Friday, March 13, 2015

Obama and "Affordable Plumbing": a Parable

Only weeks after leaving office on Jan. 20, 2017, former President Barack Obama discovers a leak under his sink, so he calls Troy the Plumber to come out and fix it.

Troy drives to Obama’s new house, which is located in a very exclusive, gated community near Chicago where all the residents have a net income of way more than $250,000 per year.

Troy arrives and takes his tools into the house. He is led to the guest bathroom that contains the leaky pipe under the sink. Troy assesses the problem and tells Obama that it’s an easy repair that will take less than 10 minutes. Obama asks Troy how much it will cost. Troy checks his rate chart and says, “$9,500.”

 “What?! $9,500?!” Obama asks, stunned, “But you said it’s an easy repair. Michelle will whip me if I pay a plumber that much!”

Troy says, “Yes, but what I do is charge those who make more than $250,000 per year a much higher amount so I can fix the plumbing of poorer people for free. This has always been my philosophy. As a matter of fact, I lobbied the Democrat Congress, who passed this philosophy into law. Now all plumbers must do business this way. It’s known as the ‘Affordable Plumbing Act of 2014′. I’m surprised you haven’t heard of it.”

In spite of that, Obama tells Troy there’s no way he’s paying that much for a small plumbing repair, so Troy leaves. Obama spends the next hour flipping through the phone book calling for another plumber, but he finds that all other plumbing businesses in the area have gone out of business.

Not wanting to pay Troy’s price, Obama does nothing and the leak goes unrepaired for several more days. A week later the leak is so bad Obama has had to put a bucket under the sink. Michelle is not happy as she has Oprah and guests arriving the next morning.

The bucket fills up quickly and has to be emptied every hour, and there’s a risk the room will flood, so Obama calls Troy and pleads with him to return. Troy goes back to Obama’s house, looks at the leaky pipe, checks his new rate chart and says, “Let’s see, this will now cost you $21,000.” Obama quickly fires back, “What? A few days ago you told me it would cost $9,500!”

Troy explains, “Well, because of the ‘Affordable Plumbing Act,’ a lot of wealthier people are learning how to maintain and take care of their own plumbing, so there are fewer payers in the plumbing exchanges. As a result, the price I have to charge wealthy people like you keeps rising.

“Not only that, but for some reason the demand for plumbing work by those who get it for free has skyrocketed! There’s a long waiting list of those who need repairs, but the amount we get doesn’t cover our costs, especially paperwork and record-keeping. This unfortunately has put a lot of my fellow plumbers out of business, they’re not being replaced, and nobody is going into the plumbing business because they know they can’t make any money at it. I’m hurting too, all thanks to greedy rich people like you who won’t pay their ‘fair share’.

“On the other hand, why didn’t you buy plumbing insurance last December? If you had bought plumbing insurance available under the ‘Affordable Plumbing Act,’ all this would have been covered by your policy.”

“You mean I wouldn’t have to pay anything to have you fix my plumbing problem?” asks Obama.

“Well, not exactly,” replies Troy. “You would have had to buy the insurance before the deadline, which has passed now. And, because you’re rich, you would have had to pay $34,000 in premiums, which would have given you a ‘silver’ plan, and then, since this would have been your first repair, you would have to pay up to the $21,000 deductible, and anything over that would have a $7,500 co-pay, and then there’s the mandatory maintenance program, which is covered up to 17.5%, so there are some costs involved. Nothing is for free.”

“WHAT?!” exclaims Obama. “Why so much for a puny sink leak?!”

With a bland look, Troy replies, “Well, paperwork, mostly, as I said. And the internal cost of the program itself. You don’t think a program of this complexity and scope can run itself, do you? Besides, there are millions of folks with lower incomes than you, even many in the ‘middle class’, who qualify for subsidies that people like you must support. That’s why they call it the ‘Affordable Plumbing Act’! Only people who don’t make much money can afford it.

“If you want affordable plumbing, you’ll have to give away most of what you have accumulated and cut your and Michelle’s income by about 90%. Then you can qualify to get your ‘Fair Share’ instead of giving it.”

“But who would pass a crazy law like the ‘Affordable Plumbing Act’?!” exclaims the exasperated Obama.

After a sigh, Troy replies, “Congress… because they never bother to read what they vote on. They just vote for the idea, such as ‘affordable plumbing.’ ”


  1. I love it, and have to share this son Facebook.

  2. I am passing this on ...under "Affordable Curmudgeon Act"

  3. This is a great article. Of course, the situation is even worse than this parable makes it appear, because we don't have laws restricting who can be a plumber or requiring a plumber in order to obtain plumbing supplies. I can't be my own doctor, and I can't obtain medications, even if I need them, without the permission of a doctor. If I try to do so, even if I succeed, my reward may be to be caught, prosecuted, and imprisoned for doing so. Of course, then, the government would be required to take care of my medical conditions -- but what if I'm needing to do this for someone else, an elderly loved one for instance?

  4. Notice, please, that Obama didn't have the bones to call Joe the Plumber.

  5. Replies
    1. Sharing this with you because your old post reminded our family of the following story written by our daughter, and it is both a prez election year and tax time.

      The System
      By KI (age 14), November 17, 2010

      Once upon a time, there was a man. His name was George. Now George lived in a quiet cul-de-sac in a quiet neighborhood where things were, as you can imagine, pretty quiet. So he was surprised when the doorbell rang one day. A visitor!
      George opened the door and said, “Hello?”
      Standing outside was a man who wore a suit, held a briefcase, and was generally all business-like.
      “Good morning. Is this the Citizen residence?”
      “Yes, in fact, it is,” George said politely.
      “Ah, excellent. My name is John Government. It would be in your best interest to invite me in.”
      George, a little bewildered, stepped aside and said, “Come in,” as Mr. Government pushed his way past. Mr. Government sat at the table and motioned for George to sit across from him. He unclasped his case with a loud snap and opened it, revealing towers of papers which he began to organize and reorganize as he talked.
      “It has reached our notice that you need some regulating. You have two choices open to you: One, we could restrict your access to certain services and/or products based on your current status as a,” here he looked at a paper, “'thirty-five-year-old Caucasian Male'. Or two, we could take a portion of your income (to be used for the government's expenses, but most importantly for the Social Good) based on what you buy, sell, earn, receive, and give away and your status as a thirty-five-year-old Caucasian Male.”
      George stared at Mr. Government. “I– I don't quite understand.”
      Mr. Government looked up at George. “Do you want to be restricted or taxed?”
      “I, uh, well.... What would be restricted?”
      “Certain foods, alcoholic drinks, news publications, books, furniture, and houses that you can buy, access to public buildings, public transportation, bonuses, refunds, etc.”
      “Hmm. And what would be taxed?”
      “A great many things.” Mr. Government continued to shuffle around his papers but kept his dull eyes on George.
      Meanwhile, George's forehead was wrinkled in thought. “Isn't there another choice? Perhaps one where I wouldn't have as much stuff taken away?”
      “Next election you could vote for our opponents. They won't take as many personal objects and entitlements, but the programs that benefit your social group will have to be terminated in order to meet budgets.”
      “Oh, that's bad, isn't it?”
      Mr. Government nodded sympathetically.
      George said, “I guess taxes sound the best to me. What do I have to do?”
      Mr. Government smiled with grim satisfaction and straightened his papers. “Simply stay out of debt and pay the taxes and fees on time. We'll do the math.”