October 16th, 2008
12:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Fact check: Plumber Joe's taxes

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/16/art.joe.cnn.jpg caption="How would Obama's tax plan actually affect Joe's taxes."]McCain has entrepreneurs spooked about widespread tax hikes, but fewer than 2% of small-business owners would pay more under Obama's plan.

(CNNMoney.com) - In speech after speech, presidential candidate John McCain hammers on the claim that his rival Barack Obama will raise taxes on many small businesses.

At the debate on Wednesday night, McCain said, "The small businesses that we're talking about would receive an increase in their taxes right now."

More typically he has said: "What [Obama] hasn't told you is that he would tax half of the income of small businesses in America," a line used in La Crosse, Wisc., last week.

Should small business owners fear for their wallets if Obama is elected? Not the vast majority, business and tax experts say.

To make its claim, according to a McCain spokesman, the campaign counts as a small-business owner any taxpayer who files a Schedule C, E or F – the forms used to report gains and losses from business ventures and farms.

Using that definition and citing IRS data, the campaign notes that "56.8% of total small business income is earned by businesses in the top two rates, which Barack Obama has pledged to raise."

It's true that Obama has proposed raising taxes on the top two income rates.

But there are three main problems with McCain's charge.

Full story from CNNMoney.com

soundoff (517 Responses)
  1. ohio

    JOE how much do you make?? we have to elect mccain because Joe needs a tax break. OMG!! another GOP stunt

    October 16, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  2. facts are facts

    Turns out that Joe Wurzelbacher from the Toledo event is a close relative of Robert Wurzelbacher of Milford, Ohio. Who’s Robert Wurzelbacher? Only Charles Keating’s son-in-law and the former senior vice president of American Continental, the parent company of the infamous Lincoln Savings and Loan.

    The above is a copy and paste from Google go there yourself and check it out just put in the name.

    October 16, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  3. rj

    For the love of everything sacred. You're ALL missing the point! You HAVE to pay taxes. Some of you act like it's a choice. We BUY into our society, we're not born into it! So many of you have this arrogant sense of entitlement oozing from you every word. Your taxes don't go to help the poor, you morons! They go to pay for the services you all seem to be taking for granted; roads (and not the ones to nowhere), schools, police, fire services, streetlights, the military, politicians, etc. Most of the services put into place are to protect us or make our lives better. These services cost money and the government needs taxes to pay for them. What seems to be the problem? Is paying a proportional level of tax too much for some people? Is the idea that if you make more money, you're somehow better than everyone else and should pay less taxes really the definition of the American Dream? Very few "small business" owners will pay any more taxes with Obama's plan. And even if they do, they will only pay more on what is over the limit of the preceding tax bracket. They won't get taxed on their ENTIRE income... People should really do more research before opening their mouths and closing their minds...

    October 16, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  4. MBW

    When is John Mc Cain going to stop lying about Obama raising taxes?
    Over and over again, Obama said individuals and small businesses that make less than $250,000 will not get tax increases. But over and over again Mc Cain keeps saying everyone's taxes will increase. We don't need another lier as president. The current one has gotten us in an endless war and a depression. Enough is enough. Send this lier back to Arizona.

    October 16, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  5. nobama

    Apparently most of you did not listen to Joe the Plumber. He said his intention is to buy the business that he curretnkly works for. THIS would put his income at over $250K.
    The fact that more of you are not concerned about the socialist answer that Obama gave shows just how much kool-aid you've had to drink.
    Taxes are meant for infrastructure and necessary government programs. They were never intended to redistribute wealth. If you like that apporach. I believe Sweden will be glad to have a new citizen.

    October 16, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  6. Andy - Atlanta, GA

    If higher taxes for the rich is being socialist, then our tax system has always been socialist.

    Increasing taxes on large corporations, actually HELPS small businesses compete with them.

    October 16, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  7. Tony

    HEY JOE!



    October 16, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  8. Kim

    Who cares!!!! "Joe the Plumber" Not a Registered Voter

    October 16, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  9. Zagazaw


    October 16, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  10. Tony



    October 16, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  11. SoCal

    From the Toledo Blade: "Court records from a divorce show Mr. Wurzelbacher made $40,000 in 2006."

    In other words, this guys would really get the most out of Obama's Tax Plan... but he will vote for McCain becuase Obama's plan is "too socialist". This is how clever people are.

    October 16, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  12. EDW

    Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacker or aka "Joe the Plumber, is hardly an "UNDECIDED" voter. It has been found out that Joe the Plumber's father is a big donor to the GOP, and is the son in law to Charles Keating!! LOL!! Joe the Plumber's father even worked at Lincoln Savings and Loan, when all h*ll broke loose with Keating!

    October 16, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  13. Zagazaw

    we need to

    October 16, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  14. cheney=palin

    —–my brother is plumber and he doesn't make that much…
    plumbers make less than 46k a year.

    mcbush is soooooooo clueless, out of touch and he's idiot.
    i dont trust him or his running mate sarah palin who abused her power.

    October 16, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  15. X-Republican in Texas for Obama

    OK! How much did the McCain campaign pay Joe the plumber to approche Obama? McCain needed something to talk about at the debate and Joe was it.

    October 16, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  16. observer

    If I am earning income in the bracket of more than US$250,000, I don't mind paying slightly higher taxes.

    Looks, so many people are working ad hard as him besides many hours per day and they are far from this figure. If overall population are doing well and earning better income, business will prosper. It got to be bottom up as the markets are mainly middle income people.

    Moreover, a big tax cut for the rich does not necessarily result in more hiring of employees. Which boss would spend more than necessary even there is a big tax cut. But with more businesses, more employees are needed to run the companies.

    October 16, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  17. MikeL

    Look, I have a small business and I certainly dont take home $250K @ yr. I think Joe wanting to buy a business for $250K and other people that talk about their uncle making $1M dont understand business. After expenses we are lucky to take home 5% of our gross. So Joe would need to be turning over $5M @ yr. to make $250K. Maybe he shouldn't consider going into business.

    October 16, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  18. Sujith, NE

    Will you please dump McCain in one of the tanks you clean?Make sure you seal it tight.!

    October 16, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  19. Ron , West Coast

    Enough with Joe the plumber ,...... He does`nt believe there should be a social security system , he is`nt a plumber , he has no license , .... All the networks talked about him this morning on the news programs , all the while the stock market had dropped 300 hundred points ....... Whats more important ? Joe , or the economy ? I say there`s more important things to be concerned about !!!!!

    October 16, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  20. Mike,California

    I've had a plumbing business for 20 years in Los angeles and I've never had taxable income close to $250,000. I quess Joe the plumber in Ohio dose better than Mike the plumber in Beverly Hills.Joe must be a republican he's full of it.

    October 16, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  21. Alice

    Anyone watch the View today? Joy Behar pointed out that Joe the plumber would be much better off in a prosperous Obama economy paying more taxes than in a less prosperous McCain ecomony paying less taxes. Good point, Joy! I would rather pay higher taxes on a $500,000 income than lower taxes on a $250,000 income.

    October 16, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  22. commtrader

    If you Dems could read you'd see he said he was thinking about buying a business that makes 250K , not he is making 250k, put the kool aid down and read. Once agian DEMS EMOTIONAL AND BLINDED ,REPS Take the time to read. And if you've never owned a business, your ignorant on the topic. Your break at Mcdonalds is over GET BACK TO WORK,Don't worry "MESSIAH OBAMA" will tell you what to do next.

    October 16, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  23. Susie oklahoma

    The fact that "Joe" makes LESS then 250,000 makes it extremely funny for me that McCain made it an issue. Plumbers that I know only make a little less then 50,000 a year. It seriously looks like "Joe the plumber" was a plant for McCain's camp. Sad and not very effective when you get down to the actually numbers of it. He'd actually do better on Obama's plan then McCain. To each his own but dang the stupidity!

    October 16, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  24. Margaret H

    I think "joe the plummer" was a mc cain plant. Biden is exactly correct, plummers who own their own a small business don't make 250,000. Perhaps the owner of "Rotar Rooter" may. Just another sign of McCains desperation.

    October 16, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  25. frank

    Joe the plumber probably he is working for baracuda in Alaska for that kind of moneys.

    October 16, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
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