Joe the Plumber is not Main Street America

Joe the Plumber is doing darn well for a guy from Main Street. While everyone else loses money, Joe is worried about being taxed as a “rich” person.

Joe was John McCain’s new poster child for the all-American small business owner last night. A plumber from Ohio (or a non-Ohio voter planted by Karl Rove? You decide.*), Joe wants to start a small business that will put him in the $250,000+ income bracket.

This makes him a fine symbol of Main Street America for the GOP campaign. Here’s a blue-collar worker who wrenched and puttied his way to a quarter of a million dollar annual income, and he shouldn’t be taxed–

Wait. Hold. I don’t care who Joe is or how hard he worked. What I care about is how a plumber can be worth $250,000/year. That is amazing.

How Do They Make So Much Money?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics says that on average, people in the plumbing profession (which includes a variety of gigs) make about $20/hour. I have never had a plumber charge less than $75/hour.

Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters are among the highest paid construction occupations. Median hourly earnings of wage and salary plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters were $20.56. The middle 50 percent earned between $15.62 and $27.54. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $12.30, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $34.79.

It also says that 30% of plumbers belong to unions. I wouldn’t be surprised if Joe the Plumber is a socialist union member who also doesn’t want to be taxed, thus enjoying the best of both worlds.

But again, the point is that these guys make bank. A small portion of blue collar work offers better pay and perks than your average middle management gig. Politicians–and their fans–need to think about what “blue collar” means when supposed Main Street citizens, who we assume are broke like the rest of us, pop up on TV screens.

Here are a few additional examples of blue collar gigs that earn workers more than many office gigs (again, from the BLS):

Railroad conductor. Mean annual wage: $61,480

Elevator Installer. Mean annual wage: $66,330

Boat captain or other operator.
Mean annual wage: $57,210

Joe the Plumber. Annual wage (through his small business): $250,000

Politicians want people to focus on what Joe does, not how much money he makes doing it. He’s a hard-working American guy who just happens to want to start his own business in a fair way. And who happens to be estimating neat profits of $250,000/year.

How many of us can claim that for ourselves?

*Update: New Joe the Plumber facts:

-He is not a licensed plumber.
-He doesn’t want to start the business himself, from scratch. He wants to buy it from someone else.
-He doesn’t make much money now, meaning he’d save more in taxes under Obama’s plan than McCain’s.

  • Ben

    There’s a big difference between Joe the plummer scratching it out over multiple decades, and Joe the plummer-turned-businessman who has saved enough to buy the plumming business from his bosses and make $250k a year…

  • I couldn’t stand McCain last night about Joe the Plumber. He acted as though Obama was just going to steal money even though McCain is just looking out for the rich people.
    I thought Obama made a good point that people with more money can afford to pay a little more tax, so why not help out those unfortunate not to make above $250,000?

  • Jack

    Joe the plumer is an a$$ hole. He is not a licensed plumer #1. #2.According to joe he should not have to pay any tax on the money he makes. Just because it might be more than the average working class citizen salery. #3.He does not get the fact he is making more money and the more you make the more you pay in taxs. Joe the plumer should be under investagation by the IRS. How much money does he make under the table that he does not report since he is not a liecensed plumer.? does he even have Insurance to cover him if he messes up a job.? a tax ID number? everyone thinks this is cute well thats why taxs are so high because of the tax cheats like JOE.!!!

  • Graffight

    …just because i wasn’t clear on it, but was McCain saying that Good ol’ Joe was making 250,000+ as an individual, or was that what his company was bringing in…if he was talking about the company how many people are employed. I’m an Obama supporter, and i’m nooooo economist, but i wonder if it’s unreasonable to set the income requirement for the small business as low as 250,000…what is the average income for a small business as opposed to an individual.

  • I have no idea where they say that plumbers make $250K per year. Just because you bill at $75 per hour doesn’t mean you can take home $75 per hour. Your BLS statistics are probably more accurate – saying that the top 10% of plumbers are paid in excess of $70K per year. That’s respectable but a far cry from $250K.

    I have nothing against plumbers. They crawl around and fix messy or dirty things that most people can’t or don’t want to repair. And many have to work nights or weekends. They earn their pay. But if it really paid $250K, I think you’d see more people becoming plumbers.

  • NashEntLaw

    I can see how the proverbial Joe might make $250K a year with a plumbing business – like anything else, there’s a big difference between performing the work and running the company. A plumber by trade may only make so much an hour; a guy who has 10 plumbers working for him, however, will do a bit better.

    What concerns me about McCain’s dialogue in this arena is the disregard for practical realities. Let’s say Joe has his plumbing company. If he’s halfway intelligent, he’s worked with a lawyer and an accountant in setting up shop. Therefore, he has some form of limited liability entity (corp or LLC).

    Is McCain saying that Joe’s *company* will make $250K a year, or Joe will make that much in personal income? If it’s the former then Obama’s tax plan doesn’t concern old Joe (at least to the extent we’ve been discussing Obama’s personal income tax plan, which is where the $250K number comes from).

    If we’re concerned about Joe’s personal income then it’s a red herring. Joe’s *company* will not be stymied by a personal income tax increase for $250K and over. If anything, such a tax increase would *stimulate* growth.

    Presuming Joe’s business operates as a pass-through entity (which it mostly likely is), higher tax rates above $250K will cause Joe to want to report as little personal income as possible to avoid the higher tax rate. Therefore, he’ll return more of what would otherwise be personal income back into the company, in the form of capital investments, hiring new employees, etc.

  • Betsy

    Where to begin with all the misrepresentations and misconceptions in this article? Joe the Plumber doesn’t currently make $250K. He is thinking of buying a business that has the potential to make $250K, with employees, expenses and all of the above. Perhaps he might even gross $500K before expenses. His question to Obama was, are you going to tax me more if I’m that successful, and Obama famously replied, I’m gonna spread your wealth around.

    Watch the interview Diane Sawyer did this morning with Joe and educate yourself. Karl Rove is good at what he does, but Joe was not a plant. It’s mind-boggling that you can even think socialistic redistribution is good for business and will stimulate growth. The way to help people who are unfortunate not to make above $250K as the first commenter suggests is to create opportunities and jobs. Joe isn’t gonna buy that business if there is a disincentive toward a ROI for him, and therefore isn’t going to create more jobs.

    Obama isn’t going to steal money. He’s going to take it from you in plain sight, which to most people is an incentive to stay under his arbitrary income line. But we all know how unpatriotic most people are in that way thanks to another Joe.

  • Doug Weber

    First, I will tell you know that your consistent left leaning political drivel here has caused me to discontinue my reading of your column.

    Second, Obama made a clear case for socialism in his response to Joe the plumber. I personally know a number of people in a similar position to Joe. Telling him that you want to take more from him so you can give it to others is nothing other then weatlh redistribution and I dearly do hope that the American people send a clear message of rejection of this type of ideology on Nov. 4th.

    Those that support these ideals feel free to voice your opinion when you vote on the 5th

  • You completely demolished the story, and misconstrued the facts. First of all, he wants to BUY a business for $250,000 – that does not mean he will make that. Realistically, he won’t ever make that. Your investment used to purchase the business, first of all, creates an immediate loss on the business (i.e. a negative income). Next, we’re not talking about $250,000 in sales, we’re talking income…actual profit, dollars in your bank. Not every dollar you earn in a business is a dollar you earn for your bank account.

    This hypothetical situation McCain and John the Plumber have created are ridiculous and reflect only extreme outcomes of the scenario. This guy is not going to make $250,000 a year in profits. And if he does, well guess what moving to a new tax bracket means? It means – GO GET AN ACCOUNTANT.

    Now that he’s hired an accountant well-versed in his state and federal tax laws, Joe the Plumber’s hypothetical $250,000 profit for 2009 becomes a profit of only $80,000 thanks to his well-paid accountant’s knowledge of accounting practices, and all the key write-off’s he discovered Joe was eligible for. Joe is living in a fantasy world where he thinks he is going to start this mega-large plumbing corporation where he brings in millions of dollars…be realistic, Joe – for you to net 250K, your tiny little start-up plumbing business would have to do 1.3 million dollars in sales next year.

    Come on, John – you couldn’t find a better, more foolproof scenario than this guy????? You’re wanting to be the president, you should be able to pull off seamless cons on the American people WITHOUT them noticing.

  • @Betsy: If he was looking into buying a business that would NET him 250K – it would cost alot more than 250K to buy. The average going price for a business is expected profits for the next 3 or 4 years, or 3 times the average net profit. No one is selling you a business for a price that is equivalent to the amount you’ll net in a single year of business! Joe could never afford a business that nets $250,000 because it would cost him $600,000 up front. And judging by Joe’s bills…no one is loaning him that much money, even with any assets he might own as collateral.

  • To the author: a plumbing company charging you $75 per hour does not mean that the plumber gets to put all of that in his pocket! From his employer, he might take $20 an hour with the rest going back to the business to cover expenses, labor, fuel, rent, utilities, maintenance, supplies…

  • Sheesh, you Obama-haters are sensitive. The minority wealthy need to pay their fair share and that’s socialism??

    I posted this on my FriendFeed last night after the debate:

    “This “success tax” meme is retarded. It’s a tax CUT <$250K and only a 2% tax increase once you cross the $250K line (which I don’t cross, do you?) additionally, capital gains, which truly is the success tax, is not being raised for <$250K earners. Keep in mind the $250K is *taxable income* not gross revenue.

    Trust me, once you start clocking $400+K gross revenue, you’re not going to miss the extra $2500 you’d have to pay that could make or break a person with a $100K business.”

    I’m a small business owner. I am Main Street America. I would love for my business to get to $500K gross revenue. An extra couple percent increase isn’t going to keep me from striving for that. McCain didn’t say anything that interested me in giving him my vote.

  • nick

    I agree with Doug and Betsy. You seem to care more that Uncle Sam’s coffers are full rather than encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit and success of Joe the Plumber. That is sad.

  • Betsy

    @Greg – depends entirely on local circumstances how a price is derived from seller’s discretionary earnings and other factors, such as seller’s need to sell and willingness or ability to hold paper on the sale, etc. In a depressed marketplace (such as industrial Ohio, perhaps- which is where I believe this encounter occurred), the SDE may very well be equal to the purchase price.

    But Greg’s speculation pales in comparison to Paul’s presumption that I’m not gonna miss the $2500 net. That’s beside the point, which is. . . what entitles Paul or anyone else to it in the first place via additional government redistribution to that which already occurs, and the government decides what’s fair? If Paul would love for his business to have $500K in gross revenue, this ain’t the way to get there. He’ll be taxed out of any hope whatsoever.

  • not a disincentive

    I am thinking of starting a business next year and the prospect of additional taxes *IF* I make more than 250,000 a year in profit doesn’t worry me one bit and is not a disincentive at all. I suspect a lot of people who are thinking it’s a disincentive are actually not planning to start their own businesses within the next 4 years if ever. What worries me is whether my business will take off at all. I am more worried about the majority of ordinary Americans not having the disposable income to buy my new widget (I can’t tell you what it is because you might steal my idea). Obama tax cuts will give people making less than 250,000 a year more money, but they’ll probably spend it on useful things like paying bills, but if they feel they have an extra ten bucks or so then there is a greater chance they might buy my widget and maybe my business will take off. If I am ever in danger of making so much that I am worried about taxes on the amount I make in excess of 250,000 I’ll just put more in a 401k and hire more workers to make more widgets and offer higher pay so I can get more talented workers and build better widgets that can’t be knocked off by someone else and further secure my business. But now ordinary Americans have no money and they are not buying (retail sales are down) add to that under McCain they lose employer health care benefits and have to pay for the extra that McCain’s 5000(taxed even) credit won’t cover for their self-purchased health care coverage then my business will definitely not take off. In my dreams I’d love to make a profit of 250,000 a year after I pay my employees and for equipment. I can live very comfortably on 250,000 a year and a little more tax on the extra amount over 250,000 is not going to hurt me much. The reality is that I would be lucky if I even make the same measly amount in my business as I do in my day job which I would have to quit to run my business and most likely I’ll need the Obama tax cuts myself. Right now my criteria for success in the proposed business is if I can take home as much as I am taking home now from my crappy day job, which is much, much less than 250,000. I am actually prepared to take home less but I am counting on the joy of being my own boss. Most people who start businesses are not going to rake in profits of over 250,000 a year after all business expenses right from go – that’s just setting oneself up for a huge disappointment.

  • Drea

    Great discussion, everyone. Thanks for pointing out the gaffe about Joe actually making $250K vs. Joe wanting to start a business that makes $250K. I will edit in the post.

    As far as Joe being a plant–I’ll let press reports on his validity as a neutral source answer that.

    I don’t believe Obama is being socialist by suggesting a higher tax rate on those making $250K and over. His tax plan would increase Joe’s tax burden by a mellow $900, according to Beat the Press. This is a far cry from yanking away incentive to grow a small business & redistributing wealth.

    Socialism is in part defined by nationalizing major institutions. This has already happened, folks. Obama is placing additional taxes on a small segment of the population, but he won’t kill capitalism as we know it, which is what some of you seem to be insinuating. The country has seen high taxes before, and has done just fine.

    I’m taking the long view during this election. If I think of where the country will be in five years, after Obama vs. McCain, I would much prefer to see the middle class left intact.

  • ran

    You’re an idiot if you don’t know the difference between gross revenue and net income (after paying employees, rent, expenses, etc.)


  • Mark

    He is a long time trades person who saved enough to buy a small business. PLEASE keep in mind that those tax dollars paid will prevent investment and expansion. Do you honestly think that Obama and his compatriots can do better with his money than he can, or your money than you can? I have to say you are either very young and in-experienced or as skewed politically as Obama…..

  • It’s simple. When Obama implements his tax plan the end result will be higher taxes and fewer jobs for everyone. Raise taxes on people who make $250K or more and those people will figure out how to make less than $250K. Raise taxes on corporations and small businesses that can afford it, and those businesses will pass on the increased expense to their customers. End result? We will all pay higher taxes.
    There is NO acceptable reason that people who have become successful enough to earn $250K or more a year should be taxed at a higher rate than someone like me who barely made any money last year. I don’t want Obama’s handout! I don’t need Obama’s handout! I just want Obama to keep his grubby hands out of my pockets! I want Obama to keep his grubby hands out of your pockets too! Of course we must pay taxes. I don’t question that at all. With taxes we purchase infrastructure and defense. Those are things that government should be involved in.

    Obama is not interested in your success or prosperity! He is only interested in giving you a handout so that he may control and manipulate your life.

  • Just like any freelancer, they may bill $75/hr, but they’re unlikely to be working eight-hour-billable days. Chances are they’re working 40-50% of the time, the rest spent managing their business, waiting for calls, etc.

    Add up their total invoiced, divide by 355*8 (average number of working days * normal salaried hours) and you’ll get their normalised hourly income: about $20-25.

  • Thomas

    I do earn over $250K, and I’ve never met anybody who has decided to cap their income or not try to earn more due to higher marginal tax rates. The idea that it’s a true disincentive or that it somehow cuts jobs is a myth perpetrated by wealthy people trying to minimize their taxes – nothing more.

  • S.o.G.

    Joe’s position is, of course, perfectly rational for a ‘merkin living in ‘merkin society: he prefers to pay a higher tax rate now and do without social programs, healthcare, a social safety net, and a society where you can feel comfortable walking down the street alone at night in exchange for knowing he’ll pay less tax when he strikes it big and joins the other fat cats who achieved the ‘merkin dream.

  • Carl Brutananadilewski

    The Joe story isn’t relevant because we don’t have all the facts so to analyze it properly is impossible. All it is now is generalizations. But the real facts regarding the economy is that Democrat Presidents do a far, far better job at growing the stock market, employment, GDP, and wages than Republican Presidents. This is not a gut feeling or an idelogical talking point it is a fact. If you don’t believe me follow the link and check out the statistics from the government not some cherry picked stats from somebody’s campaign.

  • Gail

    How funny….the left & liberal media would think Joe the plumber questioning Obama’s TAX PLAN was wrong?? It was a legitament question…Maybe Obama knows his plan really screws most people! That’s why it was so bothersom??? You would think any question would be welcomed!!! Even if he didn’t seem to sway how Joe feels. Isn’t that what it’s all about!! Does the left want to make sure only certain questions are asked of Obama???? How does that make Joe wrong???? No one knows Joe’s life…he should not be catching grief for participating when Barrack came to HIS door!!!!!!

  • Reading through all the comments, it sounds like the majority of real business owners here aren’t concerned about the 2% increase. The notion that this minor increase will stifle entrepreneurship is pure flawed speculation. Most true small business entrepreneurs operate in the levels that will benefit from Obama’s plan. The comment about it screwing most people baffles me.

    It’s this simple:

    Under Obama’s plan, most (I’m talking 90+% here) people are going to get a tax cut and their capital gains will not be raised. The wealthy, will be paying their *fair share* of taxes and their capital gains will be raised *back to where they were* before Bush came in and wrecked the joint.

    Under McCain’s plan, everyone will get a tax cut. But that 90% middle class isn’t getting as much of a cut as Obama gives and the very wealthy are getting a generous cut.

    I encourage everyone take a look at the November issue of Money magazine. I just got it in the mail and it clearly and simply states the 2 camps’ tax plan with no spin.

  • Also, I’d like to address the comments regarding taking your money and using it how they see fit. The last time I checked, this is still supposed to be a democracy. If you see the government doing something with your money you don’t like, do something about it. I personally don’t want my money going to anymore endless war efforts that gain us nothing.

  • NashEntLaw

    Apparently a lot of the angry Fox fans on here didn’t read or contemplate my previous post. Nonetheless, I still find it shocking that (obviously uneducated) folks are so willing to subsidize the upper-most class. Attorneys in my firm do estate and tax work for a lot of very, very wealthy people. These folks do NOT need help from Uncle Sam to lower their tax bills – they pay attorneys and CPAs to do it for them!

    It is completely baffling that the wealthy right have such tight message control that they’ve been able to convince normal working people to advocate for lowering the tax burden for a such a small percentage of the population, while increasing their own burdens (social security and other costs that disproportionately impact wage earners under $125K/year).

  • Lowering taxes on business’s and people who earn more than $250k is not subsidizing the upper-most class. It isn’t that the wealthy have such tight message control, its the fact that many normal working people aspire to become wealthy, and they understand that progressive taxes are inherently unfair detriment to achieving that goal.
    Exactly how many of your firm’s very, very wealthy clients earn their money by ripping off normal working people? Last time I looked people in this country become wealthy by working hard at helping people to get goods and services they desire. You, more than most, should be in a position to see that for yourself.

  • Rod

    Wow for a “business pundit” you have surprisingly little business sense or knowledge. Most of the poster’s are just plain ignorant! You Obamites all want a handout, you want to get a free piece of someone else’s success. Guess what? Its not yours to take! If you want socialism move to Europe, if you want communism move your ignorant selves to China. Otherwise try making your own way in this country and quite trying to steal from those that are more industrious, more intelligent, and are actually hard working. Its a FACT that the RICH pay the way in taxes for this country. Obama is a liar, your taxes will rise when the BUSH TAX CUTS sunset…yeah those tax cuts apply to you, unless you are part of our nation that free rides on the taxes of the middle class, upper class and the wealthy.

    Want to talk about a fair share, give everyone the same tax rate that’s fair! Why should one be punished for succeeding just because you didn’t?

    I personally don’t want a nickel of my money subsidizing people’s homes that cannot and could not afford them…I don’t want that anymore than I do some fat cat banker or investment house getting my money…all the idiots should pay the price the FREE MARKET imposes on their stupidity.

    NashEntLaw – You know full well the wealthiest Americans pay the majority of the taxes in this country. So don’t try to “lawyer” it up. Tell the truth. Its funny how liberals of your ilk always attempt to paint those who don’t agree with your socialist ideology as “uneducated”. Your ideas make me ill to my core and I am fairly confident I have more education than you do. Those “uneducated” masses that baffle your mind believe in hard work, keeping what you earn, taking care of yourself, and helping others on their own. They don’t need or want the nanny state to confiscate what they work so hard for, to redistribute it to the lazy and jealous. Just how much of your big lawyer check are you willing to give away to those who won’t be as successful as yourself?

    I haven’t seen that Obama has sold his mansion and gave the money to the poor and got himself some section 8 housing to be with the people he “cares” so much about!

  • NashEntLaw

    Philip – I’m not sure I follow. Generally speaking, our clients are wealthy by virtue of owning successful businesses or by inheritance. Those that own businesses provide a valuable good or service to the community.

    It’s naive to suggest that corporations and wealthy individuals are disproportionately impacted by their federal tax burdens. Many corporations can structure their finances in such a way that they virtually eliminate paying *any* tax. Wise financial planners also help wealthy individuals reduce their tax burden. These individuals benefit from such services because
    (a) far less of their wealth is derived from ordinary income, which implicates completely different parts of the tax code;
    (b) the individuals have greater flexibility over deciding how to manage their wealth (e.g., whether to sell a piece of property, buy stock, invest in a mutual fund, establish a family LLC, or trusts to transfer assets to successive generations, etc); and
    (c) the cost-benefit ratio to receiving tax advice and estate planning for wealthy individuals makes sense, whereas it does not for normal folks. If I have a net worth of $5 million, own a company and pay myself a salary and can also take a portion of my income in the form of dividends, and if I can pay a tax planner $5K to save me an extra $100,000 in taxes, I’ll do it. If I earn $150K a year as a salary with modest investments, my tax picture is pretty straightforward and there’s nothing I can do about it; even if I could, I’m not going to spend $1,000 to save $500.

    Rod – The tone of your post says it all. I earn a living by being able to respectfully disagree with those on the complete opposite side of an issue, and work with them towards reaching a common goal. The venomously negative posts on here are not uneducated because their posters are conservatives, they are uneducated because they are full of ignorant drivel. For instance, how do you reconcile your statement that you haven’t seen Obama sell his mansion and live in Section 8 housing with a reasonable increase in taxes for the wealthiest Americans? How do you get from Obama’s tax policy to concluding that we “liberals” want a “nanny state to confiscate what they work so hard for, to redistribute it to the lazy and jealous?”

    Do you at least agree that we need *some* taxes? If the answer is yes, and I don’t see how you could enjoy the services of police, national defense, and firemen without them, then it’s just a matter of degree. If you are willing to discuss the question intelligently, for instance, by pointing to how Obama’s plan might eliminate a certain technological research tax credit that would unduly impact the development of new cancer drugs, I’m all for it (and I’ll probably agree with you). However, your brand of dialogue above is drenched in misplaced anger.

  • susan

    You know I would be so happy to make 250k per year and pay the taxes under Obamas plan do you want to know why? Well when I watch the t.v. and see a Child in another country that is starving to death, or a kid on the corner selling drugs to get by because their parents didn’t have enough money and support to put them through school, or a vet that just is not getting by and is forced out on the street those people they need us and we should all be willing to give a little back and thats exactly what Jesus would do you so called religious republicains with your selffish narrow minds did not get that message! Jesus had very little but he gave alot and if you have alot there is no excuss to not give back to sociaty. Don’t you guys know that God doesn’t messure your success by how much stuff and money you have he messures it on your life experiance and your willingness to give back to the world that he created for us. If god said you have a choice have everything you want and live as long as you want or give up your very existince for every person on this earth to have all the love and wealth they could have I would give up my life, the greatest gift we could ever have; not money.

  • susan

    Oh and guess what eventually Obama will cut taxes for higher earning companys through tax cuts on the health care plan and tax cuts for going green on you buisness, awsome we get a cleaner enviorment and you rich people get to earn youur tax breaks back. Oh and a lot of rich people got rich by screwing the little guy, not by hard work. Example Ceos at AIG ! taking a vacation on our money that was the result of a republicain adminastration that pulled the most socailist move ever, not the liberals ! Even as someone that doesn’t make much money I understand that the taxes I pay contribute to the socity around me.

    heatlh care assistance
    drug treatment programs
    and so much more
    When we give back to sociaty, sociaty will give back to us.
    Oh and the only way we will make the shift towards cleaner energy is if Obama wins.
    Do you know if we invest into our schools that we could create things that will bring a larger profit into our country. Just look at how fast Japan has grown, they are so all about education.

  • LP

    I lived through the era of Vietnamese communist after Saigon fall in 1975.
    If you have ever lived in the communist society, you will appreciate the capitalist society.
    Not many American born ever lived in communist country so they don’t know what communists can do to you.
    Nobody has a right to take my wealth and distribute to others. I had worked hard and I earned it.

  • Paul

    I saw the debate and have heard comments over the last few days. “Joe the Plumber” conveys the basic differences between Obama and McCain better than either candidate. In response to his criticism, people have attacked the messenger rather than debate or refute the message. I am in the 15% tax bracket, but I aspire to always do better. I make my own decision on giving to others (and yes I do)… If you look at the actual data from the IRS, the bulk of the tax revenue from individual tax returns is from those in the top 10% of the income level’s. Obama’s program does not give tax refunds to 95% of citizens, a very sizable portion of those pay no federal income taxes besides FICA, therefore it would be an income redistribution, which is socialist in nature. If you want a better tax system, review the fair tax. And please, before you rant after this, read the book with the answers on possible questions.

  • CGS

    I can’t believe the number of postings on here about how Joe is a bad guy. I always find it strange when people think that it is okay to take one guys earnings and give to another guy. I am middle income, earn my money and think that I should pay my tax burden to cover the fundamental aspects of our governments expense. That does not include giving it to someone who is to sorry to earn an income.

    Joe is not bad for asking why we should redistribute funds.

    I see the rant above the last and would love to comment, but it is obvious that there would be no point. It makes me sad that we are have moved so far from the core values that this country was built on.

  • CGS

    I just read some more of the posts and I have one more comment to add. Jesus did give, but he gave of his own free will. Take a look at Mr. Biden’s charitable contributions. The intent is that we will do what we should of our own free will for our fellow person, not have someone do it for us. It is our decision to share our success on our own. If you had your money yourself you would be free to give to all the items listed as you desire. On the other had, being a vet, I don’t feel the need for anyone to give to me so feel free to keep that portion and apply somewhere else.

  • Concerned Parent

    MCCAIN/PALIN SUPPORTERS,please explain how you excuse the fact that Ms Palin is putting her career ahead of the needs of her “special needs” baby, pregnant teenager, and two daughters at-risk of following in the footsteps of their big sister?
    Before you reply, please google “Down Syndrome” and read it.
    The MAJOR problem we face in this country is not economics, gas, Obama might be muslim and all of those “barbar shop” topics. Our major problem is the BREAKDOWN OF THE FAMILY.
    If Ms Palin did not want to “mother” children, please tell me why she had 1, 2, 3, 4 ,5?
    Do you people think it’s not important or significant that parents make sacrifices for their children?
    I do agree that a nanny might do a much better job of mothering Ms Palin’s children than Ms Palin would. BUT, when her special needs baby is in the hospital he will will want his mommy there.
    Ms Palin says she puts “Country First”
    Where does that leave her children?
    Is it Country, Ambition, Media spotlight, then children?
    Don’t get it twisted! I’m not saying she isn’t smart, cute, friendly, and all of that OTHER stuff.
    But she is a MOTHER! No take that back. She is a PARENT.
    Vote for McCain get Palin as a bonus!
    I can’t hear you……….

  • vince

    All he did was ask Obama and innocent question, after all we all have a right to know, dont we? Well let this be a lesson to us all if a question is asked that a democratic presidential candidate does not like know this you will be questioned, interviewed, poked and probed by the media and the democratic party. So much for freedom of speach. God bless you all.

  • mike

    Susan your nice little list of tax contributions.. Schools are paid for by property taxes, police are LOCAL state and county taxes, road once again state and local taxes and the same with most parks. When you can figure out how our taxes are spent and by whom you can pretend to act intelligent.
    there is a fundamental difference between solving a problem and throwing money at it. I would hope you all would have figured that out by now. Welfare FAILED to accomplish LBJ’s goal of “ending poverty” so because it FAILED we now call it redistribution of wealth and complain about the rich guy.
    Until liberals get it through their thick heads that throwing money at problems does not solve ANYTHING we will continue to have these disagreements. I am all about giving back to society but society does not equal the federal government. Once again until liberals get THAT idea though their heads we are going to continue to have disagreements. One last point.
    Susan since your all about giving back to society in what ways in the last year have you contributed to the welfare and lifestyle of those in need around you OTHER than paying taxes? Once again a fundamental difference, conservatives give out of a sense of moral obligation on an individual basis. liberals want to be generous with other peoples money.

  • o.u.

    Er, yes, plumbers and electricians can charge high rates and so make a lot of money. At least they do here in the UK, and I assume it’s not that different in the US. It’s a skilled technical job that needs to be done to a high-standard, as the consequences of faulty work can be very expensive and dangerous.

    What the article above fails to mention:
    Joe does not need a license to practice plumbing in his state – his employer needs to be licensed. He has done the training. He works as a plumber.

    Joe did not say that he earned $250,000 – he was saying that if he managed to achieve his own ‘American Dream’ and buy the plumbing business which he had in mind, and if he then attempted to grow it a bit, he would be becoming liable to Obama’s proposed taxes.

  • NashEntLaw, you make my point for me. Your clients didn’t become wealthy by thievery, they own businesses, or they inherited it. If they’re business owners then they’ve created their own wealth. If they’ve inherited the money then their Family has created the wealth. Taxes are necessary to provide for our common defense and general welfare. It is not the job of government to redistribute wealth.
    Every individual who earns money in this country wether it is one dollar or millions of dollars has the freedom to manage their earnings as they see fit. You speak of the cost benefit ratio of tax advice, and state that were you making $150K per year you would not pay $1000 to save $500. To me that is a very short sighted point of view. Perhaps I would only save $500 the first year. However if my financial advisor was any good I would see my income and investments grow so that over a good period of time I would become very, very wealthy.

    While the wealthy will continue to grow their wealth in spite of the government’s grandiose and well intentioned plan to take a portion of their hard earned money to give to those who are less successful, those who are less successful will not grow their incomes nor invest as a result. The end result will be a large class of poor people who are ungrateful of those who earn their wealth. Why? Because we know that taking a handout when we don’t really need one is wrong. This policy makes parasites of capable people, and it destroys them.

    Perhaps Obama’s policy would only increase a particular wealthy individual’s taxes by $40,000. That $40,000 may not disrupt that wealthy individual’s life very much, but suppose that he decided to lay off one of his employees to pay the increase in his tax? The $40,000 tax increase didn’t disrupt our wealthy individual very much, but it certainly did for the individual who lost their job because of it.

    Obama’s policies will greatly disrupt the economic well being of this country.

  • Angela

    Joe the plumber doesn’t want proserity to trinkle down he wants to take handouts. What does that say he confused just like Mcain is a pain and Palin has no idea what she’s saying. There all lunatics.

  • Dale

    “Joe the Plumber” does not wish to be taxed as a rich man and try’s to portray himself as a guy who is battling to live day by day. All I can say Joe is on 250k a year you are a rich. I also find it amazing that Joe never question the mega bucks spent on Palin’s wardrobe. Joe should start questioning McCain and his Boss (Bush) about how the US has gone from a economic super power to has been in eight years.

  • Pamela Pettus

    Maybe McCain can adopt Joe the Plumer.

  • Scott

    I am a licensed plumber that has a small business (and yes you need a license to have a plumbing business). As a small business owner with one employee the need too make around 200-250,000$ a year is that I ( the owner ) after everthing is paid off makes about 75-125,000$ a year if i worked for someone else, which meanes I make about 10-35 percent more a year than if I worked for someone else.
    1-taxes are about 40 perc. 2-healthcare for my employee and I are about 550$ a month 3-plumbing insurance is about 125$ a month. 4- work van fully stocked plumbing material 350$ amonth.5- misc. items 150$ 6- advertising and hours that I work that I dont get paid for (getting home after working 8 hours and sitting and doing paper work for 3 hours and weekends that i put in 10-15,000 a year.