Pay attention, Democrats:
Some of Middle Tennessee’s “Joe the plumbers” missed Wednesday night’s debate, but they know their name and profession made a splash.
Joe Wurzelbacher of Ohio was a central figure in the candidates’ arguments about taxing small-business owners — they mentioned “Joe” or “Joe the plumber” more than 20 times. A widely circulated video of him questioning Barack Obama’s tax plan made the plumber a representative of the nation’s ambitious blue-collar workers.
“I didn’t watch it, but I’ve been hearing a lot about this plumber,” said a chuckling Joe Brown of Joe B. Sullivan & Sons in Nashville. Brown said he stopped paying attention to the politics because his mind is made up — although he wouldn’t say who he’ll vote for.
Joe Schwark, owner of JMS Plumbing in Spring Hill, said he has a general distrust of politicians, but appreciated the recognition of his craft.
“Personally, I don’t think either of them is what the country needs,” he said. “But it is what it is.”
Schwark said he agrees with the original Joe the plumber’s problem with raising taxes for people who earn more than $250,000 a year. Taxes are the plight of the small-business owner, he said.
“I work for every penny,” he said. “Taxes are what kills me, and if either of them raise taxes, it hurts people like me. You know, we jump though hoops as business owners. There is liability and vehicle insurance, and there are gas prices. For every dollar that comes in, it’s going out.”
After reducing his staff by 10 in recent months, Donald “Joe” Ward of W.W. Plumbing in Murfreesboro said he was glad to see a blue-collar worker at the center of presidential candidates’ conversations.
“Sounded good to me,” Ward said. “I thought it was great. But I had 63 workers and now I have 53. The whole thing is out of whack. I don’t think we should tax the working people if they don’t make as much money.”
If Obama’s ‘spread the wealth’ plan comes to fruition, we are all screwed.
This is what went down during the Obama Q&A soundbite:
Mr. Wurzelbacher was playing football in his front yard with his son, Joey, on Sunday afternoon when Mr. Obama made an unscheduled stop to go door to door greeting voters and asking for their support.
In his conversation with Mr. Wurzelbacher, Mr. Obama tried to justify his plan tax breaks to 95 percent of Americans and raise taxes on incomes above $250,000.
Mr. Obama said his plan would improve the economy for other people trying to get a start in small business, and “spread the wealth.”
Joe the Plumber, of Knoxville, that is, says he’s less concerned about whether he gets a tax break if his customers still can’t afford to hire him.
Still, Joe Shanks, a licensed master plumber and owner of Joe’s Plumbing Service in the Cedar Bluff area, has followed the presidential campaigns the same as his much-quoted counterpart in Toledo, Ohio, who questioned Democratic Sen. Barack Obama over his proposed tax hike for those who make more than $250,000 a year.
Shanks said his business, which he jointly runs with his wife, Catherine, doesn’t earn the couple nearly that much income.
Especially lately, with business at about half what he usually handles, thanks to a flailing national economy that has left would-be customers skittish about hiring him.
“I can’t make money right now,” explained Shanks, who’s been in business for 25 years. “I’ve had to lower my prices just to get the job. I’m going for that cheap dollar – I have to.”
Shanks, an independent voter, said he’s supporting Republican Sen. John McCain, citing the official’s career experience in office as the deciding factor for him.
“I’d just feel more comfortable, confident and safe with McCain,” the plumber said. “McCain’s been there. Obama’s just not that experienced.”
He (Obama) approaches an average American citizen, and doesn’t get the response tailored for an Obama audience.
Remember, working class (white) folks are ‘bitter, gun-clinging, racists’.