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. North Dallas Thirty

    Isn't it fun to watch the Obamabot heads explode?

    Really, CNN, did you have to go to so much effort to try to smear a typical small businessperson to protect your Obama?

    What's funny is how the Democrats on this board whine about the necessity of raising taxes to help the poor - but I haven't seen a one of them say that they gave the Federal government more than they were required to last year.

    October 16, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  2. Bob

    I love you guys, the question you should really be debating is... Why should any American pay more than any other American ? We need to step away from this "from each according to their means, to each according to their needs" stuff. That's communism, its nothing more than spreading misery equally to all people !

    October 16, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  3. dollorbil

    THIS JOE MUST BE BUSY ALL THE TIME I BET HE GETS NO SLEEP HE WOULD HAVE TO NOT SLEEPTO MAKE ENOUGH TOO BE TAXED UNDER OBAMA'S PLAN.

    October 16, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Joe the plummer would do far better under the Obama plan....even if he had to pay a little more tax his customers would have much more money under Obama and thus his business would be far more profitable.

    October 16, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  5. Peggy Orr

    It was just reported on MSNBC that Joe the Plumber does not have a plumber's license! So much for dear ol' Joe.

    October 16, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  6. President Barack Obama

    You Phony...... Joe, you were going to vote for McClown regardless of what Barack had to say..... You know you dont make 250K a year & if you do sit down & shut up because you are not struggling like the majority of the country.

    October 16, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  7. TyWebb

    A McPalin "Plant"

    October 16, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  8. Peggy Orr

    It was just reported on MSNBC that Joe the Plumber does not have a plumber's license. So much for dear ol' Joe!

    October 16, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  9. Richard Bullock

    As informative as I found this post, there is one point about business income that seems to be missing from the discussion, and which might address Joe Plummer's concern. That is the difference between income and revenue. Many small business owners seem to confuse revenue with income when it is only the latter that is taxed. I used to run a law firm where my annual revenue was well in excess of $250,000. However, after expenses, it never came close to that amount. If Joe's business clears more than $250,000 after expenses, he really can afford a slightly higher tax rate.

    October 16, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  10. Barbara Chicago, IL

    This Joe the Pummer thing sounds so dumb it's beyond belief. HOW MANY PLUMMERS DO ANY OF YOU KNOW THAT MAKES OVER 250K A YEAR. NONE!!!!!!!!

    He tried to put a face to a certain group of average Joe's but the problem is that it wont hold water because every plummer is going to think to themselves, hmmm "I dont make anyware near that amount of money so WHO, John McCain are you talking to because its not me?"

    The fact of the matter is that John McCain refuses to accept the fact that 95% Of Americans make less than 250k per year. YES McCain, we dont have as much money as you and Cindy. Shocker right?

    October 16, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  11. Joe The Plumbed

    Probably I posted the previous comment prematurely. Honestly, I file my taxes jointly with my wife and our annual taxable income is more than the Obama magic figure. We are immigrants and came to this country relatively late in our life. No, we are not stealing any American jobs because we both work in a field where there is a scarcity of American workers. Like all Americans, we also have our share of mortgages and bills to pay. Still, we make much more than what is required for a comfortable living and retirement – at least that is what we think. Any, we are just too happy to pay our taxes at the rate the government deems necessary to efficiently run this country. We consider that to be our payback to the society which is giving us so much.

    October 16, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  12. Richie

    Joe the plumber isn't a "plant" or a "tool", he's another dumb racist American that could not balance a checkbook. It's sad that McW didn't even look into it enough to know that in Joe's wildest dreams, he will never owe more taxes. He's just too stupid to realize it.

    October 16, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  13. TC

    Why attack Joe the plumber? If anything he gave BO the opportunity to further explain his plan and debunk stories coming from the other side. Talk about crazy!

    October 16, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  14. Army LT

    McCain's lies are astounding.

    How dumb does he think we are?

    When will he stop?

    Joe the plumber is a plant who would be lucky to make 75,000 a year.

    And he is not even registered to vote!

    Stop repeating the plumber story, McCain. It makes your eyes blink and your nose grow.

    October 16, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  15. gordon

    Joe the plummer would do far better under the Obama plan....even if he had to pay a little more tax, his customers would have more money and thus his business would do much better and his overall income (and everyones) would rise.

    October 16, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  16. STOP THE HATE

    According to the Kiplinger Tax Letter vol. 88 No. 19 dd. 9/19/08:
    "Most Filers would benefit from Obama's plan because he would retain the Bush tax cust for singles who haveh AGI of $200K or less and couples with AGI of $250K or less. He wants to make permanent the four lower marginal tax rates, and would let these filers keep marraige penalty relief, and the $1K child credit and the 15% top tax rate on Cap gains and dividends.
    Obama wants high-incomers to pay more tax. The top rate on dividends and long-term gains would increase to 20% for joint filers with AGIs over $250K and singles over $200K. Filers with incomes abouve $373,100 would pay 39.6% up from 35%. And those making over $250K would pay more Social Security Tax.
    Middle and low-incomers would fare better thatn the wealthy under Obama. They'd get a new credit to offseta a portion of payroll taxes. The earned income credit would be expanded and the child and dependent care credits would be fully refundable. Plus, senior citizens with AGIs of less than $50K would pay no income tax.
    By contrast, filers in the upper brackets get more tax cuts under McCain. . . "
    These are TAX EXPERTS. Sounds like Joe could use some tax and business advice to make a go at his dream. Bet he'd do better under Obama anyway because people would be able to afford to hire him!

    BTW unrelated. I am a woman, and Sarah Palin is in NO WAY a role model for me.

    October 16, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  17. Bitter in Texas

    That's not new as far as thge Rethuglicans go...lie, streach the truth, distort, falseify...anything goes. Lord, give me a ballot, I'm oh, so ready to get this ober with.
    That One & Say it ain't so, Jo 08-12

    October 16, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  18. Jeanette Issano

    This guy Joe the Plumber is a fake. he does not earn $250.000 per year. This was set up by the McShame campaign.

    October 16, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  19. andrea

    North Dallas- We Made less than 20.000 dollars last years . they said we made to much mony and we payed at the end of the year we didn't ge a tax return, we make house payments car payments and have a teenage son. You are the one that sounds upset, maybe Its because Mccain is a looser!!!!

    October 16, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  20. hello

    Joe plumber is working for Republican party and confronted Obama in Ohio.
    check all his credential, why he is worried about money which he has not made it yet?

    October 16, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  21. Debby

    Please people Joe the plumber did not say he made 250.th. dollars in that interview. He said if he buys the business it will put his income in that bracket down the road and asked if he will get taxed and Obama said yes. He also asked if he will have to pay more business's taxes if his company earns more than 250. and Obama said yes. Obama did tell him if he makes 500.th. profit the first year in business he wouldn't have to pay capital gains tax.

    As far as Bidens comments again he gaffed up. Joe the plumber has been working at this same business for 11 years. You mean in all that time he makes the same amount of money a year when he was first employed. I don't think so Biden. The 44 th. for plumbers is a base pay only when you first start. Its sad for Biden to think that the Am. people are that ignorant.

    October 16, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  22. shynynface

    There must be a area in the tax that someone gets to pay. The little guy must not carry all the weight of such a great nation. Mccain need not look to become President ever, because the republican label is truly useless especially now.Oh by the way Where is the bimbo they brought from Alaska and her bulldog husband who seem to like to ruffle feathers. Well if he needs and office he can build one in Alaska and get Mccain a sdie office next to his.

    October 16, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  23. Nikole

    Joe the Plumber is not even a registered voter.

    October 16, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  24. Marsha (Atlanta)

    Hey- That one is Karl Marxs friend too-please say something factual and intelligent sometimes...I like reading the posts but you are beginning to annoy me.

    October 16, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  25. Vick

    You should fact check Joe himself!

    He is from a major republican family and is a direct relative of Charles Keating! Why does CNN not report this?

    October 16, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
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