Thursday, October 23, 2008


Dear Joe the Plumber,

My name is Joe the Soldier. I noticed you have been getting a lot of attention in the national media lately. I even saw a couple clips of interviews with you on the Armed Forces Network while I was eating in our chow hall in Diyala Province. I watched you complain about everything from immigration to taxes while I ate an omelet which was prepared by Pakistanis and sponsored by Uncle Sam. I tried to ignore your rant, but as I peered over the crowd of smiling, laughing Infantrymen who wolfed down their breakfast before rolling out to patrol the streets of Iraq, my gaze kept returning to the plumber from Ohio who seemed so unhappy to be standing in his driveway with the liberty to complain about his government. And it was at that moment that I was inspired by your shiny head to reflect; you and I have some similarities, but quite a few more differences.

Let's start with the similarities. Like you, my name really isn't Joe. We both use that moniker because...well, it sounds good. You made $40k last year. That is pretty close to my base pay in 2007, and far more than that of the Soldiers which I just described. I believe we both genuinely want to live the American Dream.

Let's look at the differences. You recently showed up at a Barack Obama rally to ask him why he will raise your taxes. Apparently you didn't hear that he will only raise taxes on those with a quarter million dollars of income, or you actually believe that, as a plumber, you will make that much money. Either way, as a Soldier, I can't afford to be that inattentive or unrealistic. You cast yourself as a regular guy, a common man in Middle America. Yet in each interview you continue to complain about the price you pay for membership in the world's greatest nation. I could find many things to complain about too, but my sense of duty shifts my focus to the fruits of our labors and the benefits of all the sacrifices that I have witnessed. I hope you enjoy your freedom as much as you enjoy complaining about how much it costs you, but I honestly don't mind if it is such a high price that you may have to sacrifice a little to keep it...join the club!

Possibly the most striking difference between us is that you have forgotten the legacy which the great generations in our history passed down. It is a legacy of mutual sacrifice and shared hardship. During World War Two, most people didn't complain when they were drafted, they gladly went to fight in a just war. Those who were unable to fight were a part of the war effort at home. They put their cars on blocks and rationed goods to ensure that the troops had what they needed. Taxes were much higher back then. But there were no tax cuts in those days because the country could not afford it in a time of war and it seemed immoral to pass the cost on
Times have really changed since then, haven't they Joe? Since the start of this war, our national debt has risen to almost $11 trillion thanks to multiple tax cuts to the richest Americans. I can't understand why you, Joe, as a plumber, are fooled into advocating for these millionaires who complain about their taxes returning to the level they were under Ronald Reagan. Isn't it strange that a plumber making $40k per year is complaining on behalf of the top 1% of income earners while our Armed Forces, comprised mainly of middle and low-income Americans(the sons and daughters of plumbers you might say), are sent to fight two wars because "Freedom isn't Free?"

I am sorry Joe the Plumber, I can't sympathize with your complaints. Partly because I don't believe that a plumber will make $250k, meaning you will actually get a slight tax cut if Obama becomes President. But mainly because I think you can handle the taxes you are currently paying. You supported this war, right? You think we should have the best military in the world,don't you? Well, those things cost money. As an American making $40k, you already paid close to the lowest tax rate of any similar wage-earner in the Industrialized World. And look at the return on your investment: you get to live in America and complain about all those taxes you paid! I do believe that we both want to live the American Dream, but after 14 months in Iraq with a unit that lost 12 heroes to the Ultimate Sacrifice, I am sorely disappointed that you whine so much about the meager price you are asked to pay for it.


William H. Smith. Captain, United States Army

1 comment:

Jen Haskill said...

William, thank you for what you do for us everyday. There is a monumental difference between supporting our troops in their efforts and supporting our government's choices to take us to war. And as a Democrat who supports Obama, the troops have always had my respect, appreciation, prayer and love. With you sacrifice and the sacrifice of so many others like you, our world would be absent of the freedoms we enjoy everyday. I can only imagine the sacrifice that service men and women like you make; what an affect it has on your lives forever. This country owes all of you the return home you deserve - one that helps put the pieces back together of your lives, gives you the support and respect you need to re-enter society and give you an opportunity to achieve your American Dream. God Bless you and bring you home safely.