John McCain features Joe the Plumber in his weekly radio address. Yes, my eyes did begin to roll back in my head when I saw the most dreaded word in political punditry(“Joe”), but then I got to the meat of McCain’s remarks. They are probably the most effective he’s uttered during this entire campaign. After recapping the Barack Obama-Joe conversation (for anyone in a coma the last week), he explains:
My opponent’s answer showed that economic recovery isn’t even his top priority. His goal, as Senator Obama put it, is to “spread the wealth around.”
You see, he believes in redistributing wealth, not in policies that help us all make more of it. Joe, in his plainspoken way, said this sounded a lot like socialism. And a lot of Americans are thinking along those same lines. In the best case, “spreading the wealth around” is a familiar idea from the American left. And that kind of class warfare sure doesn’t sound like a “new kind of politics.”
This would also explain some big problems with my opponent’s claim that he will cut income taxes for 95 percent of Americans. You might ask: How do you cut income taxes for 95 percent of Americans, when more than 40 percent pay no income taxes right now? How do you reduce the number zero?
Well, that’s the key to Barack Obama’s whole plan: Since you can’t reduce taxes on those who pay zero, the government will write them all checks called a tax credit. And the Treasury will cover those checks by taxing other people, including a lot of folks just like Joe.
In other words, Barack Obama’s tax plan would convert the IRS into a giant welfare agency, redistributing massive amounts of wealth at the direction of politicians in Washington. I suppose when you’ve voted against lowering taxes 94 times, as Senator Obama has done, a new definition of the term “tax credit” comes in handy.
At least in Europe, the Socialist leaders who so admire my opponent are upfront about their objectives. They use real numbers and honest language. And we should demand equal candor from Senator Obama. Raising taxes on some in order to give checks to others is not a tax cut it’s just another government giveaway.
What’s more, the Obama tax increase would come at the worst possible time for America, and especially for small businesses like the one Joe dreams of owning. Small businesses provide 16 million jobs in America. And a sudden tax hike will kill those jobs at a time when need to be creating more jobs.
There it is — finally. The “it” is the argument against Barack Obama: he’s wedded to income re-distribution, not growth, which is exactly the wrong philosophy at the worst possible time. (If Joe had talked about protectionism and tort reform, it would have been ideal, but one can have only so much political good fortune.) This is the heart of the “choice election” formula (as opposed to “experience vs. choice”) which McCain has been struggling to articulate.
If he gives this speech (or the Alfred E. Smith roast remarks) every day and repeats the substance in every interview — with a reminder that the trio of Obama-Reid-Pelosi will be an unchecked liberal juggernaut — he might make the race very interesting. And he might even keep the network anchors up late.