So Joe the Plumber has a fancy new union job with… Chrysler:
As the Toledo Blade reports, Joe the Plumber — a.k.a. Samuel Wurzelbacher — says he was required to join the United Auto Workers, now that he works for a union shop, and claims he’s been called a “Tea Bagger” by at least one pro-union co-worker. “I’m a Republican who was cast into the limelight for having the temerity to confront Barack Obama on the question of redistributing wealth,” Joe says. “But I’m a working man, and I’m working.”
The union angle is fun, but it’s worth noting another interesting and amusing irony to this tale.
It appears plausible that Joe the Plumber may not have gotten this auto job if it weren’t for the hated bailout of the auto industry, which was first championed by George W. Bush and then became a leading symbol for years of Obama’s penchant for big-footed government intervention in the private market.***
Sean McAlinden, who has studied the auto-bailout as the chief economist for the non-profit Center for Automotive Research, tells me it’s likely Joe’s new job is at one of two Chrysler plants currently operating in Toledo, Ohio, Joe’s home town. (I’ve emailed Joe asking for more info.)
“He wouldn’t have gotten a job in Toledo if Chrysler hadn’t been bailed out,” McAlinden tells me. “The unemployment rate in Toledo would have been at 15 percent.”
Here’s Joe in 2012 when he was running for office:
Wurzelbacher speaks more like a third way centrist than a Tea Party tribune. His agenda: tax reform, cutting regulation. “I believe we’re completely out of balance. There’s got to be a center here.” He’s opposed to green initiatives. He thinks the auto bailouts were an example of government overreach. “Most of my neighbors work at Jeep and GM, but most of them disagreed with the bailout,” he says. Neither party has been significantly aggressive on simplifying the tax code. He’d like to audit the Federal Reserve and go through the budget line by line. “They want to scare people and talk about cutting Social Security and Medicare,” he says. “Nobody talks about going through the budget line by line.”
Not that he will learn a damned thing.