So Joe The Plumber doesn’t exist. He’s not Joe, he’s not a plumber and he hasn’t paid his taxes. Yet the good guy is still at the core of the presidential campaign. The real Joe does not exist ? No problem, we’re not going to talk about the man known as Joe The Plumber, but we’re going to talk about Joe the concept. That’s a very powerful argument, indeed: if Joe the Plumber is not Joe The Plumber, let’s say that YOU are Joe The Plumber. You are that poor young (old) man (woman) who is crushed by crazy government spending and afraid of the tall black guy who’s going to increase your taxes.
In some ways, I think that Joe The Plumber is similar to the Laffer curve. The latter, though it has long been brought to disrepute by both facts and further research, is still a very convenient way to depict the evils of government to a larger audience.
The market of ideas is imperfect. Even humbugs survive.
PS: 1) I can’t wait to see Parts II and III, 2) Thanks, Tiago, for the discussion !