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Joe the Plumber a Drain for McCain?

Posted by: Jane Sasseen on October 16

Boy, plumbers haven’t made such a splash around the political scene since the Watergate days.

Joe the Plumber became America’s latest instant celebrity after John McCain repeatedly refered to him in the final presidential debate on Wednesday night. McCain seized on his story after video footage surfaced from earlier in the week of Joe Wurzelbacher — that’s Joe the Plumber’s real name — quizzing Barack Obama over his tax plans. Wurzelbacher, a single father from outside of Toledo, wanted to know if his taxes would go up under Obama if he bought a plumbing business that he said would bring him annual income over $250,000.

McCain repeatedly cited Joe’s story as he tried to convince voters that average working Americans would fare better under his economic program than they would under those of his rival. Joe quickly became a media sensation, generating more media buzz around the Arizona Senator’s campaign than it has seen since the days after he named Sarah Palin. Joe was interviewed by Katie Couric on CBS, gave a series of impromtu press conferences and garnered headlines all across the country. And by mid-afternoon on Thursday, McCain’s campaign released an ad on You Tube featuring Obama’s encounter with Joe.

All of which begs a rather obvious question: did leaning so heavily on Joe actually help McCain?

Certainly, not all of the media attention was the kind the campaign may have welcomed. The internet quickly filled up with stories pointing out a few problems with Joe's story: according to the New York Times, he's not a licensed plumber and he may owe back taxes. Bloomberg weighed in with more details on his potential tax issues, while Newsweek pointed out that he would probably do better under Obama's tax plans than under McCain's. Meanwhile, conservative strategist Martin Eisenstadt pointed out that Wurzelbacher may have links to Charles Keating, the savings and loan executive at the heart of the Keating 5 political scandal that ensnared McCain in the late 1980s.

Perhaps more important, according to two pollsters who conducted focus groups of undecided voters during the debate, undecided voters don't seem to have thought much of McCain's use of Joe. Stan Greenberg of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner quizzed 50 such voters in Denver during the final face-off between the candidates. Their response to McCain's Joe the Plumber riffs? The room filled with "a lot of snickering," he says. "They didn't view it as authentic."

That's one reason, says Greenberg, that his group of voters emerged from the debate with a more favorable view of Obama on taxes. At the beginning of the debate, 42% of the undecideds thought Obama had a better position on taxes than McCain, while 20% favored McCain's position. Ninety minutes later, Obama was ahead 52% to 20%. "Taxes are a central issue; in order to change the race, McCain had to erode Obama on taxes," says Greenberg. According to his focus group, that didn't happen.

Now, some might dismiss those views as predictable, coming from Greenberg: he's a prominent Democratic pollster who works with uber-Dem strategist James Carville. Together, the pair are behind Democracy Corps, a progressive polling and strategy group. A full report on the Denver focus group is available here, on their site.

But Frank Luntz, a well-known Republican pollster who was conducting a focus group with 23 undecided voters in Miami Wednesday night, found much the same reaction.

Luntz says McCain's use of Joe to make his case to average Americans seemed a good idea at first, but it became gimmicky and lost its effectiveness as the night wore on. "It worked initially to help humanize the argument McCain was making. But the idea was beaten to death; people didn't like it because they heard it too much," he adds. By the final time McCain highlighted Joe in the debate, Luntz adds, "one of the guys in the room was shouting 'enough already.'"

The reaction to Joe appears to be one of many reasons why the undecided voters in both groups, like many other polls, gave the third debate to Obama.

Among Greenberg's Denver voters, 8% leaned slightly towards McCain at the beginning, while 4% slightly favored Obama; 88% were undecided. By the end of the debate, 20% prefered McCain, while 42% said they were in Obama's camp.

As for Luntz's group of 23 voters in Miami, 4 were leaning towards McCain at the start, 3 were leaning towards Obama, and 16 were undecided. As the night drew to a close, 4 people had shifted to Obama, while McCain didn't pick up anyone.

Reader Comments

Carol Eblen

October 16, 2008 11:17 PM

Obviously, as Joe admitted today, he would actually get a tax break under the Obama plan.

I'm sure Joe is both enjoying and hating his 15 minutes of fame that Senator McCain gave to him and is realizing that he has been used by both John McCain and Barack Obama to make their points to the undecided voters.

The statistics on small businesses that incorporate as S Corporations or Limited Partners etc. bear out that only a very few of the small businesses who report their income on their 1040's would pay any higher taxes under Obama's plan.

McCain tried to use Joe to convince Americans that tax increases on people who make $200,000 or more in income would impact middle class Americans who operate small businesses but the facts refute this implication.

Obviously, the idea of spreading the wealth a little frightens those with the greatest wealth, and those who would hope to join them --- except Warren Buffet who admits that he doesn't pay enough in taxes and who supports Senator Obama and his vision.

Enough already!

Rebecca lee

October 17, 2008 01:04 AM

It was the subject of talk radio the next day. What was interesting is it seemed like a whole new layer of the populace understands Joe's tax question.....or at least it got them to think about Joe's question and/or what it would be like to be Joe.

Alan Srout

October 17, 2008 01:34 AM

What was that sound I just heard? Oh, a backfire! They've screwed the pooch this time. It was bad enough what they did to Governor Sarah Palin and her family, but she's a politician and we expect them to be able to handle the rough-and-tumble, especially in the big leagues! But Joe the Plumber is just like you-and-me, a working stiff, dreaming of buying out his boss someday and becoming successful. He's not running for anything, yet they send private eyes, opposition research and the media after him because he inadvertently embarrassed Lord Obama! Friends, that is what Kim Jung Il, Mao, Hitler, Stalin or Pol Pot would've done! This is America, not a tyrannical dictatorship! Tomorrow I will make 200 phone calls in support of McCain/Palin and send them $200, and I challenge everyone here to do the same!!

Hugo van Randwyck

October 17, 2008 05:44 AM

Senator McCain could talk more about how plumbing skills could be used for installing solar thermal hot water systems - green collar jobs - and expanding renewable energy rebates. If you're looking for positive news in the economy, try googling: renewable energy jobs growth america. ASES News has a report showing massive expansion in jobs - using the $700 billion would help this process.


October 17, 2008 10:43 AM

Dr. Tantillo, who has a marketing blog , did a post at the end of last week on the demise of John McCain's brand.

"John McCain has a serious marketing problem.  It’s more than just coherence; it’s about forgetting your Target Market."

To my mind, McCain's use of Joe-The-Plumber as a hackneyed crutch was a poor, grasping-in-the-dark attempt to reach his supposed Target Market.

Hopefully, "Joe" and others like him read at least one of the articles out there that sets the tax plans straight for them so they are at least voting for the candidate/tax plan they think they are.

Tantillo's full post


October 17, 2008 11:39 AM

I noticed that Martin Eisenstadt, the blogger/pundit/war profiteer, is in the news again as the McCain insider who broke the story connecting "Joe the plumber" to Charles Keating. I recently shot an unauthorized mini documentary on Martin Eisenstadt called "The Last Republican" that I am showing as a webseries on my youtube channel, "youkaysam".
At times charming and knowledgeable, Martin is, in fact, a dangerous McCain surrogate who hides behind layers and half truths that I like to believe I succeeded in identifying and exposing.


October 17, 2008 12:13 PM

Funny how this story fails to mention that the reason Joe was mentioned in the debate was Obama's answer to him - I wonder if Jane has any focus group numbers concerning voter's reactions to confiscatory income redistribution schemes ...


October 17, 2008 04:13 PM

The liberal-lefties and MSM just HATE ordinary folks. Maybe they would feel better if "Emil, the Wine-sipping Snob" had said the same things that Joe said.

USA Akbar

October 17, 2008 04:22 PM

Obama - "We want to spread the wealth around."


October 17, 2008 04:22 PM

I'm sorry ... since when is an income of $250K/year considered middle class? My small business makes $100,000 and I pay myself $60,000 ... come talk to me

Steve Bukosky

October 17, 2008 04:31 PM

I don't care about Joe's personal warts. I care about his message as should anybody not already in the tank for Obama. As a person in the trades and having wanted to buy an existing business, Joe's question is valid and hits at the worries of middle class people wanting a business and employing other people in order to thrive. As things are, government presents a huge obstruction in launching new business. Those with a good business plan and marketing research need nuturing to get on their feet buy reducing or eliminating all taxes for at least two years or until a net profit is sustained.


October 17, 2008 04:36 PM

"confiscatory income redistribution schemes"'re an idiot...its called progressive taxation...from that wild-eyed communist Adam Smith...wealth of nations...dearth of intelligence.


October 17, 2008 04:37 PM

Where have I seen the use of these kind of plumbers before-- OH yea, NIXON! McCain is FINISHED.


October 17, 2008 04:39 PM

This is ridiculous -- an American citizen asks a candidate a legitimate question, and instead of focusing on the issue, the MSM is investigation and reporting personal information about him. American citizens consider this acceptable, and some are even relishing joining in on the mud slinging. Why is his personal life relevant to the issue at hand? He is not running for office. He only posed a question that he has every right to ask.

Regardless of whether he makes $250,000, regardless of whether he has a plumber's license, and regardless of whether he owes taxes, he asked a question for which the answer should be important to everyone. Voters need to decide if “spreading the wealth” is a philosophy that they are comfortable with and can support. If so, fine – but the point is not Joe the plumber himself, but the question asked and the answer given.

Don’t crucify the questioner – just use what you have learned from the question and answer to help in your election decision.


October 17, 2008 04:57 PM

Maybe joethe plumber or whatever he does, should take advantage of the money he is getting to be used as a toy by the media and the Republicans. He should first pay off his TAXES. Then he should be a good little conservative and reinvest the rest of the earnings into the market, like MR. Buffet suggested. Hell he may even get to buy that $500,000 plumbing biz, and finally get his license. If so, being a biz owner myself, he would still do better under Obamas plan, because his income after expenses would be around $150-200,000 a year, which would put him in great standing under Obama. Plus if he does break that $250 mark, his taxes only go up about a $1000 more a year. WoW. thats a real pincher. Take away a $1000 from someone who makes $15,000 a year it hurts, off 250,000 a year, you can spend that on a fun weekend alone. GIve me a break. Joe, go stick ur Bald head back up ur bald Azz.ANd no I'm not a freakin wine sipping yuppie liberal, I am from working class roots and still am working class, but it don't mean I want to stay that way.


October 17, 2008 04:57 PM

It's incredible that the media is dragging Joe the Plumber through the mud. He asked a question and got an HONEST answer. Now his unexpected celebrity has opened him up to ridicule. The fact is the only reason people are siting him on his personal life is to try and deflect attention from the response to his question. LAY OFF THE GUY!


October 17, 2008 05:00 PM

I am a Joe the Plumber type. You can bet we are going to get nailed by Obama on higher taxes and greater loss of rights. Look at the intimidation the Obama supporters are using to suppress Joe and even make fun of him.

The spreading of wealth through socialism is a lie and everyone knows it, there is no way it can work or any country can afford it. Obama is just using useful idiots to try to buy votes.

Obama and his corruption are the fifth Column. Maybe you should do a editorial on how Acorn uses intimidation to get money from banks or how Obama and Soros are connected to Acorn. You could also do a piece on how the liberals are using intimidation on voters and how Hillary even filed a public complaint against the outright corruption of Obama.


October 17, 2008 05:11 PM

Personally Joe the Plumber needs to relax...and so does everyone that is buggin off people with money having to pay taxes...try making 30,000 a year and get taxed, then make 250,000 a year and get taxed....its hard on all of us. Obama is just saying that if you have more money, why not help out more...only people with money see this as a problem... the whole thing is ridicilous...if you are going to ask the president something, make sure your chips are in line first. the guy already owes back taxes...from when he wasnt making that much money, sounds like Joe just looking for arguments..


October 17, 2008 05:16 PM

$200,000 a year...thats middle class?

Joe the Regretful

October 17, 2008 05:29 PM

It's about credibility. Joe claimed to be something he's not, on several fronts. Have any of you ever heard of the saying, "Consider the Source." If a guy complains about how high his taxes will go and it turns out he doesn't pay his taxes, that's what the legal professinal calls relevency. It goes to his character, his veracity. Bottome line: Joe thrust himself into the spotlight of an intense presidential campaign and now he's feeling the heat.

Not the AlAN idiot above

October 17, 2008 05:47 PM

Trickle down does not work, even with only a BA in Economics I can tell you it's all about supply and demand... Since our economy is 70% based on consumers, you have to get the money in the hands of the demanders not the suppliers... If I own a company and the goverment gives me more money but there is no increase for my product... the money just goes in my pocket and I HIRE NO ONE!!!!!

Susie Ball

October 17, 2008 05:48 PM

The more they drag Joe the Plumber thru mud the smaller the media looks


October 17, 2008 05:48 PM

McCain is the only choice for the American Dream to be reality. Wake up Liberals, you're giving away your country!


October 17, 2008 05:51 PM

Joe did wind up in the middle of a media frenzy, not because he attended an Obama rally and asked a question, but because McCain thrust him into the national spotlight by bring him up on a nationally televised debate! Joe got used by McCain and McCain never “vetted” Joe to be sure that the story really was at face value – which now seems to be quite suspect.

I find it very had to believe that Joe would forgo $250,000 a year, from his current 40 – 50 grand, because he had to pay 3 percentage points difference in taxes under Obama than McCain. And if he did, what kind of idiot would say “no thanks” to a quarter million bucks because he didn’t want to pay $7,500? Humm, I can make 200 grand more, but pay 7,500 in taxes, netting 193 grand… yeah, I’ll pass…


October 17, 2008 05:58 PM

Alan Srout,
Comparing Obama (or as you like to call him "Lord Obama") and Obama supporters to Kim Jung Il, Mao, Hitler, Stalin or Pol Pot...that's terrible! You are exactly what is wrong with this country. Prejudice is not what we need right now. Hitler killed millions and millions of innocent people and you want to compare him to Obama!? You should be ashamed of yourself. Obama is NOT a terrorist nor is he responsible for the deaths of millions and millions of innocent lives. You are an embarrassment to yourself and to America. And I'm sure everyone else here will agree with me.

Arun Ramakrishnan

October 17, 2008 05:58 PM

seriously , lets get this straight.
someone who nets 200K+ annual income is clearly not middle class.
less than 4% of the american households earn more than 200K.

If someone who earns 250K is not prepared to pay slightly higher percentage in taxes than someone who earns less than 100K.
Then , clearly they are not acting in the best interests of the country.


October 17, 2008 06:00 PM

Joe the Plumber shouldn't be worried about taxes, he should be worried about who's gonna hire him when money's so tight, and where can he get a loan to buy the business he wants. Skilled trades will be the next casualty of the recession/depression.

michael m

October 17, 2008 06:01 PM

McCain attempted to use this 'plumber' as an example of what's admirable about America: sturdy individualist drive and ambition.

The problem is, the truth about the real man reveals someone who is an exponent of what is wrong with America.

He displays a disdain for paying taxes of any amount, resents the notion of social security, and displays all the symptoms of an angry white man. We don't need this.

I could have flung a dead possum in the street and hit someone more worthy of our kudos. McCain's campaign should lose just based on its ineptitude.

Concerned American

October 17, 2008 06:04 PM

You liberals are really disgusting.

If Joe the Plumber had said he was supporting Obama, he would have been carried into Rome with flowers paving the way.

The really good thing is, what so many have suspected for so long is now coming into the light of day.

Brandon Fields

October 17, 2008 06:07 PM

It's over! You can hear the heavyset woman singing at a McPalin rally. Enough of the Fat Elephant lies. VOTE OBAMA!!!


October 17, 2008 06:08 PM

Give me a break, haven't you heard "Joe the Plumber" is from Alaska. Yes I agree that it is terrible that people are so small minded that they have to lie and manipulate inorder to win. If and a big if that is; if Joe the Plumber wasn't a plant then yes I also feel sorry for him, but if he was then he brought this on himself. And mind you John McCain is the one you made him so famous. John McCain talked more about Joe the Plumber than he did about his own tax plan. Wake up america, the best person for President isn't the one who can cut someone down all the time. When you apply for a county or government job, you go through a panel of people that ask you questions. One of the ways they decide who gets the job is if you have actually answered the question that is being asked. GIVE ME A BREAK, John McCain and Sarah Palin have used every means possible to avoid many questions. They continuously go off in left field. And to the man that is offering $200.00 for peoples vote, boy I have to tell you that is exactly why I am not a small minded republican.


October 17, 2008 06:11 PM

Joe - can't pay his taxes, plus he's not a Lic. plumber, this guy is a nut and sarah paulin is about dumb as a rock.


October 17, 2008 06:18 PM

Well why dont all your Mccain supporters blame him, he is the one that kept bringing up Joe the Plumber, i guess it backfired on him didnt it. Maybe he should have did little more research on Joe the Plumber before throwing his name around as many times as he did. maybe he the ones that try to set the questions up in the first place not knowing it was gonna come back to bite him in his pants. Next time McCain research your information before speaking on it.


October 17, 2008 06:22 PM

we know more about joe than we know about obama

Barbara maria

October 17, 2008 06:22 PM

Joe must understand, that if wealth is distributed then more people can buy houses and build bathrooms and need plumbers and make his business thrive. All his business is not going to help joe, if people cannot afford to use it.


October 17, 2008 06:23 PM

All this “dirt” on Joe is pure subterfuge! Obama went to his neighborhood seeking votes. As an American citizen planning to vote in November, Joe asks how Obama’s tax plan would affect him if he were to buy a plumbing business that makes $250,000/year. It is a completely legitimate question…there is nothing unfair or tricky about it. NOTHING the press is now digging up on the guy changes this or the answer that Obama gave.

- “Joe doesn’t have a license”…Big deal, the question and Obama’s answer are still legitimate.
-“Joe owes $1200 in back taxes”…So what, the question and Obama’s answer are still legitimate.
-“Joe’s real name is Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher”….I’m not sure how this is supposed to discredit Joe, however, the question and Obama’s answer are still legitimate.
-“Joe doesn’t even make $250,000”…So what, like many Americans, he hopes to EARN that much one day. It’s called the American dream!!!

The only thing these “stories” show is how incredibly biased and despicable the media has become. An ordinary American asks a simple question of a presidential candidate. The candidate provides a truthful answer that becomes embarrassing, putting the media’s candidate in a bad light and they are going to dig through garbage cans to destroy Joe’s life. It’s disgusting!

I don’t make $250,000 a year. I don’t want the government to take any more money from those that do to “spread the wealth”. That is socialism, pure and simple. Thanks Joe for helping to point this out!


October 17, 2008 06:24 PM

Joe the Plumber is a threat and the media knows it, that is why they are dragging him through the mud. It does not matter what his personal life story is. What matters is the question that he asked Senator Obama and his response.Redistribution of income was his answer "spread the wealth". When you take my money and then give it to people that don't even pay taxes that's just wrong.

jimmy mack

October 17, 2008 06:34 PM

If memory serve's me right it was John McCain who brought up Joe plumber, it was John McCain who outed him, and for his own gain ,but i know you McCainy,have your head in the sand and don't want to see straight, face it your going to lose this one.Joe the plumber what a dud.

tanya welk

October 17, 2008 06:45 PM

I am proud of you. sorry that they have to be jerks about bugging you.

You need to run for an office and help clean up the DNC.... They are pinkos and on their way to socialism

You go Joe !!


October 17, 2008 06:50 PM

What's wrong with spreading the wealth when 95% of the population are worse off under Bush and wanna-be McBush? Vote Obama - get someone with a IQ over 100 in the white house for a change.

John the Stumbler

October 17, 2008 07:00 PM

If "Joe the Plumber" was an average guy asking an honest question, then why was he so reluctant to acknowledge that, under Obabma's tax plan, he would actually be better off? The whole point of Obama's tax plan is to help the "real" average Joes out there. A person making more than $250,000 a year is not a "real" average Joe. So, if you are a Wall Street tycoon like Richard S. Fuld and you're mad because you are being asked to contribute a little bit more, then vote for McCain. However, if you're a "real" average Joe making less than $250,000 per year (which comprises over 95% of the population), then you would be well advised to vote for Obama.


October 17, 2008 07:00 PM

Bias and despicable media versus fox news ftw. give us all a break.

mr man

October 17, 2008 07:01 PM

I'm in 'Show Business' and I have had a few really good years.

Years good enough to where this 'liberal' was talked into getting a Corporation.

Holy guacamole Batman!

As much as I really don't mind paying my fair share of taxes (I really don't) my mind is still boggled by all the crap I can legally deduct as a Corporation.

Car - check
Office - check
SEP IRA - check
"Coporate Meetings" - check
Accounting, Legal, professional help of all kinds -- check, check and check

The point is that when or if 'Joe The Plumber' ever does use leverage to buy a Plumbing Business he could legitimately write of hundreds of thousands of dollars of expenses (trucks, salaries, office space,etc... )to where he may have a gross of 500k to a million bucks before he ever comes close to a personal salary of 250K.

It's reality.

But it sure as hell ain't fair to all the 'working stiffs'


Ex 'Working Stiff'


October 17, 2008 07:02 PM

Joe owes almost $2000 in back property taxes. Since he's unlicensed to practice plumbing in Toledo, he's under investigation thanks to McCain. The company he wants to buy only makes $100,000 according to the owner.

Obama did answer straightforwardly by saying Joe would pay more tax on profits over $250,000 at the same rate as during Reagan's administration. So if he profited $280,000, only the $30,000 would see a rise in taxes. This is a similar scheme that Palin did in Alaska to the oil companies where she was then able to balance Alaska's budget & return cash to everyone.

McCain didn't vet Joe's story before lambasting Obama publicly. This shows poor leadership.

Josephine Jackson

October 17, 2008 07:03 PM

This is simple, seventh grade economics, people. Here let me try to explain it.

Evil Businesses and Evil Faceless Corporations get taxed at higher rates.

Now they have less money to work with, so what do they do? Do they just suck it up and take a loss? Um NOoooooo, try to keep up here. They pass that added burden ON TO THEIR CUSTOMERS in the form of higher prices. They also cut costs by CUTTING JOBS AND WORKER BENEFITS. It's not rocket science.

So you all can sit back and get all drunk on the Obama Koolaid, and wallow in your disgusting socialist fantasy world where everyone "deserves" anything they want, while consumer prices go through the roof and unemployment follows suit.

But don't bother your pretty little head with thinking or anything -- you just keep pretending that Obama's wealth redistribution (aka SOCIALISM) won't affect the middle and lower classes.

And I guess in a way you're right -- his grand wealth redistribution plan won't affect the middle and lower classes. Unless of course those people want to do radical things like be able to afford food, clothing, and consumer products and oh if they still want a job.

It's simmple, seventh grade economics, people. But you are all so blinded by Obama's B.S. rhetoric that you're too stupid to see it or understand it.

Here's a newsflash: Socialism as a concept is an abject failure. It never works. It HAS never worked in any country that's tried it. It WILL never work, because it CAN'T work because it's a fundamentally flawed premise.

But let's not bother with silly things like facts. Master Obama makes us feeeeel good about ourselves.

It's absolutely shameful how blind so many seemingly intelligent people in this once great country have become, and what they are willing to settle for.

Barrack Hussain McCain

October 17, 2008 07:08 PM

Joe the Plumber asked a simple question. Why can I buy a business when you will tax me more than if I am working. Now we see how the Dems run amok with that thought. Who in their right mind would entertain the idea of free enterprise when they are just going to get shot down with this tax plan. It was an honest question and well deserved of an honest answer. The answer he got was that if I was in office 8 years ago, you would have more money to open your business now and I could tax you sooner. So much for the land of opportunity. Lets give it all away.

carson grey

October 17, 2008 07:12 PM

For all you complaining about socialism -- maybe you should've thought about that before you supported Bush through every corrupt scheme that he and his administration furthered, not to mention keeping him in office after the first disastrous 4 years.

What happened to the tax and spend liberal you've been squealing about?
Have you thouht about the borrow, steal, spend and lie conservatives?

A Democrat left us a record surplus,
a Republican is leaving us a record deficit.

You were SO concerned about someone ELSE having an abortion or some OTHER gay couple getting married that you gave this crackpot Administration free reign for 8 years so now you are

People voted on hate and fear and this is what you get.

Good luck.

Chris Barker

October 17, 2008 07:21 PM

Did any of you actually listen to Obama's answer to Joe's legitimate question? He didn't "tap dance around it", he answered directly and precisely.

In short: at $250,000 a year, the taxes would be the same. At less than $250,000 a year, the taxes would be lower, and at more than $250,000 a year the rate would be higher *on that portion over 250,000*.

I think this is what most people don't seem to understand about tax brackets. Under Obama's plan, the tax rate for over $250,000 a year would go from 36% to 39%. So if Joe made $250,001, he would own $0.03 more in taxes. If he made $350,000, he would only owe $3000 more in taxes under Obama's plan -- does that really sound so unfair? It sounds fair to me.

Another key point about taxes:

Sure, we'd love to all pay less taxes, but we have to fund the government somehow -- John McCain wants to keep spending a great deal of money on the war in Iraq, homeland security, tax credits for health insurance, etc.

However legitimate you think those expenses are, they have to be payed for somehow, and there are only two options:
taxes now or taxes (with interest) on your children.

So who should pay for all of this? Obama says the more fortunate should pay more, the middle class and poorer folks less. McCain says that the more fortunate folks and big businesses should pay less, and the middle classes and poorer folks the same (or less, maybe). If no one pays any more taxes, and some people pay less, we will have an even more massive deficit: recipe for even more national dept

No, McCain won't raise Joe's taxes, but he will saddle Joe's kids with an even more massive debt. Is that "sound fiscal policy" the Republicans like to credit themselves with?


October 17, 2008 07:22 PM

John did bring up Joe, and it's nice to see that he vetted Joe as well as he did Sarah!

Go John! Back to Arizona, time to retire...

A Fair Balance

October 17, 2008 07:22 PM

In order to understand the "Joe the Plumber" issue, let's say the Government needs to accumulate $1,000,000,000 (one billion dollars) in tax revenues. There are two different ways of getting the money. You can ask 95% of the people (the average Joes) to pay $30 each and ask the super-weathly to pay the rest (which is Obama's plan). OR you can ask 95% of the people to pay $31 each and ask the super weathy to pay less? Some people argue that Obama's plan is a "spread the wealth" socialist approach to collecting taxes. Would these same people be happier if 95% of the people were required to kick in $32 or $33 each so that the super wealthy were required to pay even less?


October 17, 2008 07:25 PM

Joe the plumber had a car that was a bummer now he will be able to drive a hummer cause obama is dumber.


October 17, 2008 07:27 PM

Joe the plumber had a car that was a bummer now he will be able to drive a hummer cause obama is dumber.


October 17, 2008 07:29 PM

Just goes to show what it will be like for the average Joe when you question Obama's plan. You will be set upon by Olberman, Maddow, Matthews and have your past history investigated and publicized all because you questioned the messiah. Who does this Joe guy think he is anyway? He questioned Obama!!! Off with his head. These democrats sure are tloerant and understanding aren't they.

John L

October 17, 2008 07:32 PM

As someone else pointed out above, the "socialism" that Joe is fixated on is the existence of a progressive income tax system -- something that has existed ever since income taxes have been around. This was not invented by Barack Obama.

If Joe wants to focus on growing socialism, I suggest he look at how the Bush administration has screwed up the regulatory financial landscape, and the consequences that are taking place in that arena -- as we speak and under a Republican administration.


October 17, 2008 07:53 PM

Why is the media all over Joe the Plumber. Staking him in his front yard. Actually investigating him. Wow, can't ask a question, get an answer without being investigated. How about questioning Bill Ayers?

Susie Q

October 17, 2008 08:01 PM

Please make Joe the plumber go away. He's not an issue. He's just another part of a stupid-ass McCain stunt. Oh yeah, McCain won't go away either, or Palin. The sooner Obama becomes President, the better we'll all be. Then we can breathe a sigh of relief.


October 17, 2008 08:04 PM

Joe the plumber was an example to all Americans that "spreading the wealth" would affect all Americans! The Small Business Administration considers any business under $300,000.00 to be a small business.

Like it or not...there are only two employers in this country, i.e., Private (Public) and Government. Taxes and Regulations has forced most public businesses your Obama tax plan will leave only Government. Businesses that have left this country took their tax bases, small businesses supplying larger businesses we lost this tax base...and Obama wants to increase taxes on these people!

In most Asian states companies that will bring them their manufacturing will be exempt from taxes, partnership with that state and they will build the facilities to meet the manufacturing needs, train personnel and no environmental regulations. This fact is why we continue to lose manufacturing here in the USA...and Obama wants to increase taxes on these people! I just hope people think before they vote!!


October 17, 2008 08:06 PM

So let me get this right. If I don't agree with (or question) the Chosen One, the media and party thugs will dig up dirt on me, discredit me, publicly destroy my life. All this from the party that cares so much for humanity. Beautiful!!!!


October 17, 2008 08:08 PM

Please read related article titled "Joe the plumber gets flushed to Nottingham" at


October 17, 2008 08:14 PM

Why must the mesia always focus on unimportant personalities instead of addressing the issue?
Spreading the wealth, re-distributing the wealth , is socialisim.
Barack Obama is socialist, plain and simple.
If Mr. McCain's politically correct lamguage prevents him from articulating this point, then that is his problem.
If America cannot see this point, then that is a far more serious problem.
Whatever timely pittance Obama offers is far too little to sell out democracy to socialism.


October 17, 2008 08:15 PM

Wrong, Jimmy Mack:

It was OBAMA who introduced Joe the Plumber into the political debate. Joe was minding his own business, when Obama ran into him while trolling for votes. Unfortunately for Obama, he stepped on a land mine in the process.


October 17, 2008 08:28 PM

I can understand why $200k+ is middle class.
Many of my friends and myself make around $150k-200k, but we live in a small apartment. One of my friend said " no car, no house, no kids for at least 5 years because of the finaical issue".
Why? We are new graduats and have a huge student loan. We graduated from medical school or dental school. But a lot of us got over $250k student loan. Some of us even got over $300k student loan with interest rate over 7%. We can't deduct any our student loan interest because our income is over $140k. We are new graduats and some of us have spouse who are still at school and still have a huge student loan. A lot of us including myself buy our own health insurance, malpractice insurance, disability insurance....We have been working so hard these years at school and at work place, but after tax, loan, expensive insurances, what do we have left? Many people said " you are a doctor, and you make so much money, so you are rich..." But actually, I am really not.


October 17, 2008 08:30 PM

McCain & Palin will loose this Nov 4th. You can bet your house on it.

The country is in a mess and we want to continue the policy that gave us this mess? McCain is clueless, He is rich and old and he just ran for president to collect another title before he is expired (with not very far consider his age). Time to change, people.


October 17, 2008 08:33 PM

The main conservative concern here is Obama saying, "spread the wealth around." Poor choice of words (he also said "revenue" when he should have said "income".) Obama is no communist.

What Obama is clearly actually in favor of is wealthy citizens helping their fellow citizens become financially secure if they are willing to work at it---which strengthens the country as a whole and benefits the wealthy, too: lower crime, lower teen pregnancy, lower health costs, lower social unrest, better education---the costs of which the rich will have to bear, one way or another.

Unfortunately, when we depend on the good sense and goodwill of the wealthy to achieve this, we find it all too lacking. The closer we get to 99% of the wealth and income going to 1% of the population, the more likely that the citizenry will reject this scenario. If their electoral voice is suppressed, they will resort to violence---or eventually other nations will attempt a takeover of some sort as our country is weakened.

Karen London

October 17, 2008 08:56 PM

Some people here really don't understand the idea of wealth being shared? Saying that Obama’s idea is communistic?? Wow, finally a man with a backbone, and an idea to make a change for the better for the body of Americans, and he gets hit with that stupid remark. (Obviously made by someone who is ignorant and negative in thought; why don’t you stop looking at the half glass being so empty?) Obama’s tax break is not proposing a 50% hike in taxes to those that make 10 times the amount of the average Joe, he is only talking about a mere % hike.

By McCain bring up this Joe guy, to try and put Obama's tax break down, well he lost big time in my eyes, for he only supports the sad sick injustice of the Greedy Rich getting the best tax breaks, like the current government he is trying to say he isn’t like. McCain voiced in his debate, he would be worry that the greedy rich wants to leave America, which he thinks will happen if some of their huge profits get skimmed a bit more.

It takes guts of a man to stand up for the little guy, and at a time like this, where the economy has become so drained by all the out going sources, it will take fortitude to start a wave of change so that the ship won’t sink totally.

My opinion; those profit hungry pigs at the top, need to realize, they’ll need to give up a bit of their profit to keep the wheels of the economy going, for those wheels are run by the masses of us people, in which they profited from in the first place. (Would be really sad that the prosperous wouldn’t want to invest in the economy that made them wealthy? Yet the Dead Sea, which hogs streams of life from a rich source, holds no life itself?)

The secret of true riches is when people come together and support one another.

Right now the American dream has become a false idea, which has been brainwashed to us by those that are higher on the dog eat dog ladder to greed and success. Rich Joes need to realize, average Joes that make a minimum wage can actually work even harder, because when their employment hours are done, they are working at home to juggle the bills and keep food on the table. Obama’s tax outline hopefully can be implemented quickly, so that those at the bottom of the scale can feel some relief soon, so that more people don’t loose their footing on the tight rope they are walking.

Jimmy G

October 17, 2008 09:14 PM

Aren't plumbers overpaid?


October 17, 2008 09:17 PM

Joe is the regular American guy who works hard and honestly. Obama is trying to discreted him because he exposed what a fake he is. Not suprised, Obama put down the small town folks, etc...
Hope people are not blind and see this


October 17, 2008 09:21 PM

Barack Obama invaded "joe's"
neighborhood and"joe"as a american speaking for oither americans asked a president canidate a question,and now joe is getting crucifide ?we know more about"joe in just 3 days then we do abour's sad and trust me americans can relate with joe!


October 17, 2008 09:21 PM

I watched the debate with several other undecided voters and we will all vote for McCain
Joe the Plumber has nothing to do with Joe. It has everything to do with Obama and his answer to a simple "what if" question about the Democrats tax plan.
I was a Democrat. Now..I am voting the straight Republican Ticket.
The fact that the real Joe has been attacked is the best reason not to vote for Obama. Joe WAS a potential constituent of Obama's.
Is that how Obama would treat me if I asked him a question and he made a fool of himself with the answer?
Joe is the plumber..Obama is the Joke..


October 17, 2008 09:24 PM

I'm calling 1,000 people and giving $1,000 to OBAMA Yes, we need to spread the wealth to the 95% of us that are getting crushed by the Bush-McCain Economic Plan. I'm making over $100.000 finally in my life and my taxes are huge ~ over 35% and Warren Buffet pays $15% What's wrong with this picture!!!! Way too many people vote against their best interests or they make so much money that they have little else to do but post here and slame Obama's tax plan with little factual evidence. SAM the plumber (didn't even use his real name) put himself out there by showing up as a registered repub (lied about that too) at an Obama rally. He got the right answer, an honest answer (something repubs don't know how to do or understand). We are ALL AMERICANS and we need to stop being so selfish and greedy and take care of one another. What's so funny about peace, love and understanding? Wake up Righties! You need to come out of the fog of hate and self-centeredness. I pray for all of you.

J Skinner

October 17, 2008 09:39 PM

I blame Mccain for Joes Woes, He didnt become a celebrity when he asked Obama the tax question, he became a celebrity when Mccain felt the need to refer to him specifically in a live presidential debate, he could of said a hardworking gentleman or a concerned citizen, but no it had to be joe the plumber so he could make a theme out of it, now of course they are gonna point out he doesnt have a plumbing license and all the other odds and ends, he shouldn't have made it so personal

willie ayers

October 17, 2008 09:56 PM

Hey rich idiots lay off Joe. Go make some honest money you pack of sissy desk jockeys.

Joe the plumber has helped McCain. McCain finally got his mojo on thanks to Joe the blue collar mascot.

How can anyone think this has hurt Johny Mac? Duh, you definitely aren't working class.

This has given the McCain campaign a message to rally around, No more taxes. We pay enough, too much actually!

If McCain sticks with it he may actually win.

Any working man that works a hard job deserves to keep his money. He doesn't need to spread the wealth.

We take care of our own. We give money and our time to the local F.D. and other community organizations.

I remember my neighbor the electrician who would come home and crack open a beer to take the ache out of his arms from holding a drill over his head all day.

Or me, the day I fell off a ladder climbing up on to a roof. The bushes sort of broke the fall.

Working men deserve to keep their money to support a family.

Obama is no champion of the working man. He is an elitist snob who represents rich white nut-jobs in Manhattan.

Obama is going to spread the middle class wealth.

Obama is not going to tax his rich friends he pals around with. Obama got the rich mans back. He will stab you in the back working man.

Funny how the only people I see with Obama signs in their yards are rich folks with huge houses and fancy cars. The new status symbol is an Obama sign in your front yard or on your BMW.

Spread your own wealth Obama.

Jimmy V

October 17, 2008 09:58 PM

So let me get this straight.. The goverment is going to increase my tax rate because I have made my dreams come true, and give that money taken from me to people who havent earned it. I dont know if I am understanding this correctly. Is that fair??? I dont think that I would agree to spend more money on taxes to give to people that havnet earned it and are not putting their own money back in the system. no thanks


October 17, 2008 10:15 PM

Al Strout said he would make 200 phone calls in support of McCain. As a sales rep for 25 years I wish you luck on 200 calls in a single day.. I set a record for 110 calls in one day that has stood for 17 years. All good sales reps know you do not overpromise and undeliver- a lesson all sales reps know and John McCain could learn from.


October 17, 2008 10:15 PM

Joe's question and concerns are right on the mark. Obama, his crew and the media wouldn't have come back swinging otherwise. Interesting how quickly the slick demeanor fades when Joe's comments don't support Obama's message. Wake up, Americans. Look past the smoke and mirrors before it's too late. We need a man of integrity in the White House not a celebrity poser. This man is not really interested in serving your interests...only his own.


October 17, 2008 10:17 PM

"May have links to Charles Keating?" Seriously. The use of the word "links" suggests a relationship much stronger than a "close relative to a guy who's Charles Keating's son-in-law." More accurately, Joe the Plumber would be "distantly related to a guy through marriage." Of course, no one actually reads the articles you link to, I'm sure.


October 17, 2008 10:19 PM

The only reason the media has swooped down on Joe is because he is the one who caused Barack to reveal his true beliefs....i want to spread the wealth. It's not about Joe, it's about Barry's error.

Mike Buck

October 17, 2008 10:19 PM

Ok - We can agree Joe the Plumber is a fraud but asked a legitimate question. The bottom line is Republicans have ran the business of this country into the ground with corruption and poor management. Republicans keep claiming that government does not work and they have proven it over the last eight years. The Republicans claim "change" and use the campaign writers of Bush and the smear tactics of Karl Rove and his disciples leading McCain's campaign.
Get them out , NOW!


October 17, 2008 10:20 PM

JRM wrote "...only people with money see this as a problem".

Interestingly enough JRM, it's people who don't have any money who see it as a problem. People like Joe who don't actually make enough to pay more taxes (I guess because they think that "someday" they will make a lot of money). I'm a guy who will pay more in taxes under Obama and I don't mind because guess what...I can afford it. And honestly, since we'll be paying a higher portion of taxes only on the incremental amount above $250 K it won't work out to that much more money.


October 17, 2008 10:43 PM

Note to Republican Talking Point Developers:

What small business owner, with net taxable income, anywhere near $200,000 a year, is filing a schedule C?

The reality is, this type of business owner is paying himself a $52,000 a year salary from his/her C-Corp (a tax cut for their personal 1040 under the plan!) and will run, economy stimulating, legitimate expenses, such as health care, and pension plans etc., through that same liability safe, C-Corp. Personal taxes are down, and they will continue to operate under the same corporate tax rates in place today. Effectively a small net tax savings under the proposed plan.


October 17, 2008 11:27 PM

I find it amusing that those who would rail against 'Wall Street fat cats' with one breath would condemn the idea of progressive taxation with the other (or 'income redistribution scheme,' as one particularly informed reader commented). As Warren Buffet has mentioned, the tax rate he pays (factoring in capital gains taxes) is less than that paid by his secretary.

Dear Middle Amreica--the economic conservatism preached by the Republican Party is NOT in your best interest. At no period in history has so much of America's wealth been concentrated in the hands of so few. While the median wage of America has DECLINED in the last 8 years, the wealthiest 1% of the nation has become exponentially richer.

If you want the government to help out Main Street, you have elect those who wish to do so.



October 17, 2008 11:35 PM

Let's be a little more measured with our praise of James Carville. Bill Clinton only won a plurality, not a majority. And that was only because Ross Perot spilt the vote.

Carville isn't much.


October 18, 2008 12:36 AM

don’t make $250,000 a year. I don’t want the government to take any more money from those that do to “spread the wealth”. That is socialism, pure and simple

So funny, YOU pay nothing more yet your good and services, public services and infrastructure would benefit, making you benefit and you're against it.

Yes, bad bad socialism. In the EU, they have Health Care for all, College Education for all.

Terrible, just terrible!


October 18, 2008 01:54 AM

Funny how whenever McCain brings up a RELEVANT point, Obama hides behind "he's just distracting the voters" from the central issue (i.e. Obama's idea).

But here the key words are that Obama plainly STATED that he wants to "SPREAD THE WEALTH AROUND." Did we hear that right? "SPREAD THE WEALTH AROUND" is what Obama said! And now the media & Obama are using these defamatory tactics to DISTRACT the voters from his own words, & focus in on the little guy Joe. Obama and his bandits are the ones doing the real distracting, in promotion of their socialism!!!!!


October 18, 2008 02:19 AM

Forget the character attacks, however deserved or not. Let’s deal with the actual issue that was raised. Here’s a relevant excerpt from the conservative Wall Street Journal’s article of OCTOBER 17, 2008, 'As Joe the Plumber Grows Famous, the Politics Get Murkier':

"To reach a level that would be affected by Sen. Obama’s proposed tax increase, Mr. Smither said, a mom-and-pop plumbing company like Newell would have to clear $5 million in annual sales. [Joe’s company actually reports only $100,000 in sales.]

Even if Mr. Wurzelbacher reaped taxable income from his business of $280,000 a
year, he'd pay only about $900 more a year in taxes under Sen. Obama's plan, which
would raise the tax rate on the income between $250,000 and $280,000 to 36%
from 33%.


If Mr. Wurzelbacher earns the wages of a typical Ohio plumber, $40,600, and holds a $90,000 mortgage, he would see a TAX CUT (emphasis added) under Sen. Obama's plan of more than $1,000, compared with no tax reduction under Sen. McCain's.

If he succeeds in buying the plumbing business where he works, he could see even more tax benefits, including Sen. Obama's proposed elimination of capital-gains taxes for small-business investment, a 50% tax credit to purchase health insurance for employees and a $3,000 tax credit for every new hire over the next two years."

Other issues and ‘things we wish were true’ aside, better to acknowledge facts and deal with them objectively.


October 18, 2008 03:49 AM

To those that commented that Obama's plan is 'socialism'.... Take a look at the current tax code. It's a graduated scale, has been a graduated tax scale and will probably stay a graduated scale. McCain isn't suggesting a 'flat tax' therefore, the current plan, both McCain and Obamas tax plans are socialistic by your definition. Oh, btw. .If Joe doesn't want to pay the extra tax he can just incorporate and call it a day.


October 18, 2008 03:50 AM

Maybe you should have thought about the bill before going on an 8 year spending spree...


October 18, 2008 08:45 AM

joe the plumer is a jak off he is just
wanted his 2 cents in. the big question
should b pay your taxes get a license.
when u actualy have a biz making 250k
then bitch. dont b a hater juz get a life. obama hello no branier.
is jo jo a racist or just plain stupid?


October 18, 2008 10:14 AM


October 18, 2008 11:14 AM

Joe the plumber makes $250,000 a year??!! Is that supposed to be the "average" American wage? Seriously.

Audrey Marie

October 18, 2008 11:33 AM

It is time to leave Joe alone. He is getting too scrutinzed and we are tired of McCain using him. Vote Obama. He is intelligent and well informed. McShame needs to retire. he doesn't care who he hurts and is getting to be sleazy.

Joe Public

October 18, 2008 11:48 AM

This latest attack on Joe Wurzelbacher, "Joe the Plumber", is not about Mr. Wurzelbacher. This is a direct attack on ALL of us, "Joe Public". My version of the American dream is, and hopefully will continue, to be philanthropic. I am all for helping, at my own discretion. Whether it be a kind word of encouragement, monetary contributions or supplying work by my efforts, we are all in this together. We have a moral responsibility to give what we can. The idea of mandatory "spreading the wealth" is very frightening. Joe Public has the right to freedom of speech, yet when asking the first question allowed to "that one", we are interrogated and "vetted" simply because his inadvertent "spread the wealth" answer was not properly screened by the DNC. We are not running for the most powerful office in the world, Barack "Kallell(superman)" Obama is. Some of the most serious things are said in jest. So we see Clark "Barry Soetoro" Kent, the mild mannered presidential candidate, fighting for his version of truth, his version of justice and his version of the American way which has a socialist/marxist tone. For now, we are the kriptonite that weakens his audacity of hope. Respectfully, We The People, Joe Public


October 18, 2008 04:02 PM

Judging by the tightening in the polls, in which we see Sen McCain gaining on Obama, the American people are finally coming to their senses by rejecting the economy in favor of cultural issues. Economic isssues will always be secondary in our great land because it's our embrace of the right moral values which make this country the leader of the world. Sen McCain and Miss Palin have reminded us that what counts in this world is our cultural superiority, and not Chablis and escargot.


October 18, 2008 05:18 PM

The Republican 's Tax Cut is just a scam job. Here is how it works: They gave everyone $2-3K tax rebate and make us feel good. But to finance it, they have borrowed from the Chinese, the Japanese, Russian, Saudis,... So for the last 8 years, our country has racked up another $5 Tril of debt. So now with the total national debt exceeding $10 tril, our country is paying about $400 bil interest payment.
This is mortgaging our children future with these "tax cuts"

It is no difference from every one of us going out and borrow $100K from the bank for our vacation trips. We probably feel great spending the money. But we have to pay at the end. Look at the sub-prime melt down now.

The old Dem's model was "tax and spend". The Repubican 's policy of "borrow and spend" is not any better.
So don't let "tax cut" fool you!


Ron Roston

October 18, 2008 06:37 PM

Those who complain that Joe the Plumber has been investigated by a hostile media should consider the following: It was McCain who outed Joe and McCain knows or should know that the media would dig into the man's life. Become a celebrity and other's want to know where you are coming from. Maybe that's why he apologized to Joe. He knew that the media went all out to cover and uncover Sara Palin. He should have learned from that. He should have known enough to have carefully vetted Joe himself. He didn't. Finally,
let's question McCain's judgment. He doesn't learn. He should have investigated Sweet Sara carefully and, I suspect, she wouldn't be on his ticket and neither would Joe be a McCain spokesperson. If that isn't bad judgment and gross impulsivity I guess you'd have to chalk it up to an impulse ridden and prolonged senior moment.


Mid America Construction People

October 19, 2008 01:01 AM

There are many construction companies that employee under 100 employees that would be negatively impacted by Barack Obama's tax plan. Every dollar in taxes paid out is one dollar less that can be spent on hiring new employees, purchasing equipment or vehicles for business.

In the economic slow down many construction companies are cutting their margins to get work. We are not like the major corporations that can pass along tax increases to our customers, we have to compete in our local or regional market. Additional taxes would be an additional burden and one more dollar out of the local economy.

Obama supporters - live in your dreamland that Obama is going to somehow make America better by spreading the wealth around. I can't believe people honestly believe a government handout is going to make anything better for anybody. Honest hard work and being independent from government interference is what makes America great.

Leave Joe the Plumber alone, he asked a good question - whether or not he owes taxes or is a licensed plumber is beside the point. He asked a question that is the right one for many small construction companies around this country.

I sign paychecks every week. I take care of my employees and I am worried what will happen if Barack Obama is in office - because he has lumped me in with the weathly elite and is proposing to punish me for building equity in my company rather than spending money on a bigger house and a fancy car.

This attitude being fostered by the Obama/Biden campaign of getting 'help' from the government at the expense of the wealthiest in our country is the height of unfairness and far from the principles this country was founded on. I don't want money from richer folks. I don't want government money. I want to earn my own way.

If you want to pay more taxes do so. Leave my business alone.


October 19, 2008 02:31 PM

I think the American people could care less about Joe the plumber, we all have our own problems and you cannot constantly use certain individuals as your mascot as the McCain camp likes to do. Let's focus on the issues. And yes trickle down economics dooes not work,never has Mr. Sen from Arizona. By the way you should ALL study Mr. Mc Cain and the Keating 5. For those of you who do not know about this signicficant piece of history you can see just what Sen McCain did in his serious involvemnet with savings and loan scandal. He started this whole economic mess with his lobbyist cronies in Washington. He is not a man for the people do not get hoodwinked. He works for big business and always has. My God, his wife is the ultimate corporate mogul.

mike west

October 19, 2008 02:42 PM


McCain mentioned corporate taxes are too high in the United States. He cited Ireland's 11% rate as an example.

What he doesn't mention is that unless he plans on running up trillion dollar deficits, SOMEBODY is going to replace that lost revenue.

Any guess, Republicans as to who picks up the slack? Hundreds of Billions of dollars would disappear unless YOU and I become the patsy.

Question: Do you really think the you'll escape a 24% drop in the corporate tax rate?

Finally, if you aren't in the 35% tax bracket and your actions aren't getting you there anytime soon, what makes you think Bush's tax policy didn't contribute to that? What makes you think McCain's WILL get you there?


October 19, 2008 06:28 PM

The socialist programs of Social Security, Medicare, Unemployment Insurance, Workers Compensation offer protection to the American people.

Those who believe in free markets and NO regulation and the right of the rich to get rich and the poor to get poorer so the rich can get richer rely on the selfishness of middle class people like Joe to maintain the status quo that feeds the rich and the powerful.

Joe is dreaming about WHEN he will make over $250,000 and he doesn't want to pay any more taxes on that $250,000 than are NOW due under current laws --apparently.

But! Is Joe a racist? Of course, he has a right to be a racist under our laws as long as he doesn't incite any violence because of his racism. He is free to vote his own convictions. This is the American way. He is free to vote for John McCain no matter what his reasons.

Senator McCain perhaps used Joe the Plumber to make an INACCURATE point ----i.e. that the great percentage of small business men make $250,000 or more, and that this would hurt American small business men and women.

The Republican Bush Doctrine; i.e. that preemptive Wars serve the interests of the American people has necessitated the Republican opinion that entitlements like Social Security and Medicare must be cut to balance the budget. The Republicans even suggested that SS withholdings from wages should feed the free markets, and look what has happened to our stock markets.

Maybe Joe will think about all of this and vote his interests when he is in the booth on election day and this is the American way.


October 19, 2008 08:44 PM

Obama should not have made the "spread the wealth around" comment. It opened the door for right leaners to make a case about socialism and his tax policies.

However, what he said is basically untrue (tax revenues do not go to the less wealthy or the poor) and he failed to ascertain what "Joe the Plumber's" take home pay would be. The question was loaded and Obama fell down on his response.

Joe the Plumber would not have a personal income of more than 200K but the right wing talk heads refuse to acknowledge that small fact. In fact, it is now known that Joe would be making less than 50K and he would do better under Obama than McCain.

So much for the attempt to show up Obama and his tax proposals as being socialist. In fact, Obama's looking out for the middle class better than McCain is (to the tune of appx. $500 less dollars in personal yearly income taxes for Joe the Plumber).

The real question about this is why are we continuing to hear little more than "You should be afraid of that guy for these reasons" versus, "These are fine details about my plan to save the economy or reign in medical insurance premiums...".

The reality is that Obama's plan has been vetted by numerous non-partisan groups and it clearly favors the middle class over the wealthier in this country.

Frankly, I'm absolutely FINE WITH THAT.


October 19, 2008 10:28 PM

What is upsetting everyone is how the media pulls out the megawatt microscope on anyone asking or challenging Obama. Obama has never complained about his answer to Joe, but then he has never asked the Obama brown shirts to quit acting like goons either toward Joe. After muckraking them, their family, their pets, their school yard antics, etc. ... the media then shrugs and says they are not in the tank for Obama. Meanwhile, Obama has his own extensive list of things that need to be thoroughly vetted, but the media types are too busy digging through Joe's trash to be concerned. That is fine, Democrats should enjoy the hundreds of millions of free positive spin that the traditional corporate media is providing along with the full support of destroying anyone that disagrees with Obama, because most Americans are on to their game and they have most likely accelerated their demise by their actions.

Charles Bender

October 20, 2008 04:53 AM

Dear pro-America conservatives,

Forget Obama's tax plan or healthcare agenda, the socialists have already tainted our capitalist democracy with programs like unemployment benefits, food stamps, and public homeless shelters. Sneaky liberal politicians have been underhandedly spreading our wealth around for years.

Why are my taxes being used so that some schmuck who got laid-off can continue to get a salary while not working for 6-8 months?! That's his tough luck, not mine. If he wants to mooch off of socialist comrades, he should go to Canada, the UK, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and all those other crazy places were so-called "social equity" outweighs capitalist morals.


October 20, 2008 07:27 AM

Didn't anybody hear what OBAMA said during their conversation? Doesn't "Spreading the Wealth around," and it's implications, scare the heck out of you?

Evan, the Software Support Analyst

October 20, 2008 01:13 PM

"Joe, the Plumber" (not his actual first name or occupation but hey, why let facts get in the way of a good story) seemed pretty doctrinaire to me for a guy who is supposedly sitting on the fence. I mean denouncing Social Security isn't exactly 'middle of the road', even if this country truly is 'center right' as the cover of Newsweek so helpfully informs us.
But the real giveaway was his reference to Obama 'tap-dancing' around his question and then, just to drive home the point for the less intelligent racists out there, he added 'almost as good as Sammy Davis, Jr.' (Did you know that Obama is BLACK?!?). Somehow, I think there are way fewer than six degrees of separation between this man and Karl Rove.
Can we talk truth here? "Joe, the Plumber" is a plant for media exploitation.


October 22, 2008 01:28 AM

Obama had a Freudian slip when he stated “spread the wealth around”. Obama is more concerned with “fairness” and spreading the wealth instead of economic growth. He is a zero sum gain believer - the only way someone can get ahead is at the expense of others. The real way to spread wealth is to grow the economy so everyone can benefit. It is real easy to for a politician to be generous with other people’s money.


October 28, 2008 01:25 PM

Progressive taxation is all about spreading the burden of supporting government. Why shouldn't those who are fortunate enough to earn $200,000 a year in our free market economy be willing to pay more in taxes? Warren Buffet admits that the rich do not pay enough to the government and that middle class and poorer Americans pay too much in taxes.

The Republicans picked up right away on the "spreading the wealth around" to resort to, in my opinion, a quiet racist agenda to scare the Middle Class voters.

The "Joe the Plumber" agenda is a "racist" Republican scare tactic that intends to paint a picture to voters of "black" Barack Obama taking the wealth of the middle class and spresding it around to poor black people and poor white people.

Let's hope the American people are smart enough to pick up on this "Joe, the Plumber" and that they will not return to the Republican Agenda of weak regulation supported by those up on top of the pyramid of our economy with the myth of "trickle down" economics.

What has trickled down on the American People and the American economy is not liquid but very pungent BS.

Fed up

November 3, 2008 12:04 AM

People get back to the real issue. Joe the plumber is from AZ and is a relative of McCain's partner in crime from his Keating 5 scandal. McCain was the first one to mention "Joe" and did so repeatedly. He became his new campaign mascot (since the whole maverick thing didn't go over so well). Plus, it just sounds corny as hell. The Obama didn't have to bring up the Keating 5 scandal because by using Charles Keating relative as a mascot, McCain rehashed the whole thing himself. Not a smart move on the old guy's part.


November 8, 2008 06:40 PM

Joe the plumber may be an idiot but he isn't totally stupid. The media latched on to him like a bull dog in heat. And for those of you thinking Joe is just some poor slob caught in the jaws of the media, those TV interviews certainly are not free ($50k+). Joe went from tax dodging loser to celebrity campaign darling over night. Joe sixpack move over, there is a new sheriff in town. Last I heard he was going to hit the marketing scene with T-shirts, albums and maybe even a run for Congress in 2012. He could of raked in more bucks if he had been able to patent the phrase "Joe tha Plumber". Maybe Fox News will give him a book deal like they did the "Runaway Bride". She scammed 2 million off that deal. Only in America. God Bless America!

A fitting end to McCain's concession speech would have been for Joe the Plumber to come running out of the audience, tears streaming down yelling, "NOOOOOOOOOOOO Johhnnnn NOOOOO, my career.... NOOOOOOOO"

Transparent Observer of People looking for 15 minutes of fame and then dropped like a virous

November 10, 2008 02:09 PM

Well I guess Joe the plumber will now go back to that rock he crawled from under, since he was dropped by McCaine he has now launched his own web site. He was on the news today promoting his book and his website on Huckabee's news show.

I checked it out, and he's pandering tee shirts and 3 books that he has written, at $14.95 for paperbacks. Only 2 pages on the site was up. The other 5 pages are under construction.

Whats up with this short lived supposed to be important person that was used by the MaCaine party.

Thank you for your interest. This blog is no longer active.


Election 2008

Washington Bureau Chief Jane Sasseen and other BusinessWeek writers cover the run-up to the Nov. 4 presidential election, paying close attention to how the candidates will handle issues such as housing, the economy, unemployment, and immigration.

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