Joe the Plumber Springs a Leak

The NY Times has deflated high-profile McCain supporter “Joe the Plumber’s” professional credentials, as well as his much-touted assertion that Barack Obama’s economic plan would unfairly tax his future plumbing business.

You can read the news story here.

The Times ends by saying that new t-shirts have already been printed that read:

“Vote Joe the Plumber ’08—No More Drips in the White House.”

After this news, I would suggest this tagline instead: “Say it ain’t so, Joe.”


POSTSCRIPT (10/20/08):

In light of the many comments I received after posting this—critiquing Obama’s economic plan vis-à-vis small businesses—I thought I’d append an article I read today by the Nobel Lauriat economist Paul Krugman.

Krugman weighed in on the debate over whether McCain’s or Obama’s economic proposals would better serve the average Ohio plumber.  His opinion?  Obama’s.  Read the article here.

8 Responses to “Joe the Plumber Springs a Leak”
  1. jonolan says:

    So? Don’t hire him to fix your toilet. It still doesn’t change the fact that he asked Obama questions and Obama answered them. Nor does it change the fact that a lot of Americans didn’t like those answers.

  2. Kimberlee says:

    Thanks for your comment, jonolan. Political dialogue is what makes this country the best one on earth. I appreciate your candor.
    I would just add that while I agree that the top 5 percent of American earners won’t like Obama’s answers concerning his economic plans—I’m afraid it’s the other 95% that McCain’s campaign should focus on.

  3. jonolan says:

    66% of small businesses would be hit hard with increased tax burdens under Obama’s tax plan according to IRS data on business tax filings.

    Given employment figures, that would put somewhere over 100 million true blue-collar middle class and lower class jobs at risk plus increase inflation. This same sort of effect happened under Carter and his tax plans.

    That scares the crap out of me.

  4. Kimberlee says:

    Dear jonolan, Please forgive my ignorance, but could you explain to me how John McCain is going to help the middle class out of the current unemployment, inflation, recession, banking and credit crises with his economic proposals? That’s persistently been a missing link for me. I haven’t seen it well-outlined anywhere, including in the presidential debates. Thanks, Kimberlee
    PS- 100 million jobs lost/at risk—that’s a full third of the entire US population. A 33% unemployment rate would be staggering. That’d certainly beat the record of the last six years under Bush:
    from the US census: — Total number of American manufacturing jobs in 2000: 17,263,000
    — Total number of American manufacturing jobs in 2006: 14,197,000
    — Number of American manufacturing jobs lost between 2000 and 2006: 3,066,000
    Barack Obama would multiply that thirtyfold? How?

  5. TomArayaWillGetcha says:

    hey jonolan – can you substantiate that IRS claim with a link? You do understand that Obama’s plan taxes personal income over 250k, not business revenues over that amount. Big difference. And I’ll see your Carter and raise you a Coolidge/Hoover.

  6. jonolan says:


    I said “at risk” not terminated. Employment figures show that

    IRS Statistics of Income Bulletin –,,id=117514,00.html

    U.S. Small Business Administration – Table Of Small Business Size Standards –

    Americans for Tax Reform –

    BTW – Small businesses tend to pay income taxes at the household level. This means that the Obama plan to raise tax rates is a direct tax hike on small businesses—sole proprietorships, partnerships, S-corporations, and family farms.

    It would have hit me if I hadn’t closed out my company and went back to be a wage slave, albeit a white-collar one.

    100 million or more people are employed by small to mid-sized businesses (SMB). Any significant increase in taxation on those businesses is going to effect their ability to maintain current payrolls.

    When you the inflation that this would cause among the SMBs, the workers would be in greater jeopardy because that inflation would raise costs to the other small businesses. It’s a nasty feedback loops

    You’re right though. McCain hasn’t detailed a plan to help the middle class out of the current unemployment, inflation, recession, banking and credit crises with his economic proposals. Obama has, but I believe his plan will do harm instead of good.

  7. Kimberlee says:

    Dear jonolan,
    First, as I’m not an economist, could you spare me hours of reading the dense IRS tax jargon on the IRS site and tell me exactly where it says that 66% of small businesses gross over $250K in revenue? I can’t find it with all the rest of the impenetrable info.
    All I did find was that on page 10 of the pdf you cited that there were only around 135 million total income tax returns in 2005. I assume that losing 100 million jobs in 2008/9 would somehow mean the entire employable population would therefore be unemployed under your scenario.
    Second, I couldn’t figure out what the Small Business Size Standards page had to do with this either. It listed how many millions in income or number of employees that the entire US small business world sees. That doesn’t tell me how much the typical small business receives in revenue, nor the total taxable income of your average entrepreneur/small business owner.
    Third, Grover Norquist’s ATR site (linked to the GOP, big business and tobacco) is not what I consider to be a reliable, or if you prefer, unbiased source. He was the architect of Bush’s tax cuts. ‘Nuff said.
    Again, please forgive my naivete and indulge my desire for ease and clarity.

  8. Kimberlee says:

    On the Small Business subject, I just found the following comment online as a response to a NY Times opinion piece on the last debate (

    Advice for Joe the Plumber from an Obama supporter and small business owner:

    You will not pay any income taxes on the interest payments for your loan to buy the business, nor on your rent or tools or computers or other expenses, nor on the salaries of your employees (even your son or brother in law). You can pay yourself $250,000 a year and your taxes will not go up under Obama. You won’t pay taxes on your $12,000 health insurance plan or on a new $25,000 truck. You can put up to $45000 into a pension plan and you won’t pay taxes on that either. It is only after you make even more than all that that you will become part of the 2% of small businesses who will simply go back to paying the same taxes that we all did during the booming Clinton years. And I guarantee you that you would be better off paying slightly higher taxes in boom times than in the recession that the Republicans have created for us.

    — Steven in Santa Cruz

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