Only weeks after leaving office in 2017, a former politician discovers a leak under his sink, so he calls Joe the Plumber to come out and fix it. Joe drives to the new house located in a very exclusive, gated community near Chicago where all the residents have a net income of more than $250,000 per year.
Joe arrives and takes his tools into the house. Joe is led to the guest bathroom that contains the leaky pipe under the sink. Joe assesses the problem and tells the politician that it’s an easy repair that will take less than 10 minutes. He asks Joe how much it will cost. Joe checks his rate chart and says, “$9,500.”
“What?!” he asks, stunned. But you said it’s an easy repair and my wife will whip me if I pay a plumber that much!”
Joe explains, “Yes, but what I do is charge those who make $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 the 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, our friendly politician tells Joe there’s no way he’s paying that much for a small plumbing repair, so Joe leaves. Our politician 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 Joe’s price, he does nothing and the leak goes unrepaired for several more days.
A week later, the leak is so bad that he has had to put a bucket under the sink. His wife 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 that the room will flood, so our humble politician calls Joe and pleads with him to return.
Joe goes back to the politician’s house, looks at the leaky pipe, checks his new rate chart and says, “Let’s see, this will now cost you $21,000.”
The politician quickly fires back, “What?! A few days ago you told me it would cost $9,500!
Joe explains, “Well, because of the ‘Affordable Plumbing Act’, a lot of wealthier people are learning how to maintain their own plumbing, so there are fewer payers into 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. This has unfortunately 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’.”