Joe the Plumber 2

NOTICE: Before ANY version of Republican or Democrat submits a comment I ask that you READ the entire article. This article is from an independent non-partisan group that lives up to its name; check the facts of statements from the Presidential Candidates in this case. You can not accuse me of anything in this article, because I did not write this one. You can find this article online at I will provide my comments italicize at the end.


Article Courtesy of:

Fact Checking Debate No. 3


John McCain: Joe wants to buy the business that he has been in for all of these years, worked 10, 12 hours a day. And he wanted to buy the business but he looked at your tax plan and he saw that he was going to pay much higher taxes.

Joe’s newfound fame stems from an impromptu encounter Oct. 12, during which Wurzelbacher questioned Obama’s tax plans. Joe has since become a conservative folk hero after telling both Fox News and the conservative Web site Family Security Matters that he thought Obama’s plans sounded “socialist.”

At their encounter, Wurzelbacher told Obama that “I’m getting ready to buy a company that makes 250 to 280 thousand dollars a year,” before asking whether or not Obama would raise his taxes.

If the company is actually that profitable, and depending on how the business is organized legally, Obama’s plan would indeed raise his federal income taxes, and Obama conceded as much during the exchange. As we’ve written before, small businesses commonly are organized in such a way that their owners file business taxes as individuals. So if Joe’s plumbing business earns more than $200,000 per year (or $250,000 if Joe is married and files tax returns jointly) then his taxes would indeed be higher under Obama’s plan than under McCain’s.

It’s worth noting that while Wurzelbacher told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto that he lives “in a simple, middle class home” and portrayed himself as an ordinary working guy, Wurzelbacher’s $250,000 to $280,000 is a bit higher than “ordinary.” In 2007, the last year for which the Census Bureau has figures, the median income for a family in Toledo, Ohio, was $43,553.

Update – Oct. 16: ABC News reported that Wurzelbacher may actually qualify for a tax cut under Obama’s plan, and not a tax increase. ABC reported on its Web site the morning after the debate that one of its reporters, Chris Bury, had spoken to Wurzelbacher and that he “acknowledged that he wants to purchase the plumbing business for $250-280,000, not that he would net that much in profits.ABC news quoted him as saying he would make much less than $250,000. If that’s correct, then Wurzelbacher based his complaint on a misunderstanding of how Obama’s tax plan would affect him.

Earlier, Wurzelbacher appeared live on ABC’s Good Morning America program and repeated his complaints about higher taxes, but anchor Diane Sawyer did not ask him about his expected profits or question whether his taxes really would go up. We await further clarification.

But Joe the Plumber wasn’t through yet. He made an encore appearance when McCain recycled a bogus claim that Obama would “fine” small business owners who fail to provide health care coverage for their workers:

John McCain: Now, my old buddy, Joe, Joe the plumber, is out there. Now, Joe, Sen. Obama’s plan, if you’re a small business and . . .  you’ve got employees, and you’ve got kids, if you don’t get – adopt the health care plan that Sen. Obama mandates, he’s going to fine you . . . I don’t think that Joe right now wants to pay a fine when he is seeing such difficult times in America’s economy.

McCain raised a similar charge at the last debate. It’s still false. Obama’s plan, which is posted on his Web site, specifically says, “Small businesses will be exempt from this requirement.”

Obama hasn’t defined exactly what he means by “small” but he seems to think Joe would qualify; he repeatedly referred to Joe’s “small business” during their exchange.

Obama’s health plan does mandate that children have health coverage. If Joe doesn’t provide insurance for his kids, he would face some unspecified penalty.


My Comments: It’s amazing how Joe the Plumber became Joe the Conservative by adopting the standard talking points when talking to FOX News. I think there’s other reasons why he isn’t going to vote for Obama, but I think this is his story that he’s sticking too.

Additional Resource:

NPR: All Things Considered – 10/16/08 “Obama Tax May Not Hit Joe The Plumber” (Audio)