Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Less-than-Average Joe...

Yes, yes, yes, his name was mentioned more times than either "change" or "hope" at the debate, only so both candidates could use him as a pawn in their efforts to appeal to the rest of us "average Joe's and Jane's" that they would make the better candidate.

This is politics, after all, and I don't expect anything less, really. What would hearing a political speech be if they didn't mention some story or anecdote about someone they spoke to for five seconds after a meeting or speech, am I right?

But then there are the "less-than-average" Joe's. The one's whose logic consists of the same fear tactics Republicans use whenever they need to rustle up some votes. Things like "He's dangerous!" or "He pals around with terrorists!" I'm surprised the "Gay marriage will lead to people marrying their sheep!" argument hasn't been raised in any Palin speeches thus far. "Slippery slope" and all that.

But then Joe, the now infamous plumber of Ohio, uses that same dumb-ass slippery-slope reasoning while trying to appear as if he isn't sure who he's going to vote for:

WURZELBACHER (aka, "Joe the Plumber"): I mean I have a pretty good idea who I’m going to vote for but you know that’s my - you know, the nice thing about going into the booth is only me and the lever knows. I think McCain did a fine job this evening, I think he brought up some good points. I do like his health care and I do like his, where he stands on taxes.
COURIC: Well, he [Obama] supposedly will raise taxes only on people who make over $250,000 a year. Would you be in that category?
WURZELBACHER: Not right now at presently, but, you know, question, so he's going to do that now for people who make $250,000 a year. When's he going to decide that $100,000 is too much, you know? I mean, you're on a slippery slope here. You vote on somebody who decides that $250,000 and you're rich? And $100,000 and you're rich? I mean, where does it end? You know, that's - people got to ask that question.
What's to stop that dangerous, terrorist-pal Obama from deciding that $25,000 is wealthy? Where does it stop? Oh my god!!! What if Obama thinks a fiver is "the new wealthy"??? Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!!!

Yes, because so many people are making $250,000 a year--that's pocket change, you know?

In fact, only 2 percent of households make that much money--2 PERCENT! When the new president will take office, those folks will earn 24.1 percent of all income (a whole fourth of all the earned income in the United States), and pay 43.6 percent of all personal federal income taxes, the Tax Policy Center figures. This web site puts the percentage of people making $250,000 a year at 3 percent.

The median American income? $48,000. "Even if you take out those just starting their careers and only count workers older than 25, the median household income is still about $53,000. That’s the true middle of the spectrum," states this web site. (Other sources: here, here, and here.) That's the average American household income: $48,000. Any way you slice it, compared to $48,000, $250,000 is stinking, filthy rich.

Now, bear with me: It is possible that Obama could get into office and suddenly decide that $100,000 is now wealthy. But what is the percentage of Americans who even make that much money? According to the 2006 figures:

So only about 6.5 percent of the population makes more than $100,000 per year... Which I suppose could be considered wealthy. But considering MOST of us tend to live quite nicely at the median of $48,000...?

I'm sorry, you won't get much sympathy from me, Joe. And if I were making $100,000 a year? I obviously won't mind paying more taxes.

You know why, Joe? McCain? Because I realize my taxes go toward things our country needs (and sometimes just plain wants, granted...) Public education (which Bush fucked up), snow plows, pot-hole filling, my mother's Social Security, planetarium displays ("overhead projector" my ass...)--a wealth of services most people don't realize their taxes pay for, which I suppose is why so many people grumble about them.

But knowing I can live perfectly fine on a lot less than $100,000, not to mention $250,000? I don't mind paying more if I know my money is not only going to make my life better, but to actually help others who make less than I. Call it political optimism if you like...

The facts about Joe the Plumber and "buying the plumbing business" which Joe estimated was worth $250,000 to $280,000? Turns out it's only worth about $100,000. Which may explain Joe's "slippery slope" fears above. What's even more interesting is that:

Wurzelbacher also acknowledged that he had no specific plans for buying Newell’s business, saying he and Newell had simply talked about the idea from time to time. He might have difficulty making the purchase: Court records from his divorce show that Wurzelbacher made $40,000 in 2006.

Even if he did buy Newell Plumbing and Heating, Obama’s tax plan wouldn’t affect him. While Wurzelbacher told Obama that he would be taxed at a higher rate because the company grossed more than $250,000 a year, Ohio business records show the company’s estimated total annual revenue as only $100,000. Actual taxable income would be even less than that.

In any event, Obama’s tax plan specifies that the higher rate would apply only to income above the $250,000 threshold. Assuming Wurzelbacher’s income as owner somehow hit $280,000 — the top end of his supposition of the company’s revenue — only the extra $30,000 would be taxed at a higher rate.

Analysts calculated that the extra tax would amount to $900, which would likely be more than offset by separate provisions of Obama’s plan: a 50 percent tax credit for health care and elimination of the capital gains tax for small businesses.
So... Not only is Joe's future business not worth as much as he thought it was, not only can he not afford to buy it, not only is he not a plumber in reality, not only would his business--should he buy it, learn how to run it, and become licensed by Ohio to be a plumber--have to unclog a lot of toilets, but even if he did manage to reach the magic number of $280,000, his taxes would still only work out to be about $900 more per year. Or to put it more simply, .36 percent more in taxes... Not 36 percent--point three six percent.

Hardly a tax increase...

Personally, I like the tax proposals put forth by Eddie and Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous:

EDDIE: Yes, Yes!… Why, oh why, do we pay taxes, hmmm? I mean, just to have bloody parking restrictions- and BUGGERY-UGLY traffic wardens, and BOLLOCKY-pedestrian-BLOODY-crossings?… and those BASTARD railings outside shops windows, making it so difficult so you can’t even get in them! I mean, I know they’re there to stop stupid people running into the street and killing themselves! But we’re not all stupid! We don’t all need nurse-maiding. I mean, why not just have a Stupidity Tax? Just tax the stupid people!
PATSY: And let them DIE!
Now there's a tax plan I could get behind. (And I do believe it would solve the Social Security crisis at the same time!)

Not bad for an average Joe like me, eh?

1 comment:

emmy said...

I second the tax proposal from AbFab. It would make Pennsylvania, (and all of the U.S.) a better place to live.