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Joe The Plumber Debating Group

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Joe The Plumber Debating Group

Third Presidential Debate liveblog group, and whomever wants to join in the mix. DJ's pad is the law, y'all...

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Latest Activity: Oct 26, 2008

A Tribute to Joe Wurzelbacher...One of us.

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Comment by Gray Kane on October 15, 2008 at 11:26pm
Comment by Eric on October 16, 2008 at 12:36am
I heard an expression tonight on the Savage Nation, where Dr. Savage called this "trickle-up poverty." Giving more to those who can't earn it and taking it from those who are striving to. I thought that the name was brilliant.

This video that you post, Gray, is awesome. It shows to the nth degree that Obama's plan is to employ more wealth distribution, more socialism, more communism. Speaking to Joe about increasing his taxes to help those who make less is humorous to me. Basically, he is saying "thank you Joe for your hard work. Now that you have worked hard to get here, we want to take your money and give it to those who haven't worked as hard." This is also basically giving incentive to those who haven't worked hard to get to Joe's level that they shouldn't get to Joe's level because once they do, they will pay more.

This position is not to uphold capitalism. As a business owner, I object to this. When the government increases my expenses, I must do one of three things: increase my prices, lay off workers or both. I have to ask you, which of these benefit the middle class, or lower class for that matter?
Comment by Gray Kane on October 16, 2008 at 2:14am
Hi Eric,

I appreciate your concern, but this fear of America becoming socialist due to a progressive tax (or social services) is unfounded.

For as long as the U.S. has had federal income taxes, we've had a progressive tax; wealthier people always have paid a greater percentage of their income than the poor.

Before 1862, we relied on tariffs, sales tax, and taxes on capital gains. In 1862, people who made from $600 to $10k paid 3% of their income. Those who made more than $10k paid at a greater rate. Both the inheritance tax and a version of the IRS also began at this time.

Between the Civil War and 1913, we returned to the previous system. In 1913, we adopted the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, and the rest is history. Our Civil-War federal progressive tax system became permanent.

Since the 1890s we've had social services. Before these "socialist" programs that fed, clothed, and cared for the lower class, American factories literally worked their immigrant and black employees to death. Orphans littered the streets. America was on the verge of violent labor revolts. America adopted "socialist" programs (and our Labor Day holiday) in lieu of a "socialist government." In other words, we can't equate "socialist" programs with "socialist government."

Nevertheless, I guess by your definition, this country has been socialist for a long time!

The term "socialist" gets wielded pretty arbitrarily nowadays to serve a party's or candidate's political agenda. And it reeks of obsolete Cold-War fears. It's become a meaningless term that conservatives use to denounce other Americans as "un-American."

That is my concern, Eric.

Ultimately, I agree with small federal government, laissez faire, etc. But I realize that pockets in the economy form if you don't regulate the economy. Those pockets become "bubbles" that burst. When the government fails to appease labor at all, revolts occur. Regulation and social services prolong can capitalism. But we have to take each policy one at a time, and not simply dismiss or sanction it.

And yet, I see so many conservatives discredit regulation. I see so many conservatives discredit the same tax system we've had way before anyone here was born. I see so many conservatives discredit the social services that time and again have prevented social revolts. I see so many conservatives denouncing these longstanding aspects of America as being "socialist," "the end of capitalism," etc.

While I understand the concern, Eric, I don't comprehend the contemporary conservative's use of the term "socialist." Can you explain specifically how this use isn't arbitrary given the history that I've outlined? Where is the line between a "socialist" program and a "socialist government"? At what point does same the progressive federal tax that we've always had cease to be "American"?

And at what point does the "flat tax" that this country has never had become a symbol for "American beliefs"?
Comment by Katie on October 16, 2008 at 10:31am
Are Joe the Plumber and Joe Six-Pack cousins? I don't get it.

I'm offended that Joe the Plumber was upset when he found out he was a "Yankee" because he was born in Ohio. Please, let's lose the 18th and 19th century putdowns.
Comment by Eric on October 22, 2008 at 1:57pm
Socialists mainly share the belief that capitalism unfairly concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society that controls capital, and creates an unequal society. All socialists advocate the creation of an egalitarian society, in which wealth and power are distributed more evenly, although there is considerable disagreement among socialists over how, and to what extent this could be achieved. Wikipedia

As it turns out you already know this, though. I do not disagree that we are already involved in socialist activities. Why else would the top 10% pay around 80% of this country's income taxes while nearly 40% pay nothing? Not to mention this "bailout" bill and the recent tax rebates that were offered. Also, there is the $7500 refundable tax credit offered for first-time home buyers who make less than $75,000 per year if single, or $150,000 if married. I get it.

I hate to break the news but we are all NOT equal. Socialism is broad and even those who promote it disagree as to the level at which it should be administered. I don't agree in rewarding those who do not contribute to the betterment of society.

Gray, in another comment you made on a post, you said that you make between $12k-21k per year so these tax proposals of Obama's can only help you. In addition, Obama has promoted the increase in capital gains taxes (and, yes, Rod, to the same level as Reagan) and removing the ceiling for FICA deductions. While these most likely don't affect you, they most certainly affect me.

I own two companies. I have employees. And while I admit that I won't hit the $250,000 AJI for tax year 2008 (mortgages are a little slow this year, if you didn't know), I am taking measures to get it back up within the next two years and expect to do so. At the same time, I will have W2 employees who will more than likely exceed the $102,000 FICA ceiling and therefore Obama will increase my tax burden there, too. So, I get penalized for (a) making too much money and (b) helping others to achieve financial success.

I disagree with it both on principal and because it affects me. The bottom 40% money-earners pay no taxes, yet they are still provided with the same amenities that I am such as national security and public education. In addition, they have access to cheaper or free health care that I don't have access to because I make too much money – this is not just on the federal level, but also the state level. By taking more from those who earn it and giving it to those who don’t achieve is thievery and discourages others from working to achieve success.

I didn’t get to where I am because of luck or being born with a silver spoon. I worked as a landscaper and realized that on my income, I would never be able to provide what my wife and son deserved. So I took a second job as a bartender. Working 80-90 hours per week, my wife and I saved money so that we could start a business. I got a job as a loan officer, ditched the landscaping gig but kept the bartending position as I built a customer base. Three years later, we opened our company. We have worked hard and lost many nights of sleep due to the stress of the business and it has cost me time away from my kids, which I abhor.

Now, Gray, why should I, who has worked and sacrificed to get here, be forced to fork over my income to those who don’t even try? This money is being taken not just from me, but my kids. Where is self-sufficiency and self-reliance? Why are more and more people becoming reliant on the government for help? 44% of Americans agree with Obama’s wealth distribution plan. Well, no kidding, 40% don’t pay taxes anyway! Why wouldn’t they want the government to give them more money? I have heard that Dire Straits song also.

To answer your question: I don’t believe in the “flat tax”. It doesn’t solve the problem. It doesn’t prevent employers from paying their employees in cash and it does nothing to tax the employees who receive cash. It also doesn’t keep jobs here in America.

As for your other questions, I can’t recall an instance where I said any of that which you are questioning. You are lumping me into the group of conservatives when I, myself, have not muttered those sentiments - “socialist” aside, which I covered.
Comment by Eric on October 23, 2008 at 11:14pm
Are you serious...do my part? Like helping the wellbeing of others? Like helping people own their own homes when they thought that they couldn't? Like helping others - WHO WANT TO WORK FOR IT - achieve their financial goals? Is that not doing my part?

First off, your little site from Maine is based on their tax proposals, not what will actually become enacted so it is moot. I went there but didn't waste my time.

Secondly, the cost of living in your area is much greater than in my part of CT. But guess what? I don't live there. I didn't choose to live there. It's too freakin' expensive.

This makes two great points:

1. This arbitrary number of $250,000 that Obama is proposing doesn't take into account the location of the person. Someone who makes $250,000 in NY, LA or any other major city is not rich. Yet they will suffer just the same as the $250k money-earner in Kansas whose cost of living is nowhere near the same. Awesome. Great plan.

2. If you (not you "Rod" but the greater "you") don't like where you live: move. I am so sick of people whining about that their job sucks or their state sucks or that their city/town sucks. It is their decision to live there. I lived in a town that sucked. Guess what? I moved. I know, that may be a revelation. Did you not know that it's really expensive to live in the OC? I knew how expensive it is to live in Connecticut. I don't like it here, but I don't bitch about it. My wife and I are currently instituting plans to continue our businesses here and MOVE. Crazy, isn't it?

I love it! I'm pretty sure we won't complain about paying an extra three cents on every dollar we make above $250K

You can say this because you are "pretty sure" but also because you believe that it will stop there. Why would it? Before Reagan, the tax for top money-earners was 70%. You should stay below the $250,000 mark, it is to your benefit.

I like you, Rod. I do. I appreciate your comments and your posts. I also appreciate that you challenge me in my thoughts and beliefs. You, and a few others here, are why I am totally addicted to this site.

I do admit that your last comment set me off. I am doing my part. I am part of the 60% of Americans paying taxes. Actually, I am part of the top 10% paying 80% of the taxes of this country. I am not sitting at home watching Jerry Springer on my big screen TV that the government paid for. I am not spitting out babies (well, my wife would be doing that, actually) so that my wife and I can increase our government-supported income. I am busting my ass on a daily basis to continue to keep myself, and my employees, in that 60%.

I wish that more people would realize that they are the guides of their own destiny. Most sit back and make excuses and wait for or accept government handouts. I don't. I don't have any appreciation for those who whine about their situations but do nothing about it.

So save your "buck up" for someone who isn't "doing their part".
Comment by Gray Kane on October 24, 2008 at 7:35am
I apologize, Eric and everybody else, for my not partaking in this conversation. I'm in crunch time for my dissertation. My director demands a draft by election week, which is causing me to keep strange hours and work ridiculous shifts. By the time I finish working on the dissertation each day, I have no desire to keep up with additional reading and writing.

But I do promise to re-enter the discussion when I can.

Best Wishes,

Gray
Comment by Eric on October 24, 2008 at 4:43pm
I actually hadn't seen those ads. And that explanation about the taxes makes more sense than what my current understanding is (was before reading it.) Without verifying it with my accountant, I will have to accept it as fact (it's in their domain name so it must be true, right?) but it seems to make sense.

Obama had supported removing the ceiling from FICA, which he has since backed off in preparing for, and during the general election. Which Obama will we get if he makes it into the White House is anyone's guess.

It's interesting to me that you take him on his word as his supporters do. I just can't understand it. The guys talks a great game, I'll give him that. His positions have changed and he is currently running ads directed at seniors that are flat-out lies about McCain. He has changed his stances on Nuclear, coal and drilling from the primaries until now. He accepted then rejected public funding (he should have just declined it all along - he can raise way more on his own, and he has proven it.) He claims to be a friend of gun owners when he has voted for nearly every piece of gun control legislation that came up in the IL senate.

Yet people still take him on his word. I know that you have reservations about the guy, Rod. Maybe you can explain it to me. (This is not an attack or a "gotcha". I do actually want to know.)

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