Joe the Plumber is a true American patriot

Stephen Ontko

It took a single question from an average American to propel this nation into a critical dialogue to strengthen the principles that make America the land of opportunity. That question came from Joe the Plumber.

On Oct. 12, the first encounter between Sen. Barack Obama and Joe the Plumber occurred. Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, now known as Joe the Plumber, was just another guy in his neighborhood as he asked Obama a question regarding his plan for increasing the tax rate on businesses making more than $250,000 a year, The Washington Post reported Oct. 17.

And my, have the media and Sen. Joe Biden, Obama’s running mate, been quick to judge Plumber Joe for having dared to confront his holiness and the supreme leader, Barack Obama.

The Washington Post also noted Wurzelbacher owes nearly $1,200 in Ohio state back taxes. The New York Times reported Oct. 16 that Plumber Joe has been working without a plumber’s license and raised questions about whether he would actually make enough to be affected by Obama’s “upper income” tax increases.

Biden said he doesn’t know “any Joe the Plumbers” who “make $250,000 a year,” according to a CNN report Oct. 16, but this doesn’t even address the question that was asked and ignores the issues Americans care about.

This quarter of a million dollars Joe the Plumber made an issue of is business income, not personal income (although the tax code doesn’t make that distinction).

Obama even referred to the income in the question posed by Joe the Plumber as “revenue,” putting Biden up against his running mate yet again.

Biden claimed taxing the rich more was patriotic, according to MSNBC’s First Read Sept. 18. There is nothing patriotic, however, about taxing Americans more for working harder and expanding opportunity so that all Americans may benefit. America is about using one’s work to create opportunity, not taxing one group disproportionately more just because its members work harder.

It is disheartening that the media criticized Wurzelbacher because Obama’s tax policies could affect the whole nation more than Wurzelbacher’s personal life.

Obama’s rhetoric doesn’t mention the bulk of jobs his tax increase would affect once implemented. Phil Gramm and Mike Solon demonstrated in a Wall Street Journal column Sept. 13, that of the top 1 percent of income tax filers, three-fourths were small businesses.

If one looks at this, combined with the Small Business Association’s finding that small businesses “create 75 percent of the net new jobs” in this country, one finds that Obama is going to tax a large portion of America’s economic engine and prosperity, especially during a financial crisis when excessive taxes should be the last thing on anyone’s mind.

The liberal media, and the liberal democrats themselves, while criticizing the validity of Joe the Plumber, ignore a much needed inquiry into how the fundamental aspects of American entrepreneurialism and opportunity will be affected by Obama taxing the rich.

It was John F. Kennedy who used the phrase “a rising tide raises all boats,” so it is a shame democrats have devolved into class warfare politics that serve no one. Since Obama doesn’t want wealth to just trickle down, it appears he is comfortable with not having any sort of expansion of wealth at all, just tearing down the rich out for political expediency.

If the politics of change mean one group should benefit by holding another back, then America is changing away from its fundamental principles and changing for the worst. Immigrants came to this country so their own work could benefit themselves; they didn’t come here so they could hold others back.

The true American spirit isn’t spreading the wealth around by taking from other’s hard work, it is creating wealth from one’s own hard labor.

John McCain has it right when he says the focus should be increasing the “wealth of all Americans” and not spreading the wealth around by hurting business, and that is what Joe the Plumber has rightfully called to America’s attention.

Stephen Ontko is a senior economics major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].