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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Joe, the Plumber: Class Traitor

A man that is a credit to "Our Red White and Blue."
His head is made of lumber, and solid as a rock;
He is a common worker and his name is Mr. Block.
And Block he thinks he may
Be President some day.

Joe Hill, songwriter for the working class, wrote the above lyric in 1913. A different blockhead, Joe - actually, a Sam - has become the darling of the media. Joe had the audacity to walk up to Presidential candidate Barack Obama recently and challenge his tax policies. It seems that Obama wants to increase taxes on all those making more than $250,000 a year while reducing those below that threshold, a commendable proposal, indeed. Now most workers would see Obama's proposal as a positive move, but not our Joe, the plumber. Joe's unhappy because he wants to buy his boss's business which he judges to be worth $250,000.

And so the love fest with the media began. Joe became the voice of the working class to our incorruptible, unbiased journalists. His every word was closely examined for signals of the mood of those alien to the elites - workers. Joe proved to be such an "everyman" - a Long John Willoughby in Capra's movie, Meet John Doe - that his deep thoughts dominated the final debate between the major party candidates.

A bit of research by the Cleveland Blade - not the prestigious New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the networks, or the cable shouters - turns up some interesting facts about the Ohio native: Ole' Joe is not really a plumber - he had no license; he wasn't a registered plumber - but a plumber's helper. Well, actually, his boss also wasn't registered, so I guess he wasn't a plumber's helper, either. With Joe making about %40,000 a year, it will be a long time before he buys the bosses business especially since he'll have a hard time getting a loan with a lien against him for failure to pay property taxes. It seems Joe's against property taxes, too.

So Joe is a windbag - filled with strong opinions and cocksure of his destined success. We all know people like him; there's always a few in every working class neighborhood.

Joe brings to mind the poll results from a few years ago. I can't remember the source, but the poll asked respondents if the thought they were, or would be, in the top 1% of incomes. Approximately 20% said they were and another 20% said they would be! Joe, like Joe Hill's Mr. Block, undoubtedly fits into one of these two groups.

Now some will say that I'm too hard on Joe; after all, "class traitor" is a pretty strong charge. Certainly Joe is not alone with his twisted ideas, ideas reinforced by elite word mongers on talk on talk radio, Fox News, and the rest of the lapdog media who make much more money than Joe will ever imagine. I suffered through a Fox interview with Joe, thinking "Joe, how can you let this rich rich white guy in a business suit make such a fool of you?" The interview makes an obscene amount of money for journalistic buffoonery; he stands to pay more with the Obama tax plan; and Joe lets the creep use him to attack working class interests. Yes, Joe's a class traitor.

But it is satisfying to watch the politicians and media courtesans squirm when they encounter working class people - I'll give that blockhead Joe that much. They act as though they are in the presence of a newly discovered species - not unlike their unease around African-Americans.

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