Posted by: Amie | October 18, 2008

“Joe” The “Plumber”

Joe the plumber needs to pull up his pants and deal.

As I watched Wednesday’s debate, I sat in hopes that some catty slap fighting would start up to accompany the girlish banter that took place between the two candidates. No one “won” in my opinion, unless you count winning your Fifteen Minutes of Fame. If so, the trophy goes, undoubtedly, to Samuel Joseph (Joe) Wurzelbacher of Holland, Ohio. (He even scored his own Wikipedia page.)

In the heat of the battle, John McCain wound up for a punch when he mentioned Joe the Plumber, a man Barack Obama had encountered on the campaign trail in Ohio. Senator McCain spoke of Joe’s years of hard work and strife to earn enough to be able to afford the purchase of the company in which he’s invested so much of his life, and Joe’s fears of working under Senator Obama’s tax plan. Joe is worried that his new income would bump him into the affected tax bracket, and he won’t be able to afford to live out his “American Dream.”

Excuse me while I wipe the tears from my eyes…

First of all, does anyone get the feeling that “Joe” (who’s not actually “Joe” but really Sam the no-so-legally-practicing plumber) is a plant from the McCain Camp? Pure speculation here: but since when does McCain take so much interest in who Obama speaks to on a daily basis (unless it’s Bill Ayers on the phone- ten years ago)? Also, while supposedly undecided (like the rest of the swing state), he’s got a lot of quasi-McCain repeated rhetoric going on there – but everyone’s allowed their opinions, I suppose. If not a plant, he was certainly taken advantage of and exploited by McCain Camp (whether he caught on or not is another issue). And the media, of course can always be counted upon to destroy someone: overnight Joe went from poor, struggling American media sensation with lots of verbose opinions based on semi-truths turned tax evasionist with no real license to legally be making a living as he has been. For that, I do, actually pitty him as no one wants their dirty laundry aired. But since it’s out, we’ll examine that later on.

Secondly, if it is true that “Joe” feels this way (that he will not be able to afford his business under Senator Obama’s proposed tax plan), it’s time for Joe to examine his priorities and learn a little about business. Joe’s Ohio home as of June 2008 was experiencing a 6.6%  unemployment rate. Given his legal status in his trade and having a lien placed against him for back taxes, I think Joe should be thrilled to have a job. He should probably focus more on paying off the IRS than paying his former boss for a business he’s not personally licensed to own.

This is not a large firm of which Joe aspires to be the sole proprietor. He is one of two employees in the company. While Joe is wringing his hands and fretting about being elevated from his usual 40 grand a year to a whopping $250,000 after taking over the business, it’s rather likely that he won’t be affected at all. After Joe makes all of his proper deductions, it is likely his taxable income will not be even a blip on the radar screen of the proposed plan.  Well, actually, it would – he will get a tax break. Ohio’s business records stated the company’s annual revenue is seated at a comfortable $100,000 a year, which would not even graze the upper income tax bracket.

Joe continued to express his concern that even if he would not personally be affected by the tax change, that others would in an interview with Katie Couric.

COURIC: Well, he [Obama] supposedly will raise taxes only on people who make over $250,000 a year. Would you be in that category?

WURZELBACHER: Not right now at presently, but, you know, question, so he’s going to do that now for people who make $250,000 a year. When’s he going to decide that $100,000 is too much, you know? I mean, you’re on a slippery slope here. You vote on somebody who decides that $250,000 and you’re rich? And $100,000 and you’re rich? I mean, where does it end? You know, that’s – people got to ask that question.

Well, for now, Joe, don’t get your panties in a twist. The only bracket in question is $250,000 and more, which we see you’re not in, and won’t be for quite some time unless strike it lucky with clogged drains this year. And, for the record, the median income for households in the US was $50,233 in 2007, so yeah, for most, $100,000 it still is “rich.”

All that being said, I really wish you the best, Joe. I come from a long line of blue collar workers who share your struggle. I’m sure they too would be outraged by spending the extra $900 in taxes they would have to pay out of their earnings that, all of a sudden, went from barely paying their bills to a quarter of a million dollars a year.

I was entertained by your long-winded ramblings on while they lasted. I hope you finally choose for whom to cast your ballot. I hope that you do get to realize your “American Dream” while most of us live and die in our companies and never have the chance to outright purchase our place of work. While our dreams forever remain a dream, I hope the media exploitation attention allows you to flourish, and in your best interest, Joe, may you never make enough to fall into the higher tax bracket you dread so much.




  2. Maybe you read my other posts, Ted, but this one really had nothing to do with being pro-Obama.

    The beauty of the American voting system is you never have to reveal who you choose in the ballot booth. However since you shared with me your opinion, I’d just like to say:


    Thanks for commenting.

  3. My favorite line:

    “Joe the plumber needs to pull up his pants and deal.”

    Exactly. Joe’s a big boy and he runs a big business. So suck it up, Joey!

  4. I understand that the McCain campaign simply wants an everyman symbol upon whom they can hang talking points about “socialism” (and thanks for making the exact point Ted!), but something is really, seriously, and mind-bogglingly absent in the discussion about him. It shows just how ignorant and out of touch the McCain campaign has become, because do they even know how unpopular unlicensed contractors are among respectable, licensed, private contractors? Do they know of their horrendous reputation among clients as fraudulent, polluting, truant, tax-dodging, and lazy people? Sincerely. There is a reason that these guys don’t have licenses, and guess what, it’s not incidental. Joe is really an ironic campaign pony for McCain to trot out, when the guy is really the subconscious enemy of the exact people to whom McCain is trying to appeal among the “working class” and “small business.” It’s funny because it shows that there is really no bottom to the self-defeating tactics of the McCain campaign. But it’s also a disappointing and searing reminder of how little the “anti-elite” elite knows about the middle and working class. WOW. Just WOW.

  5. Like I said, I come from a long line of blue collar workers – most are entrepreneurs. My grandfather never finished high school but got the certifications he needed and worked his way up to become a well-off individual. Will he ever get to buy his place of employment – no. He works for an international car manufacturer, but he doesn’t mind paying extra taxes if he’s getting a fatter check. That’s how it should be.

    And yes, I agree. McCain camp is very condescending – from Palin’s winks and folsky lingo and “Joe six pack” expressions to playing Mr. Plumber into believing he’ll actually benefit as a small business owner under a McCain administration (I shudder to mention that). I’m starting to believe Republicans seriously think we’re all a bunch of idiots easily fooled while they call Democrats out for being elitists. (I guess reelecting Bush was a good tip off?)

    Republicans are all about corporations and deregulation. Please, someone explain how that helps out the little guy. It simply doesn’t.

    Thanks for commenting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: