engage in tough diplomacy before bombing.
McCain: Jokes and sings songs about bombing Iran; shows complete lack of understanding of the current situation in Iraq; denounced by American troops in Iraq for his ignorance; denounced by Vietnam veterans for his deceit.

Obama: Understands that decreasing abortions requires careful and intelligent changes from the bottom up.
McCain: Stops at criminalization and disregards reform in sex education and preventative technology.

Obama: Has openly, and in very clear terms, explained his alleged ties to terrorist Bill Ayers
McCain: Has attempted to distract attention away from his documented and proven relationship with documented and proven domestic terrorists and Hitler sympathizers (Liddy, Keating)

Obama: Supports funding for science education
McCain: Is too ignorant to realize the importance of science education (chides Obama for wanting to fund a telescope)

And for what it's worth..

Obama: Committed Christian for over twenty years.
McCain: Has attacked Christians in the past, but only now forms alliances with the likes of Jerry Falwall etc. for political ambition.

Ilíon said...

Mr Gouchypants,
For your own sanity, I hope you aren't expecting any of these "liberals" and/or 'atheists' to admit any truth, and certainly not to admit the truth which logically follows (should you "trick" one of them into admitting some particular truth).

If you're enjoying yourself, then go for it! But if you're trying to reason with them, you're mostly engaging in futility.

Anonymous said...

The fact that Obama had the former CEO of Fannie Mae head his VP search is a pretty good indication of how chummy Obama can be with corporations. The fact that he fired him after it became a public embarrassment for him doesn't really earn him a lot of points with me.

As for Ayers, what was Obama's first reaction when asked about the relationship? Did he come clean about it? No. He said that Ayers was just a guy in his neighborhood. He has only come clean as revelations have forced him to.

And Obama disassociated himself from his church after Rev. Wright became politically problematic. So I think it's fair to say that his association there was political as well.

Victor Reppert said...

Don't we have a differential bracket level for taxation? After all, a different percentage of one's money is required for basic needs depending on our level of income.

Don't we get taxed in our communities so that everyone in the community can have police and fire protection? That's socialism, right?

Ilíon said...

VR: "Don't we get taxed in our communities so that everyone in the community can have police and fire protection? That's socialism, right?"

Mr Reppert,
You're clearly not interested in reasoning about these things -- one does understand why: clear reasoning demolishes the "liberal" brand.

So, as is systemic with "liberals," you resort to misrepresentation of the issues (as here) and insinuation of vileness to the other side (see most of your politically-themed posts over several weeks).

VR: "Don't we have a differential bracket level for taxation? After all, a different percentage of one's money is required for basic needs depending on our level of income."

Who died and made you God?

Who gave you the competence to decide how much of my income I really need? Who gave you the moral right to appropriate, under threat of violence and/or death, my income, much less any wealth I mave have accumulated -- who gave you the right to steal my time, and thus my very life -- for the important cause of pumping up your own ego and self-estimation as a compassionate person?

Who made me your slave? Who made me the slave to your ego? And a hypocritical ego, at that?

Is anyone stopping you from donating as much of your income, or wealth, "to the poor" as you choose? Is anyone stopping you from voluntarily organizing with others to help "the poor."

Or, as is more likely the case, given your refusal to understand how human nature and economies intersect, is anyone stopping you from voluntarily organizing with others to voluntarily beggar yourselves in the name of "the poor" while actually doing squat to actually help them?

But, your freedom to "help the poor" isn't enough for you -- and, of course, exercising that freedom would hit too deeply into your own wallet. No, it's much better to gang up with that fellow over there and steal what I have so that you can "help" "the poor." And, then, there is always the convenient handling-fee.

Conservative mindset: "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime."

"Liberal" mindset: "Teach a man to fish, and you have a job for a day. Give a man a fish, and you have guaranteed lifetime employment."

That's bad enough, but you "liberals" want to give him someone else's fish!

Doctor Logic said...

charlie is spot on.

Right-wingers love to criticize the left for trying to start class warfare, but they don't realize the war is already in progress. And since the beneficiaries of this war are 1% of taxpayers, that means most Republicans are supporting a war against themselves. When you cut taxes for the wealthy, that shifts the burden to working families. It also creates huge deficits that will be paid for by, yep, working families. Republicans have been waging war on working families for a long time.

The thing is that we don't need huge tax increases to solve the budget problem. We need a modest (around 10%) tax increase on the wealthiest taxpayers. Despite being in a relatively high bracket, I wasn't complaining about my taxes under Clinton. Frankly, whether my taxes were 30% or 35% didn't matter to me. The more you have, the more you can afford to pay. But some folks are greedy.

Conservatives also like to paint a picture of government taking average Joe's money and giving it to underprivileged Jane. But this is absurd. Average Joe is the primary beneficiary of tax revenue. The FAA, FTC, FBI, FDA, DOE, DOT etc serve average Joe, not underprivileged Jane. Social security serves average Joe. Medicare serves average Joe. Medicaid serves average Joe because it's far cheaper than the alternative. Take a guess at how much of the budget goes to welfare. It's negligible.

Ilíon said...

Speaking of leaky stories -- Obama apparently knew that claims of "kill him" cat-calls at Palin rallies were bogus even before he asserted during the debate that they'd been made.

Newsweek (Mark Hosenball): The Death-Threat Debate
"During a heated moment in his final presidential debate with Sen. John McCain, Sen. Barack Obama noted the anger of some supporters at rallies for McCain's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. "All the public reports suggested," Obama said, that people shouted "things like 'terrorist' and 'kill him'." Making a death threat against a presidential candidate can be a crime. But even before Obama cited "reports" of the threats at the debate, the U.S. Secret Service had told media outlets, including NEWSWEEK, that it was unable to corroborate accounts of the "kill him" remarks—and according to a law-enforcement official, who asked for anonymity when discussing a political matter, the Obama campaign knew as much. Now some officials are disgruntled that Obama gave added credence to the threat by mentioning it in front of 60 million viewers. At this point in the campaign, said one, candidates will "say anything to make a particular point."

During a warm-up speech for Palin at an Oct. 15 rally in Scranton, Pa., a journalist with the city's Times-Tribune paper, David Singleton, reported hearing someone say "kill him"; he told NEWSWEEK that the remark was made casually, rather than angrily, by a male voice. Singleton stands by his account, but he acknowledges that he was unable to identify who made the remark. Secret Service spokesman Eric Zahren says his agency examined videotape from an earlier Palin event in Clearwater, Fla., at which a similar threat was supposedly made, and concluded that the voice could've been saying "tell him" or "tell them." But Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank, who was in Clearwater, said "the guy was a few feet in front of me … '[T]ell him' doesn't make any sense as a response to what Palin was saying." An Obama campaign spokesman told NEWSWEEK that "whether or not the [Secret Service] is investigating that particular comment is irrelevant. What is true is that the tone of the rhetoric at McCain-Palin campaign events has gotten out of hand."

Charlie said...

For your own sanity, I hope you aren't expecting any of these "liberals" and/or 'atheists' to admit any truth

I am a theistic agnostic. And I also happen to be very conservative.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Ilion: that was the second report. The first is well documented. E.g., youtube, you can hear it. The second smells fishy. But I like your attempt to flip it around and make it about Obama lying, not about letting the right wingnuts loose at rallies.

It seems McCain's supporters are learning it isn't good for their man if they are perceived as rabid lunatics, as evidenced here by some of his sane supporters when they confront some idiots at a McCain rally. It is a heartwarming video, as it makes me realizes conservatives are good people, bye and bye. During this part of the campaign it is too easy to fall into laughable rhetoric, and thinking, about the "other side."

I used to really like McCain. He stood up to his party, campaigned for finance reform, and was willing to speak his mind. The past two months he has become increasingly erratic, making bad decision one after another. Obama has kept an even keel. This makes me more comfortable when I think about whose finger I want on the button.