Hooray for Joe

There are two methods, or means, and only two, whereby man’s needs and desires can be satisfied. One is the production and exchange of wealth; this is the economic means. The other is the uncompensated appropriation of wealth produced by others; this is the political means. The primitive exercise of the political means was, as we have seen, by conquest, confiscation, expropriation, and the introduction of a slave economy… The feudal State, and the merchant-State…. are merely higher integrations of the primitive State. The State… is the organization of the political means. Now since man tends always to satisfy his needs and desires with the least possible exertion, he will employ the political means whenever he can… He will… have recourse to the State’s modern apparatus of exploitation; the apparatus of tariffs, concessions, rent-monopoly, and the like. -Nock, Our Enemy the State, ch.2, p.58-59

Recently I left the world of IT to start a business venture, so Joe the Plumber gave me a good laugh. One of the great things about my business venture is that I’ve left the white-collar world of IT and now I’m interfacing more with guys who paint, who install stuff, who provide various services. They are industrious, skilled people who are out serving others, whether they know it or not. Starting a business is incredibly hard, but working with these folks is fun.

Plumber Joe threw a far more damaging punch to Obama’s gut than anything Humpty McCain and all his high-powered advisors have managed. Exactly why should a man invest years of savings, work very long days, employ others, and provide useful services to society, then be punished for this by having his money forcibly extracted to give to others who have not done these things? Why do we provide bad incentives? It is nothing but immorality and outright thievery; there’s no gun and no mask, but it’s a stick-up all the same.

What percentage of regulation-happy bureaucrats and politicians have ever run a business or provided a useful service via their vocation, yet are ready and willing to create burdens for those who do? They sit in their office with their aides and decide who is making more than they deserve and try to punish them accordingly. They redistribute other people’s money in exchange for power. It is appalling that these folks who’ve never had a real job themselves and who I wouldn’t hire in my business always think they can regulate my business better than I can. They’re leeches.

Similarly, attorneys who add ridiculous costs and regulations on society to enrich themselves. I can’t even begin to describe the areas in a business where there aren’t burdensome costs where the stench of past trials is very clear. You can’t even interview someone without tiptoeing through the landmine of potential lawsuits. Another example is what an insurance agent told me about worker’s comp: someone gets “hurt” on the job, they call the lawyer they see on TV, then the claim instantly jumps from, say, $1,000 to $20,000. And the end result is that the attorney gets the bulk of the money and everyone’s premiums go up. And of course, that gets passed on to consumers. Winner: the attorney. Losers: everyone else.

We really need fewer leeches. How do you know if you’re a leech? Well, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you are doing something that no one would voluntarily pay you or your employer to do?
  2. Are you doing something that the vast majority of sensible people resent (e.g. personal injury attorneys and union bosses)?
  3. Would you be more helpful to society if you were paid not to work?

If you answered yes to any of these, you’re leeching, and I think Joe the Plumber would agree: go get a real job!

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