Thursday, October 16, 2008

Joe, the "Plumber" - His Name's Not Joe and He Isn't a Plumber!


Is 'Joe the Plumber' a plumber? That's debatable

By JOHN SEEWER, Associated Press Writer John Seewer, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 23 mins ago

HOLLAND, Ohio – Joe the Plumber's story sprang a few leaks Thursday. Turns out that the man who was held up by John McCain as the typical, hard-working American taxpayer isn't really a licensed plumber. And court documents show he owes nearly $1,200 in back taxes.

"Joe," whose name is Samuel J. Wurzelbacher [xo - because "Sam the Plumber" didn't sound "authentic enough!], was cited repeatedly in Wednesday night's final presidential debate by McCain for questioning Barack Obama's tax policy.

Wurzelbacher instantly became a media celebrity, fielding calls during the debate and facing reporters outside his home near Toledo on Thursday morning for an impromptu nationally televised news conference.

The burly, bald man 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. [xo - is this like being experienced in foreign affairs because you can see Russia from your porch?]

But Wurzelbacher still would need to be a licensed apprentice or journeyman to work in Toledo, and he's not, said David Golis, manager and residential building official for the Toledo Division of Building Inspection.

State and local records show Wurzelbacher has no license, although his employer does. Golis said there are no records of inspectors citing Wurzelbacher for unlicensed work in Toledo.

And then there was the matter of his taxes.

Wurzelbacher 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 claim on his property until he pays the debt, according to the records. The lien remains active.
At the debate, McCain cited Wurzelbacher as an example of someone who wants to buy a plumbing business but would be hurt by Obama's tax plans.

Wurzelbacher, a self-described conservative, had spoken to Obama at a rally Sunday near his home and asked him whether his tax plan would keep him from buying the business that currently employs him, which earns more than $250,000 a year.

"Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn't it?" Wurzelbacher asked.

[xo - If he can't pay $1200 in back taxes, how the fuck does he think he's going to buy the plumbing company he works for when HE'S NOT EVEN A FUCKING PLUMBER?! Stated another way - "Senator Obama, I'm currently a telemarketing agent working for AT&T. Wouldn't your tax plan increase my taxes IF I PULLED BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OUT OF MY ASS AND BOUGHT AT&T?"]

Obama said that under his proposal taxes on any revenue from $250,000 on down would stay the same, but that amounts above that level would be subject to a 39 percent tax, instead of the current 36 percent rate.

McCain said Obama's plan would stop entrepreneurs such as Wurzelbacher [xo - WTF? He's a hired plunger jockey! All he has to know is shit flows downhill and payday is Friday. That doesn't make him an "entrepreneur"...it makes him a broke-ass, shit-covered flunky with delusions of grandeur.] from investing in new small businesses and keep existing ones from growing.

The McCain campaign posted a Web ad featuring the exchange between Wurzelbacher and Obama.

During an afternoon taping of "Late Show with David Letterman," McCain said he had not yet spoken to Wurzelbacher, and apologized for the press attention he had received.

"Joe, if you're watching, I'm sorry," McCain said. [xo - His name is Sam, douche nozzle.]

Wurzelbacher had to deal with a clog of two dozen reporters outside his home on a narrow street lined with ranch- and split-level homes Thursday morning. No detail about the divorced father of a 13-year-old boy was too small: Was he a registered voter? Did he have a plumbing license? Whom will he vote for?

Leaning against his black Dodge Durango SUV, Wurzelbacher at first was amused by it all, then overwhelmed and finally a little annoyed.

"I don't have a lot of pull. It's not like I'm Matt Damon," he said "I just hope I'm not making too much of a fool of myself."

[xo - You are. Stop.]

He indicated he was a fan of the military and McCain but wouldn't say who will get his vote. He is registered as a Republican, the county elections board said, because he voted in the GOP primary in March.

Wurzelbacher said a McCain campaign official contacted him several days before the debate to ask him to appear with the candidate at a Toledo rally scheduled for Sunday.

He told reporters he's unsure if he'll attend, since he's now scheduled to be in New York for TV interviews.

On Thursday in New Hampshire, Obama said McCain was misleading voters by proposing tax plans that favor the rich while criticizing an Obama tax plan that would raise taxes only on people making more than $250,000 a year, just 5 percent of all taxpayers.

"He's trying to suggest that a plumber is the guy he's fighting for," Obama said. "How many plumbers you know that are making a quarter-million dollars a year?"

Wurzelbacher said he felt a bit overwhelmed by all the attention.

"I'm kind of like Britney Spears having a headache. Everybody wants to know about it," he joked.

___

Associated Press writer Sharon Theimer in Washington contributed to this report.

FOOTNOTE: In a single day Joe the Plumber has done more interviews than Sarah Palin has this entire campaign. (ABC, CBS, CNN and more)

19 comments:

Stinkbait Boucher said...

All day I was secretly pleased with myself for having not seen the debates (I don't hate America - I was on a plane).

I had a crazy, dumb day today and as such my exposure to the debacle was via Twitter exclusively.

Until I saw your post I hadn't realized that this "Joe the Plumber" was supposed to have been an actual person.

I am now as annoyed and pissed off as I would have been had I actually witnessed the debate.

Thank you for that.

Man I wish I could vote right now...

poodlesplace said...

He was a republican plant. He is an idiot.

m.v. said...

B.S#1 there are tons of people who go by their middle name and everyone else referred to the guy as "joe"
B.S.#2 you don't have to have a license to own a business, not everyone who owns an airline is a pilot, whatever.The guy may or may not want to buy the business, he had a right to ask what he wanted.
that's all besides the point, what's important is what was said by obama something like "spread the wealth around", but since it doesn't make obama look good to non-communists (who endorsed him BTW) you'd rather concentrate on the "Joe" or "Sam" question. very fucking important.

Chimpotle said...

Did you mention that the business that "Joe" wants to buy makes closer to $100k than $250k, so the tax issue isn't even relevant?

Hoopstar said...

You also forgot to mention that he's one of Charles Keating's son-in-law's.

travel said...

XO - Why are you attacking this guy? Why do you give a fuck if he paid his property taxes or not? Seems to me I recall you had a few unpaid tax problems yourself a while back. And, why do you care if he's a licensed plumber or not and worse, ridicule him? Is he not good enough to clean up the shit of your college educated behind?

He didn't ask to become a television star or a political football. He asked a question of a candidate that pertained to his future goals. The left didn't like at all how this played out with their savior so the troops set out to destroy him personally.

Congratulations on personifying the worst of what the Left has become.

Anonymous said...

I encourage all Obama supporters to continue the tar and feathering of a man who had the audacity to ask a simple question of Sen Obama. It shows people of all walks of life the treatment they can expect if they dare to question Obama or his policies (should he become president). Obama's presidency will usher in a new age of McCarthism unlike this country has never seen. I fear for the future of my children.

Anonymous said...

Rather than focusing on the question, anyone with an independent mind would be focusing on the answer.

Bottom line, success is to be punished and failure to be rewarded.

Xavier Onassis said...

stink - My pleasure. Glad I could help.

poodles - I agree.

m.v. - "The guy may or may not want to buy the business, he had a right to ask what he wanted." Sure he did. But don't try to pass him off in public as a plumber (he's not), and an entreprenuer (he's not), who's business (he doesn't own one), would be restrained from growing under Obama's tax plan (it wouldn't).

travel - "Why are you attacking this guy?"

I'm not. I'm quoting an AP article on the guy and inserting comments that I think are relevant.

"Why do you give a fuck if he paid his property taxes or not? Seems to me I recall you had a few unpaid tax problems yourself a while back."

Absolutely correct. I'm still working at paying those taxes. But I don't view taxes as being something evil. I think that taxes fund the American dream. I think every American should be proud to pay taxes. It is the American government that guarantees and secures our country and your freedom. It is your taxes that pay for that security and freedom. It sure the fuck ain't "Joe" the plumber.

"Is he not good enough to clean up the shit of your college educated behind?"

Heh heh. WRONG! I'm a high school drop-out with a GED who spent years working my ass off and educating myself to get where I am today. I have less college education than you do.

"He didn't ask to become a television star or a political football. He asked a question of a candidate that pertained to his future goals."

Bullshit. He was a plant. This whole thing reeks of Rove.

travel said...

"Bullshit. He was a plant. This whole thing reeks of Rove."

If Joe was a plant, give the guy an award for getting Obama to come to his neighborhood in front of his house and at the same time arrange for the press to be there to film him and Obama while getting Obama to admit that he wants to spread the wealth around.

Damn, Joe should get a new career as a miracle worker.

Faith said...

"But I don't view taxes as being something evil. I think that taxes fund the American dream. I think every American should be proud to pay taxes. It is the American government that guarantees and secures our country and your freedom. It is your taxes that pay for that security and freedom."

I still wanna know why it should be viewed as ok for some people to pay more so other people can achieve their "American dream." When I point out that it seems a very socialist ideal for people to want everyone to be even-steven in the economic game, I get called an Elitist. I shrug to that, because Liberals are gonna think what they want to about me, and there's nothing I can do about it.

But here's what I'm confused about: I make less than $40,000 annually at my job. So I pay about 22 - 24% out of my paychecks, right? So far this year, I have apparently paid over $6,000 in taxes, and we still have two and a half months to go! (And that's without the annual bill I get from the state, mind you. Fucking state of Kansas and its evil state taxes in April...)

And I'm just one of the 81% of tax-payers that will have some sort of relief under Obama's plan, right? Ok, whatever...

A millionaire obviously makes significantly more than me. So, say someone makes a round mill in one year. What do they pay right now? 36%? That's $360,000 gone from their annual paycheck! I know it might seem like "pocket change" to those of us making a significant amount less, but still...I think we'd feel differently if WE were the ones making that kind of money.

Now bring it down to a slightly more comprehensible level...you make $300,000 annually as the manager over a small department of about 200 people at a company that has about 50,000 employees all together. And the government already gets a third of your paycheck under the current tax plan. And they want even MORE when Obama gets voted in? Why? Because they want to "spread the wealth"? Um, weren't they already kinda doing that? And now they want even MORE of the "wealth" you sorta need in order to put your 4 kids through college, in hopes that they might be as successful as you someday?

How does that make sense?

James said...

FYI, his middle name is Joseph, so yes his name is Joe. He's just not afraid to let people use his middle name.

He is a plumber, he just does not have a license. However, a license is not required in Ohio to be a plumber.

FAIL

poodlesplace, a republican plant? So the genius's that are running McCain's campaign new Obama would show up out front of Joe's house. That Obama would stop and have a conversation with Joe about taxes. And forced Obama to admit he would indeed tax people like joe and spread their wealth around. LOL

Tell me poodlesplace, where can I get a tin foil hat like yours?

Xavier Onassis said...

faith - "So, say someone makes a round mill in one year. What do they pay right now? 36%? That's $360,000 gone from their annual paycheck!"

Which would leave them with $640,000.00 in their pocket. I don't know about you, but I think I could make ends meet pretty well with $640,000.00 a year to play with.

But here's the deal. That hypothetical millionaire doesn't pay 36%. Not even close! When you have that much money, you can afford to avail yourself of the multitude of tax dodges and shelters that aren't available to plain working folk like you and me. You can hire accountants and lawyers to move your money around and optimize your net worth while minimizing your tax liability to ZERO. With the right financial strategy, that millionaire can even pay no taxes whatsoever and still get scads of money from the feds (that would be our taxes).

The millionaires of this world are doing just fine, thank you very much, and they are paying a much smaller percentage of their income in taxes than you and me.

In my world view, that means that they aren't pulling their own weight. They aren't sharing the burden of a civilized society. They are dodging their responsibilities and dumping them on our shoulders in order to maximize their personal wealth.

Individuals like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett were able to achieve their fabulous wealth because they were lucky enough to be born in a country whose government and financial infrastructure facilitates that sort of accumulation of wealth. America is their de facto business partner and America (that's you and me) deserve a cut of the action (that's taxes).

If Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and all of the lesser billionaires and millionaires were really paying that 36% you cited, they would all still be richer than God and we could fight 10 Iraqs and 10 Afghanistans, have National Health Care that covered everything from cancer to hang nails, give every Social Security recipient a livable wage and still have a surplus.

[DISCLAIMER: I haven't actually researched these figures...totes pulled them out of my ass...but I'll bet you $5.00 that my analysis is accurate...somebody prove me wrong! Bullevard73? You just got a new hobby!]

james - Did you read the article? "But Wurzelbacher still would need to be a licensed apprentice or journeyman to work in Toledo, and he's not, said David Golis, manager and residential building official for the Toledo Division of Building Inspection."

Also, james, I don't particularly care for your tone. I run an open place here. I have never, ever, deleted a comment or blocked a commenter.

But around here, we discuss issues. We may challenge another person's comments, but we don't attack the commentor. Your "foil hat" remark about poodles comes perilously close to a personal attack.

I will not allow my blog to descend into a cesspool of shit-flingers in which some local bloggers seem to enthusiastically wallow.

Be careful.

Faith said...

Ok, fair points. But you seem to have skipped the part where I specifically said that people like to say that hundreds of thousands of dollars is a drop in the bucket to a millionaire. I stand by my assertion that a proper millionaire, i.e. one that wishes to remain a millionaire, treats every last dollar of theirs as if it were worth another million.

Evading taxes...interesting. So, in your opinion, every single millionaire/billionaire has a way, through their amazing partnerships with lawyers and CPAs, to avoid having to pay taxes at all. Hm.

So pease help me understand how it would help at all for Obama to raise their taxes another 3%?

For the record, as the daughter of someone who has a considerable amount of wealth, you aren't all that far off...rich people that I know do find a way to try to minimize the huge amount of taxes owed year to year. But they don't avoid it entirely. At least my father doesn't. He also has to deal with people stealing from him because they think he has the $100,000 to spare. And he has to deal with lawsuits from people who claim to have hardship in their lives thanks to work they were able to obtain on one of his projects he did in the 80's. And he has to be as understanding as possible when a tenant suddenly skips out because they can't afford the lease payment anymore instead of checking with dad's company first to see if there's anything they can do to help them out throughout tough times. Which dad has also been known to do more than once, twice, or even 15 times...

Seems you have your hands full with amazingly cool commenters like James, so I'll let you get back to it. ;)

Faith said...

Also, I'm interested more in your opinion of the 2nd case I gave as an example. The person who makes a little above the $250,000 level who is giving up a full third of their salaries each year so as to assist with the government's goal to "spread the wealth." How would you feel if you signed on to make $300,000, and at the end of the year, $117,000 of that was just GONE? I know, I'd be happy to take home *just* $180,000 myself every year, but again, its all relative. Why should I get to pay less in taxes while that person making $300,000, who has 4 kids, a wife, and a mortgage to take care of, have to pay MORE year to year?

I just don't get it. Help me get it, XO!

Xavier Onassis said...

faith - "But you seem to have skipped the part where I specifically said that people like to say that hundreds of thousands of dollars is a drop in the bucket to a millionaire. I stand by my assertion that a proper millionaire, i.e. one that wishes to remain a millionaire, treats every last dollar of theirs as if it were worth another million."

Fair enough. I've often and consistently made the observation that rich people don't spend money like they are rich. They tend to treat each dollar like it is the only dollar they have and are reluctant to release it into "the wild" without some degree of confidence that at least two or more dollars will follow it home. That's how they got rich in the first place.

I also acknowledge and agree that rich people make easy targets for ne'er do wells looking to make an easy buck by falsely claiming shenannigans.

"Evading taxes...interesting. So, in your opinion, every single millionaire/billionaire has a way, through their amazing partnerships with lawyers and CPAs, to avoid having to pay taxes at all. Hm.

So please help me understand how it would help at all for Obama to raise their taxes another 3%?"

I'm not all that interested in "raising" their taxes by 3%. I'd be much more interested in finding a way for them to pay that mythical 36% that they should be GLADLY paying in gratitude to the civilized society that made their immense wealth possible.

I also acknowledge that even those incredibly wealthy individuals that manage to dodge their taxes often find ways to give back to society through their own philanthropy.

This gives them some control over how their wealth is redistributed and control is very important to them. Control is how they got where they are. I understand that.

But their endowment of a cultural center that bears their mother's name doesn't really help the owners of the mom and pop grocery store driven into bankruptcy by the owner of the Walmart chain who endowed that cultural center.

That's where government has a legitimate role. To enforce fairness and justice in the face of greed and self interest.

That's why we pay taxes and that's why tax avoidance at every level is giving the finger to anyone who has less than you.

s in Ohio said...

Sorry, but those at the top consume the most, use the most infrastructure in terms of roads, water, energy, air transport, etc., as well as own the most property that REQUIRES said infrastructure, so I think it's pretty fair that they pay more in taxes. WHat we have now is corparatist--bordering on fascism in this country, with a govt. controlled by oil and banking. Those at the very top earn their money off of the backs of the middle and lower classes who often do not have enough--money, healthcare, wealth--to insure that they have secure, comfortable, happy lives. When we as a country basically ensure the basic rights of some individuals because they have more money, e.g,. more privileges, than others who do not, and we do nothing to enable those in the lower classes to get ahead--such as by cutting taxes on them rather than giving upper income people more of a tax break, or ensuring that they have at least some minimal healthcare--that is terribly wrong. Oh, but I suppose that life isn't fair and that all of us in the middle and lower classes should just work harder or get a better job or else just shut up. There is a difference between socialism and sound economic policies that are geared towards benefitting the MOST in society, and as it stands, the lower and middle classes consist of the VAST majority of the people in the U.S. Thus, this charge of socialism is utter bullshit. That is, unless we are talking about corporate America, which gets the MAJORITY of welfare dollars in the U.S. Or, giving big tax breaks to the rich which is also an aspect of corporatism. God, it makes me sick to think that people are so ignorant as to think any of Obama's proposals are socialist. Morons.

travel said...

Here is an interesting link on the effect of taxes on Joe the Plumber from a pretty reputable source, the Tax Foundation. This whole site is interesting. In my opinion, both candidates oversimplify the effect of their tax plans because there are so many things that affect a person's taxes. Joe would file as single head of household since his son lives with him and this is much different than his liability would be if he was just single or married filing jointly. In any event, judge yourself.

I, myself, am most concerned about the impact of the candidates policies on marginal tax rates because that affects how much I decide to work and earn without getting bumped into a higher tax category, and that affects everybody, especially the middle class who make less than 250,000K a year.

Anyhow, for your reading pleasure:

http://www.taxfoundation.org/blog/

Faith said...

"God, it makes me sick to think that people are so ignorant as to think any of Obama's proposals are socialist. Morons."

Aaaannnd there it is. I was wondering how long it would take before someone came into this discussion and started calling the Republican-opinioned voice nasty names.

I might've had a desire to comment on some of what you said, s in ohio, had you not fallen to that level of base rudeness. But, as I'm a moron, you shouldn't be too disappointed in my decision to just leave well enough alone, right?