An Open Letter To Joe The Plumber

October 20, 2008

Hi, Joe. In an early article which I read about you, you expressed the hope that someone would let you know if you were making a fool of yourself. Nudge, nudge – you are.

See Joe, I work with small businesses every day and, based on what I’ve read about you and how the actual tax plans about which you are so concerned would affect you, I question your abilities to actually run a business. I doubt that a business with you at the helm would be a going concern long enough for this matter to be anything more than a hypothetical in your world. So, relax.

Furthermore, Joe, as someone that has actually paid my taxes for the twenty-five years since I started working, the fact that you owe back taxes makes you less than credible. Or, perhaps your refusal to pay your taxes is some heroic protest against our country’s slide into socialism.

But those quibbles are business. May I get personal for a moment, Joe? Should you acquire this business and should you gross a quarter million dollars, I’ve read that you’d stand to pay roughly $900 in additional taxes (provided that, you know, you actually paid your taxes). At this theoretical level of income, would such an amount truly cause your quality of life to be shattered beyond repair?

See, Joe, I don’t gross a quarter million dollars a year – not even close – so I do understand the value of a dollar or two. I would guess that a few of the estimated 750,000 people who have lost jobs this year do as well.

Instead of looking at potentially paying a bit more in taxes as socialism, try thinking of it as generosity, compassion or, dare I suggest, karma. If you consider yourself to be a Christian, Joe – and I’d wager that you do – file it under being your brother’s keeper. See, Joe, it’s a good thing to help others. Someday, you yourself might just need a hand.

Oh, and as I now read you’re getting prickly about all of the media scrutiny, I have a suggestion there as well. Turn down the interviews, don’t appear with John McCain at a rally (as I read you might), and pass on the inevitable offers for book deals, commercial endorsements, reality shows, and whatnot.

To be folksy – and you do strike me as a folksy fellow, Joe – I offer you the words I often heard from my grandfather and father…

…if you don’t want to get stepped on by the elephants, don’t go where the elephants are.

So, Joe, while you sort it all out, maybe you’ll console yourself with these songs by more noteworthy Joes.

Joe Walsh – Life’s Been Good

Joe Jackson – I’m The Man

Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers – American Babylon

Joe Satriani – Ceremony