20 October 2008

Who you gonna to take economic advice from? A liberal, elitist Nobel Prize Winner or Joe the plumber?

Paul Krugman, recent winner of a Nobel Prize in economics, wrote an opinion piece today in which he called the Republican party pro-pleurocrat.



No wonder we aren't making any progress with the average Joe. The average Joe can't spell pleurocrat, let along know the definition. Still, despite his use of elitist language, Krugman makes a number of good points. He rightly equates the exodus of lower and middle-class white guys to the Republican party as cattle following a grain truck to the slaughterhouse.

The Republican party built their base by capitalizing on racial and cultural intolerance as well as differences of opinion in the uses of our military. Apparently there is one thing that white guys aren't afraid of and that is being a martyr for their country. No wonder they are pro-one-hundred-years-war in Iraq. Dying is something they are good at. I always assumed that people voted with their pocketbooks. People voted jobs. I found it impossible to believe that people would vote in a manner that hurt themselves, benefited others (especially the "haves"), and would continue to do so generation after generation. But Joe the Plumber is case in point. He claims his differences with Obama were over tax policy. But is it any surprise that he called Obama "Sammy Davis, Jr."? I don't think Joe the Plumber is the same thing as the average Joe. Joe the Plumber is a closet racist. The average Joe is not.

To the Joe the Plumber types, tax policy is a code word for racism. In fact, I am of the general opinon that there are very few low- to middle-class Republicans who are in it for a die-hard belief in the Republican economic policies. Just about anything short of abortion rights seems to smack of racism to me these days. No one is dumb enough to vote against their own self-interests and self-preservation, unless blind hatred is behind it. We have to admit that there is a minority in this country that are white supremacists. They used to be out and loud. now they are closeted and sly. But they are still there. I don't worry about them so much. They no longer hold sway over anyone. Let their asses dry up in Klan country. I'm looking toward the future. They can be part of it, or they can get left behind.

To the average Joe's out there, listen up. Despite everything, McCain has not identified any meaningful way that he will change the course of the economy, but merely continue Bush's "disastrous policies". If Joe the Plumber sets aside his hatred and elects Obama, (thereby becoming an average Joe), he will get a tax break. If Joe the plumber is a racist and votes McCain into office, his individual lot in life might not change, it will probably get worse, but he'll get the satisfaction of knowing that most of the wealth in this country will remain in the hands of the white folks. Bravo, Joe P. Bravo.

Krugman also makes the point about how politicians and journalists, too, are out of touch with the average Joe. The average national income is roughly $44K. John McCain is under the impression that rich people make $5 million dollars a year. Well of course people who make $5 mil a year are rich. Charlie Gibson is under the impression that middle class incomes are $200,000. Is it any wonder that McCain is under the impression that his tax policies will benefit the average Joe? Is it any wonder that Charlie Gibson is under the impression that he is an average Joe? Let's look at the facts:

According to this chart, $150K is rich. Most of us make a third of that, and on average and we spend far beyond our means. But before you point a damning finger at the average Joe, realize that Joe has been spending on the good faith he has rising home equity. And spending on this faith was the only choice he had if he wanted to send his kids to college, and make a better life for himself and his family. Joe had to have faith in the economic indicators that were available to him. And all those indicators said that his home equity was rising and it was safe. He wasn't feeling the pinch. Banks were still willing to loan to him.

But economic indicators do not take into account Republican policies that undermine the entire economic system. Deregulation and smaller government oversight are the drumbeat of the Republican party.

If Joe elects McCain, he'll get the paycheck he deserves. Sometimes poverty is a hard lesson. Trust me. I know.

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