Thursday, October 16, 2008

Joe in the Spotlight

This decidedly falls into the category of "be careful what you say." In last night's debate Senator McCain brought up a "Joe the Plumber" as an example of how Senator Obama would negatively impact small business owners with his fiscal policies. In fact, McCain mentioned Joe the Plumber two dozen times.

It turns out that a little fame is a dangerous thing for Joe. He ain't a Joe, nor a plumber. Oops.

Turns out that “Joe the Plumber,” as he became nationally known when Senator John McCain made him a theme at Wednesday night’s third and final presidential debate, may run a plumbing business but he is not a licensed plumber. His full name is Samuel J. Wurzelbacher. And he owes a bit in back taxes. The premise of his question to Mr. Obama about taxes may also be flawed, according to tax analysts.


An official at Local 50 of the plumber’s union, based in Toledo, said Mr. Wurzelbacher does not hold a license. He also has never served an apprenticeship and does not belong to the union. (The national plumber’s union, the United Association of Plumbers, Steamfitters, and Service Mechanics, endorsed Mr. Obama, it should be noted.) “He’s basically playing games with the world,” Thomas Joseph, the local’s business manager, said in a telephone interview Thursday morning.

Double oops.

On Thursday, he told the Associated Press that he felt like Britney Spears. “I’m kind of like Britney Spears having a headache,” he said. “Everybody wants to know about it.”

Why's everybody pickin' on me?

“All contractors are licensed, and he does not have a license, either as a contractor or a plumber,” the union official said, citing a search of government records. “I can’t find that he’s ever even applied for any kind of apprenticeship, and he has never belonged to local 189 in Columbus, which is what he claims on his Facebook page.” According to public records, Mr. Wurzelbacher has been subject to two liens, each over $1,000, one of which — a personal tax lien — is still outstanding.

Triple oops.

And his question to Mr. Obama about paying taxes? According to some tax analysts, if Mr. Wurzelbacher’s gross receipts from his business is $250,000 — and not his taxable income — then he would not have to pay higher taxes under Mr. Obama’s plan, and probably would be eligible for a tax cut.

Say it ain't so, Joe. There you go again.

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