Joe The Plumber: Man or Metaphor

Joe the Plumber and Barack ObamaDuring last night’s presidential debate, "Joe The Plumber," stopped being real and became a metaphor, and as a storyteller who delights in metaphors, the discussion suddenly became more interesting. For in an instant, Joe Wurzelbacher morphed into the "Joe the Plumber," self-made American, the rugged individualist who by his own volition is living the American Dream.

But what happens when the metaphor meets the reality of taxes? For the question of taxes is not merely about defence, roads, education, and social services to citizens, but it’s also about the social contract. Or does that still exist? Did it ever exist?

Is it fair to tax Joe the Plumber at a higher rate to pay for defence, roads, education, and now health care? How and who will pay for these services? Or do we insist as Margaret Thatcher did that “there’s no such thing as society

These are the larger questions that the candidacies of Barack Obama and John McCain have brought to the fore and as a storyteller it reminds me of an old story that asks the question: “Am I my brother’s keeper?”


Photo Source: AP


Stephen Bess said…
It was humorous. "Joe the Plummer" became every hard working American pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. Well, as Obama said, "if they have any boots." Good post.
Jdid said…
joe the plumber was a last minute fill in for joe sixpack who called in sick at the last moment but we knew he wasnt really sick just really drunk
Stephen, God bless em if they got boots.

Rethabile said…
Joe didn't really help John win the debate, and i'm not sure the poor guy wanted to.
FSJL said…
No, no, roads, schools, defence, hospitals, pensions, they're all produced by fairies, elves, and Father Xmas in his factory at the North Pole. Social contract? All we need to do is pull ourselves by our own bootstraps!
FSJL said…
Stephen, if you don't have boots, it's obviously your own fault. It's also your own fault, if you don't have feet, if you're the victim of discrimination, if you're ill, if you're old, if you're young, if you've been robbed, or if there's been a hurricane, an earthquake, or a meteor strike. That's personal responsibility according to the Republican Party 2008 version.

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