The third and final Presidential debate covered the economy, healthcare, taxation and the VP choices – but none of them were afforded as much attention as Joe the Plumber.
McCain mentioned Joe 21 times and Obama was good for 5 mentions, for a grand total of 26 mentions for Joe the Plumber. By contrast, Iraq came up 6 times. Joe came up more that the economy (16 times) and outshone mention of Sarah Palin and Joe Biden as well. Not surprisingly, we saw Joe the Plumber designs hit the system mid-debate and within a few hours Joe had about 1/4 the content of all plumber designs.
Joe Wurzelbacher (his last name isn’t “The Plumber” after all) became an unlikely hero for the McCain campaign after having a discussion with Obama on the campaign trail about the Illinois Senator’s proposed tax plan. McCain used Joe as an example of a hardworking American (dare we say Joe Six Pack?) who would pay more taxes under the Obama plan.
Obama countered by repeating what he’s been saying throughout the debates: That if you make less than $200,000 a year, your taxes will decrease. This works out to 98% of small business and 95% of America, making some wonder why Joe the Plumber is being held up as an everyman if he’s in the top 5% of small business owners.
As it turns out, Joe the Plumber doesn’t actually make $250,000 a year and is eligible for the Obama tax cuts. It would also seem that Joe would be eligible for the Obama tax cuts if he purchased the business he referenced, as gross receipts (the $250,000 – $280,000) is different than taxable income.
It seems Joe was concerned about the principle behind Obama’s plan. He worries that if he someday makes that much money he’ll be penalized for it, and he’s concerned that Obama might at some point lower the taxation thresholds.
Despite being made an instant celebrity thanks to McCain, Joe won’t endorse either candidate and is keeping his vote private.
Because that’s the American way.