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. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Joe the Plumber smacks of Karl Rove, no?!?!

    October 16, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  2. ed

    I know this guy. He is not what you think. He is a plumber yes. He is named Joe yes. But he does live in a "semi-gated community" of Holland that has and will continue to keep a seperatist lifestyle of whites only. I live in the area and believe me, taking this guys opinion as fact or even the "common mans" view is not the view of all of us. I may not agree with all that Barack Obama has to say but I do respect the fact that he went into this area of town to campain even though if he were living in the Toledo area he would not be able to find a home in this area except for the govt. housing that is outside the village and down the road. Don't be fooled by McCains campain spin on this one.

    October 16, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  3. the Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    Hey Joe Biden has a three letter word for us. It is JOBS. A nice three letter word

    Hey Joe, I am from the Midwest and where I live "JOBS" is a four letter word. But then I didn't go to the IVY LEAGUE school that you and OBama did.

    Makes one wonder about OBama's choice for VP doesn't it?

    October 16, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  4. No Hillary = No Obama

    Joe the Plumber and Obama the Lawyer – both on stage. People need to remember Obama is a lawyer, practiced in arguing and technique, years of knowing how to frame and contextualize issues. McCain is pure straight talk – McCain is Joe.

    October 16, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  5. Bulldog

    Shawn Shaffer,

    If you actually read the article, under Obama if Joe does ever make 250,000 dollars his taxes would only go up by approximately $1500. That is hardly going to stop Joe from hiring another employee. With and income of $250,000 a tax increase of $1500 is hardly a stress put on that person. Give us all a break and get your facts straight.

    October 16, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |

    Well, I'm poor now, but when I win the Lottery I don't want to have to pay a lot of taxes so I am going to vote for the guy who will ensure that I stay poor until I win that Lottery. Huh?

    October 16, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  7. wisconsin cheesehead

    what a crock. I know several small business owners and I asked each of them if they were worried about Obama's tax plan negatively affecting their business, because they must make 250'000. All I got in response was a a laugh. I wonder if it's because they don't make anywhere near 250 K

    October 16, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  8. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    More fear tactics by McCain. More lies.

    October 16, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |


    MCCAIN/PALIN TICKET TO NOWHERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 16, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  10. Independent but Leaning

    The people of this country literally cannot afford to have Obama-Pelosi-Reid running the government. How many of Obama's answers started with "We need more funding for..."

    October 16, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  11. Anna

    If so few small businesses would pay the higher tax, why would Obama push for it in his plan? It must be a lucrative part of his tax plan for him to bother increasing taxes on so few small businesses.

    October 16, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  12. Beah

    Hi Joe,
    I am a small business owner. Sure I make six figure BUT NOT $250,000.00 PER ANNUM.

    I am not worried about paying too much taxes under the OBAMA plan. I also donate money to different charities. If I have millions I wouldn't mine paying more because I know a lot of hard working Americans that don't make a lot of money because they don't have the skills and education to advance them in their company especially now that the job market is very competitive. We should encourage all young Americans to get their education because they are the future.

    October 16, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  13. Robert n Long Beach

    Once again Sen. McCain makes up his 'facts' to fit whatever message he wants to convey. Problem is, we really don't know what the message is because he has no policies to really promote.

    October 16, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  14. Independent but Leaning

    If anybody thinks Obama is going to spend all this money and implement all these new programs without raising taxes, well, you're in denial. The LAST thing the people of America need in these tough financial times are higher taxes.

    October 16, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  15. Scott Tucson

    Obama and his side kick Ol' Joe are both your typical tax and spend liberal democrats. The two sees no problems and have no guilt about taking your hard earn cash that you can surely use to feed, cloth and educate your family and freely giving it away to others. Many who don't wish to get off their butts and work for a living like the rest of us.

    Who can better distribute weath across this nation? I know it's us the American people by our spending in the community. We just need to keep more of OUR MONEY in our pockets than to pi** it away in taxes to govt free loading programs that has a bottomless hole.

    October 16, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  16. Justin, ny

    look – its not like if you make over 250,000 you're going to be taxed to death or anything. and be honest – if you have THAT MUCH MONEY, can you afford to pay an extra couple of hundred of dollars each year in taxes? YES YOU CAN

    October 16, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  17. Shawn_T

    Joe the Plumber....what a republican joke!

    So Joe, you make $250K (a quarter MILLION $) a year doing plumbing work? What, are your pipes made of gold?

    And you make so much, STILL you're annoyed about paying just a little more so that 95% of the rest of the country could maybe get some relief?

    I got news for you pal....you are SELFISH. Plain and simple. Now go vote red, which you were going to anyway.

    October 16, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  18. Prosperity on who's watch?

    I like the way the republicans ignore the fact that in the last 28 years the only time we've had a budget surplus and prosperity in this country was the 8 years democrats held the white house...

    October 16, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  19. Robert

    It's obvious to me that McCain could not really explain the details of Obama's Tax Plan becuse he didn't really understand what he was talking about. He just isn't smart enough to be President!

    October 16, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  20. Vincent, North Carolina

    Personally, I think Sen. McCain should thoroughly read Sen. Obama's tax plan and he will see that only a small handfull of "small businesses" would actually see a hike. Also, those do that do see a hike in taxes will only be paying less than $2,000.00 more in taxes. First of all, I don't see what the big problem is with raising or paying taxes. Pres. Clinton raised taxes, lowered the federal deficit, and oh yea, people were actaully way better off than they are now. Taxes, especially slightly higher taxes is what keep necessary programs in this country alive.

    October 16, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  21. Felly

    Joe the Plumber is a tax evader just like some Republicans do.

    October 16, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  22. MG

    When you have a record deficit, the only way you can get it under control is to raise taxes and cut spending.

    Think of it in comparison to your personal budget. Are you really going to pay off those credit cards by cutting back on the money going toward your bills?

    Remember Bush Sr and the "read my lips" comment? Then he had to raise taxes and lot to Clinton the next election for making that promise and then not following through? By being realistic, I am not easily fooled nor am I dissappointed when my taxes get raised, which either candidate will have to do once elected with our current financial condition.

    October 16, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  23. GINA, OHIO


    October 16, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  24. I must be poor

    People $250,000 is nothing to sneeze at! My mother is a doctor and my father has his PhD and is a professor and they combined didn't hit $250,000!!

    If you're making that much money, no matter how hard earned it is, giving up a few more dollars in taxes won't change your ability to pay the note on your BMW.

    October 16, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  25. Belle2

    Right! Obama does not like Joe the Plumber so he must not be real!

    October 16, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
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