Joe the Plumber

Joe Wurzelbacher was the star of last night’s presidential debate. He was mentioned almost two dozen times as “Joe the Plumber” — a guy who met Obama at a campaign stop in Holland, Ohio last weekend.

Joe asked Obama if he believed in the American dream. He then told Obama that he was about to buy a company that is going to make between $250,000 and $280,000 a year and he was concerned that his taxes were going to go up under Obama’s tax plan.

Here is the original video:

Before I get into WHO “Joe the Plumber” is or not is, I need to point out some very obvious flaws in his premise in the video.

“Joe” is telling us that he is currently employed as a plumber for a company that he is thinking about buying. That company generates $250,000 per year in taxable income — at least that is what he is telling us. Here is the problem with that story that jumped out at me last night when McCain first brought it up:

If you are going to buy a company that generates an annual taxable income of $250,000, you are going to pay at least a million dollars for that company. The $250k annual taxable income (after expenses such as wages, materials, and other costs) is a ROI or return of investment. That is a lot of drain-snaking and billable hours for one plumber to come up with that kind of scratch to buy a business that generates that kind of taxable income. Never mind that nothing had been said as to what type of business this was, or whether it was a corporation, an “S Corp”, or a sole proprietorship. There are many ways a company can be structured that will limit the tax exposure.

The insinuation when he asked his question of Obama, was that he was currently in the process of buying this company.

Apparently, he is not.

This morning, after the debate, Joe has been “giving face” all over the media. Here is an interview from last night:


Who is “Joe the Plumber”?

This is a good question. In today’s political atmosphere, you can’t just be thrust into the national spotlight and not expect someone to start digging. At 9PM Eastern time, nobody really had anything. By 9AM Eastern, people had just started to dig. Here is is, almost 3PM Eastern and a whole truckload of stuff is starting to come in.

Here is what we know now:

Samuel “Joe” Wurzelbacher is not a license plumber. He has never been in the union, nor has he had any formal training. He does work for a Master Plumber and in Ohio, he is allowed to work under a Master Plumber without actually having a license himself.

According to Lucas County Building Inspection records, A. W. Newell Corp. does maintain a state plumbing license, and one with the City of Toledo, but would not be allowed to work in Lucas County outside of Toledo without a county license.

Mr. Wurzelbacher said he works under Al Newell’s license, but according to Ohio building regulations, he must maintain his own license to do plumbing work.

He is also not registered to operate as a plumber in Ohio, which means he’s not a plumber. [Source – Toledo Blade]

“Joe the not-so-much-a Plumber” has been working for the A. W. Newell Corp for almost six years, and after further questioning, Joe did admit that the subject of the possibility of someday buying the company had come up when he was hired, but never since nor has he saved up any money to do so.

Mr. Wurzelbacher said he objects to Mr. Obama’s plans to raise income taxes on incomes above $250,000. He said he makes no where near that much money but he would not say how much he makes or if he ever expects to make $250,000. Court records from a divorce show Mr. Wurzelbacher made $40,000 in 2006.

He said, “Is it right to take someone’s money because they work a little harder? It’s taking away from someone’s hard work.”

Mr. Wurzelbacher said he disagrees with the idea of people being taxed at a higher rate because they earn more.

“They’re going to take more of your money because you’ve been more successful,” he said.

So, two years ago “Joe the illegal unlicensed Plumber” was raking in 40 grand, and while he would be receiving a substantial cut in his taxes under an Obama Administration, he is somehow up in arms over someone making over $250,000 having to pay an additional $2000 in taxes every year. He mouths the words, but there seems to be more to his disdain than just him buying into the “it’s socialism” argument.

There was some speculation that “Joe” wasn’t even registered to vote, but apparently he has been registered as a Republican Lucas County under Samuel Joseph Worzelbacher since 1992.

“We have his named spelled W-O, instead of W-U,” Linda Howe, executive director of the Lucas County Board of Elections, said in a telephone interview. “Handwriting is sometimes hard to read. He has never corrected it in his registration card.”

The records, she said, showed he voted Republican in the March primary. [Source – NY Times]

If he has ‘never corrected it’, then is he really legal to vote? After all, what is all this ruckus about faulty registrations about, huh? I would think that as a director of the Board of Elections, if you’ve just found a faulty voter registration record, aren’t you supposed to remove that record? After all, this is what the Republicans have been yelling about all this time.

Thousands of African American Democrats have been purged from Ohio voter rolls for LESSER issues than this man’s name misspelling.

Just sayin’…

We also find out that Joe already has a tax lien against him for failing to pay $1,183 in personal property taxes, so we know he seems to have a problem with taxes no matter what the rate is. He is no fan of Social Security either.

It seems that “Joe” has a problem with a LOT of things like taxes, licenses, regulations, etc.

It is no wonder McCain really likes this guy. Like Palin, who is not qualified to be VP, Joe is not qualified to be a plumber. Once again, the McCain judgment is called into question…


Misha is spitting nails because he is mad the media is pointing out these little discrepancies about “Joe”. Of course he is now relying on one of the 101st Fighting Keyboarders to debunk the claims of there not being the proper licenses for Joe to work and he has found one in the Stop the ACLU license expert. (everyone is an expert)

Now “Joe” is an apprentice and that is the reason why he doesn’t have a license yet. But he is working on it. But that is not really the point.

The point is, “Joe the almost-a-Plumber” represented himself to Obama as being a plumber that has been working for the past fifteen years AS A PLUMBER and that he was on the verge of buying this business that generated $250,000 -$280,000 of taxable income and that Obama’s plan was going to prevent him from being able to do that. It was not only a lie, but one that could never have been true.


There is even more to this story, and this comes from John McCain’s own campaign. (ouch, that is gonna leave a mark)

Martin Eisenstadt is a political strategist and conservative analyst who “works alongside John McCain”. [see bio]

Eisenstadt writes in his blog that “Joe” is a relative of Charles Keating.

Yeah, THAT Charles Keating. Small world? Coinky-dink? Does anyone smell rotting mackerel?

Here is what he had to say last night:

John McCain did great tonight in the debate. But every time John mentioned “Joe the Plumber,” some of us in the campaign banged our heads against the wall. If Steve Schmidt had any hair left, I hear he would have been pulling it out tonight. He reportedly screamed at John’s debate prep team tonight (out of earshot of reporters, of course). “You idiots – he’s related to Charles Keating” of the Keating Five scandal!” They thought they had a real live Joe Six-Pack who’s spurned Barack Obama’s tax plan. But what they forgot to do was check on Joe Wurzelbacher’s background.

Turns out that Joe Wurzelbacher from the Toledo event is a close relative of Robert Wurzelbacher of Milford, Ohio. Who’s Robert Wurzelbacher? Only Charles Keating’s son-in-law and the former senior vice president of American Continental, the parent company of the infamous Lincoln Savings and Loan. The now retired elder Wurzelbacher is also a major contributor to Republican causes giving well over $10,000 in the last few years.

Does any of this make Joe the Plumber a bad guy? Of course not. In fact, after that ill-fated night at the Watergate, he may finally be giving plumbers a good name. But at a debate where John goes full bore on Obama for guilt-by-association with William Ayers (and dodges a bullet by Obama not mentioning Keating Five), the press is going to bring it back front and center by midday tomorrow once they delve deeper into the most popular plumber in America.

Honestly? This is yet another distraction to keep everyone from talking about something important, like ….

The Economy.

I doubt that this thing was a set up, nor do I think the McCain campaign put this guy up to asking Obama his question. I know it is pretty easy to play connect-the-dots and part of me succumbed to the urge a while ago.

But frankly, I don’t care. McCain pulled a boner by highlighting this “average Joe”, and made him sound like a real life ‘potential victim’ of Obama’s economic plans, and it turns out it is like the rest of the McCain Campaign — empty and devoid of substance.

Put a fork in the campaign, John, it is done.