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. onelove

    aby, your logic is a little twisted don't you think.

    The American dream is EVERYONE those earning less than 250k and those earning above 250k.

    On another note: What is wrong Sen. McCain? He needs to fully check people out before he starts running his mouth. I work in the pest/termite industry and have direct contact with plumbers. They aren't netting 250k a year.

    October 16, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  2. Trysh, Los Angeles

    Well, according to Joe the Plumber, those of us who don't make $250K don't work hard like he does, so we deserve to pay more of our check in taxes than he does. He doesn't feel he should be penalized for making more money, but he does feel that WE should be penalized for making less.

    October 16, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  3. Zydeco D

    Hey I just heard this guy is not even a licensed plumber. So how can he make that much money.

    October 16, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  4. king

    joe is a fraud

    October 16, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  5. Den

    Look, we’re in the biggest economic challenge since the Great Depression. Our political leaders has failed and lied to us time and time again. We need fresh, new, and well taught out ideas to jump-start this economy. I’m a veteran of the United States Army and a soon to be college graduate and we can’t offered with the continued spending. My mother always told me that life is not always fair, but it does balances it self out. We need a president that’s going to have to balance the books, get other countries out our pocket book and create a surplus for our economy. To me everything else is irrelevant.

    October 16, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  6. Michael

    Good grief. If I knew that as a plumber I could earn over $250,000.00 in taxable income I would not have worried about The Army, College and Grad school. I would have just quit high school, and started doing plumbing work. If you look closely here something is below the surface.

    October 16, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  7. Jack - DSM, Iowa

    And with an Obama/Biden administration, no small business owner can expect to make $100,000.00 a year considering the added weight of more taxes. They would turn entrepenuers into share-croppers.

    October 16, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  8. Ralph Nader

    Joe is living in a dream world. He doesn't even have the $250,000...yet he is worried about it already. Maybe he should focus his attention on trying to earn the money first.

    October 16, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  9. sabrina01

    Go Obama

    October 16, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  10. ryan w.

    I am a registered democratic i have voted in the last three elections and primaries, I have owned a small business the amount of taxes that a small business has to pay is unreal, but there is one thing that really bothers me is this. I always thought and was led to believe that if you work hard, plan for the future you would be ok. I still believe that, this election and Barack Obama has proved to me democrats dont want to work they want someone else to work and have it taken away to give to someone that does not work or work hard enough. This is a failed experiment in economics other countries tried it it did not work.

    October 16, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  11. Bruce

    The bottom line: McCain's claim only works by using an overly broad definition of what counts as a "small business" – and even with that definition, fewer than 2% of business owners would be hit by Obama's proposed rate increase. For those who are affected, the increase would be levied only on a part of their earnings, not all of them.

    October 16, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  12. HP

    Hey History Guy: "Spread the Wealth" according to Obama . That's the


    Everytime Obama speak, I expect KARL MARX to peek out from behind the podium. You nitwitts are too thickheaded to see it.....

    We Need MCCAIN the Candidate For The Free People...

    October 16, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  13. Jill former Plumber

    Is Joe in the Plumbers Union?

    October 16, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  14. Phil Newton from Murphy, Oregon

    Joe the Plumber doesn't make a QUARTER of a MILLION dollars a year.

    Joe the plumber makes less than a FIFTH of that.

    Joe the Plumber would SAVE MONEY under Obam's tax plan.

    The BS Express is off the rails on this.

    October 16, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  15. S in NY

    Don't miss the point. Imagine being poor all of your life and working like the dickens to better your situation. You work hard and you catch a break or two and you find yourself making more money than you ever thought possible. Then, BAM! the government slaps you back down by taking your hard-earned money and giving it to someone else. The point is, how is that fair?

    October 16, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  16. Edwin

    Good Ole Plumber Joe doesn't even make $250K a year..figures..McCain is a real clown...

    October 16, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  17. Brian Michel

    Anybody know why William Ayres hasn't been asked for his take on his name being brought up? It couldn't be because,if he starts talking ,the mainstream media might see their candidate lose, could it? We heard from everyone who ever claimed to have known Bush 4 yrs ago when he was accused of evading service.

    October 16, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  18. Blake

    If Joe the plumber makes $250,000 by the time he deducts at least the one exemption (himself) and more if he is married with children, his standard or itemized deductions, any business expenses, any payroll expenses, his adjusted gross income is now below $250,000 and he will not see a tax increase.

    October 16, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  19. MrRevolution

    Hey Joe the Plummer – why don't you release your tax returns to the media and prove that you make more than $250K? Also provide evidence that you are registered to vote. I bet Joe the Plummer does not even have health insurance and rushes to ER everytime he gets sick. So you may want to disclose if or not you have health insurance. Are you familiar with all of the issues this country is facing today? I bet not. If you are so Patriotic a Plummer, why don't you go fix the plumming problems in Iraq and Afghanistan for Uncle McSame?

    October 16, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  20. dittohead with forty names

    My father told me to go out and get a real job and stop listening to Rush Limbaugh all day.I told him I want to be just like Rush,drop out of school,and start my own radio program and become filthy rich getting morons to believe my BS.

    October 16, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |

    Say it ain't so, Joe!

    Now, it appears that Joe the Liar not even registered to vote!

    October 16, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  22. Dal CA

    Joe the Plumber did not make 250,000 as per his own admission. So why was that a big thing for JOHN the Lying McCain.

    October 16, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  23. That one is Karl Marxs friend too

    Adam W you poor misdirected soul. God Fearing Christians are the most generous and giving people around. They just want to be able to do the giving without the government taking it and giving it to who they think best. Don't drink the Kool-aide son. Your reality is very misguided.

    October 16, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  24. Riaz

    We had a small business, a grocery store... we didn't even make $2000 per month... we closed the business... a business owner that makes $20k a month in profits is a medium business not SMALL business!!!

    October 16, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  25. Ken

    It seems to me that everyone is missing the point that McCain was making, and that is that if Obama is elected, your taxes will end up going up. How else do you think that he is going to pay for all of the promises to the American people he made.

    I personally do not trust Obama and that he is not going to be able to make the promises that he made to the American people come true.

    NOBAMA 2008

    McCain/Palin 2008

    October 16, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
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