John McCain's favorite topic in the final presidential debate on 15 October was Joe the Plumber (Joe Wurzelbacher of Holland, OH.) He mentioned Joe the Plumber several times during the debate, often when Senator Obama was speaking. Perhaps it was suggested to Senator McCain as something that might help him keep from grimacing or blinking?
McCain said again and again that poor old Joe wasn't going to be able to buy the business he's been working for (for 10-12 hours/day, mind you!) because evil Obama was going to take away all Joe's money by taxing him if he buys this business. Joe himself was interviewed on the phone by Katie Couric and didn't say that Obama threatened to prevent him from buying a business... in fact he said that Obama's tax proposals wouldn't raise his taxes "right now" but he's concerned that it's a "slippery slope" and feels that Obama is sure to decide later on that "$100,000 is too much" and raise taxes at that level.
My first reaction to McCain's harping about Joe the Plumber last night, and "small businesses" in general that are sure to be ruined by increasing the marginal tax rate on income over $250,000 is that TAXES ARE NOT ON GROSS INCOME. That's a dirty little secret that McCain is never going to admit to you, and he's CERTAINLY never going to say a word about the fact that the increased taxes will only be on the marginal amount of income that exceeds $250,000. Perhaps he thinks that people who aren't smart enough to see through Palin's perky folksy facade and recognize that she's just another politician also aren't smart enough to understand big words like "marginal" and understand how taxes work?
So, if Joe the Plumber is able to buy a business that has an adjusted gross (after expenses for materials, mileage, employee wages, etc.) of over $250,000, he can probably afford to pay a higher percentage of the amount over $250k. McCain thinks that this will force Joe to fire all his employees... never mind the fact that those employees' wages reduce the income of the business, and CERTAINLY don't talk about the fact that Obama's plan offers tax credits for job creation and for small businesses that provide healthcare to their employees.
Couric's interview of Joe the Plumber really left me thinking that Joe's a Republican and always was. It's okay that he's skeptical about a tax increase that doesn't affect him and may never affect him, but it's disingenuous for McCain to portray this as something that made up Joe's mind... never mind that it's probably McCain's version of Bush 41's "Read my lips" because if he somehow managed to get elected, McCain would either end up raising taxes or doing even more harm to our economy along the same lines as W with his "cut taxes, borrow more" policies.