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. Gary

    Of course Joe the Plumber wants to be Joe the Plumber Owner, they charge $100.00 per hour for the work. while Joe the Plumber Worker gets paid $20.00 per hour to DO the work.

    October 16, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  2. Old white woman for Obama

    It is so amazing that McCain does not even flinch while he looks the American voters right in the eye and lies. He and Palin lie with such ease it is unnerving.
    McCain lost the debate big time last night and right now he is out there telling his supporters he did really well. He must be hoping they did not watch it.
    He appeared angry, rude and not the least bit Presidential. Obama never lost his cool and treated McCain with respect he did not earn.
    PS John, Palin's child has down syndrome. He mis not autistic.

    October 16, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. New Day

    OMG! we're talking a 3% hike to people making over 250K. I'm sorry you wont be able to afford your $40 lattes but people are losing their homes.

    When are republicans going pick a side? Either you are straight capitalists or you have strong christian morals. You cant complain about your objection to being mild inconvenienced in order to help the less fortunate and still claim the moral high ground.

    October 16, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  4. plumbers aint rich

    a plumbing company making a NET PROFIT of $250,000 should be taxed higher, period.

    think about it, Joe will be pocketing a quarter of a million dollars living in Ohio and even with higher taxes, he'll live comfortably.

    don't cry for joe the plumber.

    cry for joe the unemployed that will have a hard time making $25,000.

    Now if joe the plumber is saying total REVENUE is $250,000 , then its a whole different matter.

    Folks, the devil is in the details.

    October 16, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  5. Trina

    This guy won't make $250K as a plumber. He must be smoking the pipes! Please.

    October 16, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  6. ben

    Joe doesn't even have a contractor's lisence!

    October 16, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  7. NettenAZ

    For the "Joe Plumbers", Joe Neighbors, and the rest us.....If any individual or family has a taxable income of $250,000 they are certainly not paying their fair share in the tax system. Why, would I say that. Simple, they have discovered the ways (with their Accounts) to shelter their money and claim deductions that the real average American would never dream of using. So if any individual or family that makes less than $250K gets additional tax cuts I'm all for that.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 16, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  8. Erica

    This guys is not even registered to vote!!!

    October 16, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  9. Marjorie from Canada

    Joe is a republican not an independent as claimed. He does not even make over $250,000, so his question was not even for his own personal information ...so what was it for? I would like to see CNN do a report on this man and the purpose of this whole issue right that magically appeared right before the final debate. Joe was a plant .... Also why is John McCain not considered anti-American for not wearing a flag pin? It was certainly a big deal when Obama did not wear one.

    October 16, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  10. Beth

    Having worked for both the IRS and private business owners and self-employed owners, I can say that most do not report what they actually make. There are dozens of tax deductions they can get for a variety of things. Not to mention, I would say that plumbers, electricians, etc. take cash in that is not reported. Not everyone does that, but a huge majority do. Joe might be making $250,000, but I guarantee he is not reporting all of it.

    October 16, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  11. Karen- Bring on the Elections - WE ARE ONE

    Joe the plumber just said on TV that he was contacted by the McCain campaign to show up at the rally.. Enough said.. so he was a plant by the Republican party.

    October 16, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  12. Tupto

    another idiot looking for his 15 minutes of fame regardless of how stupid it makes him look. He should be fired since he is not licensed and the business he works for is now on the hook

    October 16, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  13. Karen - Missouri

    Wow...if he were related to the Robert Wurzelbacher from Ohio who was VP at the failed Lincoln Savings and Loan during the Keating 5 scandal he could get all the money he needs. hmmm...coincidence, huh?

    October 16, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  14. Benj

    If John McCain is for both saving the taxpayers money and private health insurance, why doesn't he opt out of his federal government-run health insurance plan. He will save the taxpayer money and, according to him, have a better health care program.

    October 16, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  15. ANGIE

    Cnn Please do the story on how Joe The Plumber is a Republican plant put out there by John Mccain I thought something was up with this guy something is Fishy here

    October 16, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  16. Jesus Praising, Freedom Loving American Patriot

    Yep, Joe the Plumber

    He charged me $200 to fix a pipe and didn't even clean up after himself.

    Materials: lest than $5
    Time: 10 minutes

    I think Joe could afford to pay a little more tax (even if that was true).

    October 16, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  17. Megan

    How many of you foolish Americans on here are complaining about Obama taxing people who make over 250,000 a year? How many of you will honestly EVER in your life make that much a year? Be sensible. Even people with medical degrees make a bit over 100,000 maybe even 150,000. Most Americans will never be considered wealthy- that is a simple fact. You can work all your life, make a good living, but the odds are you will not be rich. If you DID in fact make that much, hes not going to tax you into the poor house. Stop complaining about something that has nothing to do with you.

    October 16, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  18. Riaz

    If McCain is not going to TAX any one; he is also giving healthcare tax credits etc., he is going to cut ear marks that is only $18 billion, how on earth that he claims that he will balance the budget in next 4 years, by claiming a spending freeze; show me where on earth new $500 billion will come to balance the budget while we are fighting 2 wars, rising food costs, inflation, etc., NO GOOD NEWS... some one has to pay more TAX... i think, if I make more than $250,000 I dont mind paying more tax for this country. This is not sharing wealth; this is paying TAX. Democracy's run on TAXes that the GOVT collect. McCain get real, sharing wealth means, writing my some percentage of WEALTH to government not paying few extra percentage of TAX.. McCain where did you study Economics???

    October 16, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  19. Every Wilson


    October 16, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  20. Brian Wilson

    CNN, why do you lean so much on fact-check.org? You do realize that it is run by the Annenberg Foundation and Obama sat on the board of the Annenberg Challenge. Which way do you think it is going to spin the facts? Or maybe you know.

    October 16, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  21. Richard --- Rockingham, NC

    Is this man named Joe also Joe six pack !!!!!

    October 16, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  22. Jesus Praising, Freedom Loving American Patriot


    October 16, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  23. Raj, Dallas

    Joe Plumber ! You should go with Obama. "Income Tax" alone is not just the issue for you. Think how much you are paying for gas now, vs 8 years ago? Think of the other inflation that has costed you so much in your business? Think how much you have paid for (directly or indirectly) for the useless war during last 8 year? I suggest that you look at the broader picture. We have seen enough during alst 8 years and paid many forms of taxes. Its a time for change. OBAMA 08

    October 16, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  24. Rose

    Joe is a joke! He thought he had Obama that day, Obama stopped and spent a good 10 minutes with this guy explaining to him that his taxes WOULD NOT GO UP..This guy does not own a business yet!
    and he has no intentions of voting for Obama... He wants to call Obama's tax plan socialism.. Well Joe if we keep doing the same thing we have been doing, like jJHN mc cain wnts the government will have to support all of us.. SO THERE IS YOUR SOCILISNM JOE... II'M VOTING FOR THE SMART GUY, .AND THAT WOULD BE OBAMA!!!

    October 16, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  25. sa

    his grandfather is Charles Keating

    October 16, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
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