Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher has shot onto the national scene and captured (threatened?) an election with a simple question. Before you believe all the hype in the chopped up videos from both sides you should check out the full video for yourself (it should be around 5 minutes).
Two significant issues have emerged from the now famous meeting with Joe. First -most importantly- is how it highlights Obama’s tax plan. Second, is the aftermath reaction to the now famous socialist slip.
OBAMA: …If your revenue is above 250…
The majority of people are missing the fact that Obama is talking about small business REVENUE not profit. Total sales before you pay your employees, rent, materials cost, etc… NOT the cash going into your pocket as the owner after you’ve paid all your bills. I keep hearing people talk about $250k paychecks of these owners when that’s not what he’s talking about at all. Just looking at the payroll expenses of a mom and pop whatever with more than 5-8 employees and you quickly exceed 250k.
OBAMA: …95% of small businesses make less than 250…
Obama claims 95% of Small Biz will be unaffected (he really likes to reuse numbers since he also claims only 5% of individual’s taxes will go up) since they have a revenue of <$250k. Does the Small Business Administration’s official government definition of what constitutes a small business agree? In a word: NO.
The SBA caps different industries at various levels. Some industries are defined by revenues and the max revenue you can make and still be “small” is between 750,000 – 35.5 Million dollars. Other industries are capped by employees (100-1500) instead of revenues so we will have to do some payroll math. To stay under Obama’s magic 250 line workers could only earn $1.25/hr in industries that max out at 100 employees, while in industries where the cap is 1500 they could only be paid 8.3 cents an hour.
Now here’s a dirty secret that Obama doesn’t want you to realize: since the tax rate is based on revenues and not profit, it matters little how much the owner decides to take home at the end of the day. But if expenses are going up in one area of the business they have to go down somewhere else (whither its to keep the boss’ paycheck the same or keep the company in the black)… The easiest place to cut expenses? That would be employee payroll. So remember that when you’re voting to screw the rich SOB making over $250k… its really Joe employee that will take it on the chin.
Worse still than the truth about the Obama’s tax plan is the apparent reason for it that slipped out during the exchange: Obama said that while he didn’t “want to punish your success” he did want to “spread the wealth around” because “it’s good for everybody.” (everybody except those whose wealth is being spread around I suppose)
It’s this socialist slip that generated a firestorm aftermath aimed to distract voters from Obama’s answer by smearing the man who merely posed a are-you-going-to-raise-my-taxes question. Some snippets from the news:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: (dramatic music) What do we know about this plumber named Joe?
JOHN BERMAN: It doesn’t actually appear he’s a licensed plumber, and, it does appear there are some issues about past taxes. There are records of a tax lean filed against Joe!
WYATT ANDREWS: The man whose personal story steered a presidential debate over taxes, owes some $1,200 in back taxes.
DAVID “RODHAM” GERGEN: When we found out he was Sam the Non-plumber, it changed a little bit. (snicker) Why the McCain team didn’t vet the guy…
ROLAND MARTIN: Joe, you know, the fake plumber…
CHRISTOPHER HAYES: There’s this tremendous gap between the mythical creature of Joe the Plumber and the actual real-life guy, and we see this time and time again. Sarah Palin is a perfect example.
ANDERSON COOPER: Joe is not actually a licensed plumber. He admits he’s not making anywhere close to a quarter million. His name is actually not Joe; at least that’s not his first name. His name is Sam: Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher.
My personal favorite is Anderson Cooper’s insinuation of the seediness of someone -gasp- that goes by their middle name! Many are now calling Joe a “McCain plant” which as Ed Morrissey points out is laughable:
Someone has linked him to the long-deceased Charles Keating, suggesting that somehow Obama managed to pick a McCain plant out of a ropeline full of people by accident.
Really if you listen to Joe’s mid-exchange comment, you will correctly identify him as someone that is in favor of a flat/fair tax system not a well placed flunky. Perhaps hoping a thoughtful question would increase the chances of a flat/fair tax system under Obama. (Last time I check McCain couldn’t care less about a a flat or fair tax system.)
Obama & Biden both took stabs at Joe the would be plumbing business owner:
OBAMA: “How many plumbers you know that are making a quarter-million dollars a year?” (video-obama-mocks-joe-the-plumber-crowd-laughs)
Funny, I’m pretty sure that Obama understood (since he was there) that it was a plumbing business with revenues of over 250k… but this really just shows that Obama is intentionally trying to confuse the issue of business revenues verses “rich” people paychecks.
BIDEN: “I don’t have any Joe the Plumbers in my neighborhood…” (biden-video)
So is that an admission of Sen. Joe being healthily separated from the masses or a slam on Plumber Joe?..
One other insight: Several people have tried to make Obama sound like Robin Hood. But Robin didn’t steal from the rich and give to the poor, he stole from a corrupt government that over-taxed everyone resulting in everyone except government officials becoming poor and gave the tax money back to the people.
The truly interesting thing is that Obama doesn’t seem interested in distancing himself from the “spread the wealth around” philosophy – just attacking those who disagree with it.