I feel really bad for Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, aka “Joe the Plumber.” Here is a guy, minding his own business, playing football on his front lawn with his 13-year-old son, when he looks up and sees a candidate for president walking down his street. This particular candidate is tall, well-spoken, extraordinarily well-educated, accomplished, and black. Joe is a Republican, so he figures he’ll confront a Democrat he doesn’t much care for. He goes over to him and … well … embellishes a little bit, as we are all wont to do on occasion.
He tells the candidate he’s trying to buy a business that brings in more than $250,000 a year, and that would mean he would have to pay more taxes, wouldn’t it? The candidate probably should have probed Joe a bit about whether he meant that the business charged a total of $250,000 or whether that was the profit, but he probably figured that Joe was a businessman and didn’t want to insult his intelligence. So, the candidate from Chicago told him it would, but that tax savings for those earning less than he does would benefit others who could then afford his services more easily, meaning he could make more money from getting them as customers in a Keynesian “spreading the wealth around.” Continue reading →
Today’s polls, so far, show McCain tangibly making up ground nationally. While methodology has given us very wide spreads on polls to date, the average has been around five to eight points in Obama’s favor for the past two-to-three weeks. Real Clear Politics, which gathers polls and smooths them over time, has dropped Obama’s lead from just over 7 points yesterday to 6.8 points, today. There are some oddities in the new poll numbers, however (all of which reflect opinion prior to last night’s debate). Zogby and GWU/Battleground, both of which have tended to lean towards McCain, are actually showing increases in Obama’s lead to six points. Gallup, which has generally been leaning towards Obama, has closed from a high of 11 points a few days ago to six points today, or only two if you accept their “traditional” likely voter model. Rasmussen, on the other hand, which has been very steady, has reduced Obama’s lead to four points, 50% to 46%. Continue reading →
“You don’t want to be a ditch-digger when you grow up,” my grandfather used to tell me.
Well, I don’t know if he ever said that or not, to be honest, but it somehow sticks in my mind that he did. It’s the kind of thing he would’ve said.
Ditch digging is honorable work—but it’s also a hard way to make a living.
He spoke from the experience that physical labor will give a man. For most of his life, he served as a postman in the small town of Eldred, Pa., sorting and shuffling mail, slipping letters into P.O. boxes, making small-talk with customers from behind the counter. The building smelled of envelopes and stamp adhesive. It was a pretty easy gig. Continue reading →
Welcome to your 15 minutes of fame. It’s not everyone who gets his name mentioned 286 times in a presidential debate. If you haven’t already, you simply must change your business’s name to Joe the Plumber. That’s just good marketing. Oh, and don’t forget to add the tag line, “As seen on TV!”
OK, Joe, so you had a conversation with Barack Obama and, while media reports are very sketchy about exactly what your circumstances are (not surprising), it appears you want to buy a business that “brings in” more than $250,000. I have yet to find out if “brings in” means $250,000 in revenue or profit (a very important distinction, Joe), but let’s assume for a moment that it’s profit we’re talking about. Under Barack Obama’s plan (as sketchy as it is on his website), a good guess would be that you would go into a higher tax bracket, paying about 3.6% more in taxes on every dollar you earn over $250,000, for a total marginal tax rate of 39.6% — exactly the same as it was in the 1990s.