Saturday, October 18, 2008

All about Joe

At a rally at Florida International University, McCain made a leap by suggesting that the Obama campaign was somehow maligning Joe the Plumber. He said, “People are digging through his personal life, and he has TV crews camped out in front of his house. He didn’t ask for Senator Obama to come to his house. He wasn’t recruited or prompted by our campaign. He just asked a question. And Americans ought to be able to ask Senator Obama tough questions without being smeared and targeted with political attacks.” Never mind that McCain was the one who put Joe into the spotlight during the last debate. McCain brought up Joe’s name and used him as a prop. Now he is trying to blame Joe’s predicament on Obama.

Here is what happened:

When Obama was canvassing a neighborhood in Ohio, going door to door, Joe decided to step out in front of the camera and ask a question about whether buying his boss’s business would force him to pay a higher tax rate under the Obama plan. Obama explained to him that the business grosses more than $250k, that is certainly not his tax liability. He would have to make net profits of more than $250k to be affected by the Obama plan. But 97% of small businesses never make that kind of profit because there are so many expenses to deduct that tax liability is always limited. If the net profit, after all expenses, is more than $250K, there is only a 3% difference between Obama's small business tax rate and McCain's small business rate on anything more $250K. So even if he made more than that, it would be offset by the additional benefit that Obama's plan offers: a per employee tax credit for new employees and the elimination of capital gains for small businesses. Very importantly, the Obama health care savings and benefits to small business would more than make up for any modest tax increase. This doesn’t sound like Obama is “punishing” small businesses.

I personally know and have known several small business owners, including one in my own family who is quite successful, and have never heard one say ‘I'm going to stop making more money because the government is going to take more of it.’ That argument doesn’t hold water.

Joe the Plumber acknowledged during his conversation with Obama that he would be better off with the Democrat's tax plan, if he really was a plumber.

Reporters began digging into records and found out that Joe is not really a plumber and has never held a plumber’s license, which is required in Toledo and several surrounding municipalities. He never completed an apprenticeship, is not a journeyman or master plumber, and does not belong to the plumber’s union which is quite active in Ohio. Joe has acknowledged he doesn't have a plumber's license, but said he didn't need one because he works for someone else at a company that does residential work. That excuse doesn’t fly in Ohio. According to David Golis, manager and residential building official for the Toledo Division of Building Inspection, Joe does need to be licensed to do plumbing work in Ohio.


And then there is the matter of his income taxes. Joe owes the state of Ohio $1,182.98 in personal income tax, according to Lucas County Court of Common Pleas records. In January 2007, Ohio's Department of Taxation filed a lien on his property until he pays the debt. The lien remains active.

Joe’s a real stand up guy, isn’t he?