Thursday, November 06, 2008

Tax Fantasy and Today’s Election Season Rhetoric

From Community Times:

Remember how Sen. John McCain made Joe “the plumber” Wurzelbacher of Holland, Ohio, into a working-class hero for questioning Sen. Barack Obama’s tax plans? A Nashville-based publicist, Jim Della Croce, said Joe’s hired him to help deal with the media attention.

There’s talk of a book, recordings and ... who knows? Maybe a radio talk show, which has become the last refuge of the famously outraged.

Quite a few readers have criticized me and other media folks for picking on Joe. When he turned out to have had a tax lien on his house, for example, it seemed to me as though he should be nicknamed Joe the Tax Dodger.

But, no problem. Joe appears to be having the time of his life. At this rate, he might even make enough money to qualify for Obama’s proposed tax increase.

Tax policy is worth a serious debate. It’s too bad that we didn’t hear it.

Instead, McCain, Alaska Gov. Sara Palin, and some of their most prominent supporters touted Joe, hoping voters were too dense to know the difference between a three-point rise in the top marginal tax rate and the threat of a Marxist takeover.

Politics often is called “show business for ugly people” because both blur the lines between facts and fantasy. Enter Joe the Plumber, who presents the image of a man who is burdened by government, even when he isn’t.

Wurzelbacher asked Obama why he should have to pay more taxes if he buys the business he hopes to buy. Obama’s plan called for families that earn more than $250,000 a year to pay higher taxes. That’s about 5 percent of the population and way above what most plumbers make.

“My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody,” Obama explained. “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

Blog Archive