October 22, 2008

WHO IS THIS PLUMBER TO QUESTION THE MESSIAH? (via Glen Dryfoos):

The Media vs. Joe the Plumber: Suddenly the questioner matters more than the answer. (Jonah Goldberg, 10/22/08, National Review)

At a John McCain rally in Virginia on Saturday, Tito Munoz had come to face the enemy: the news media, which had declared war on Joe Wurzelbacher.

“Why the hell are you going after Joe the Plumber?” Munoz yelled at a group of reporters, including my National Review colleague Byron York. “Joe the Plumber has an idea. He has a future. He wants to be something else. Why is that wrong? Everything is possible in America. I made it. Joe the Plumber could make it even better than me. ... I was born in Colombia, but I was made in the U.S.A.” [...]

In short, Obama’s explanation to Joe the Plumber that we need to “spread the wealth around” is a sincere and significant expression of his worldview, with roots stretching back to his church and his days as a community organizer.

Millions of Americans don’t share this vision. They don’t see the economy as a pie, whereby your slice can only get bigger if someone else’s gets smaller. They don’t begrudge the wealthy their wealth; they only ask to be given the same opportunities. They look at countries such as France and, rather than envy its socialized medicine and short workweeks, they fear its joblessness and tax policies that punish entrepreneurialism. People like Tito Munoz look at America and see an open path to their own American dream.

It would be nice if the media at least tried to understand this point.


While we on the Right would do well to understand that an era of war and economic fluctuation naturally makes people feel insecure and heightens the appeal of the Security Party, the conspicuous truth is that systems, like ours of the past three decades, that seek to guarantee the freedom to pursue happiness have done a better job of delivering it than systems that have tried to just mandate happiness via state power.

MORE:
Obama and the Tax Tipping Point: How long before taxpayers are pushed too far? (ADAM LERRICK, 10/22/08, Wall Street Journal)

In 2006, the latest year for which we have Census data, 220 million Americans were eligible to vote and 89 million -- 40% -- paid no income taxes. According to the Tax Policy Center (a joint venture of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute), this will jump to 49% when Mr. Obama's cash credits remove 18 million more voters from the tax rolls. What's more, there are an additional 24 million taxpayers (11% of the electorate) who will pay a minimal amount of income taxes -- less than 5% of their income and less than $1,000 annually.

In all, three out of every five voters will pay little or nothing in income taxes under Mr. Obama's plans and gain when taxes rise on the 40% that already pays 95% of income tax revenues.

The plunder that the Democrats plan to extract from the "very rich" -- the 5% that earn more than $250,000 and who already pay 60% of the federal income tax bill -- will never stretch to cover the expansive programs Mr. Obama promises. [...]

Other nations have tried the ideology of fairness in the place of incentives and found that reward without work is a recipe for decline. In the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher took on the unions and slashed taxes to restore growth and jobs in Great Britain. In Germany a few years ago, Social Democrat Gerhard Schroeder defied his party's dogma and loosened labor's grip on the economy to end stagnation. And more recently in France, Nicolas Sarkozy was swept to power on a platform of restoring flexibility to the economy.

The sequence is always the same. High-tax, big-spending policies force the economy to lose momentum. Then growth in government spending outstrips revenues. Fiscal and trade deficits soar. Public debt, excessive taxation and unemployment follow. The central bank tries to solve the problem by printing money. International competitiveness is lost and the currency depreciates. The system stagnates. And then a frightened electorate returns conservatives to power.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at October 22, 2008 10:53 AM
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