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White House ’08: Who’s the real plumber here? Not so fast …

Column by Chris Graham

And here I was beginning to like Joe the Plumber, when I find out that his first name is not Joe, but Samuel, and he’s not even a real plumber. That on top of not being anywhere near the $250,000 tax bracket, not really being in a position of being able to buy the company that he works for, and, well, at least he is registered to vote, though there had been some question about that at the outset.

Funny how the stories you tell people standing out in your front yard about your life and times can come back to bite you when it turns out that one of those people in the front yard was Barack Obama, and the stories that you told him ended up being the centerpiece of another guy named John McCain’s debate strategy – and actually, the final three weeks of his rudderless campaign, now that they’ve made a web ad featuring Joe the Plumber that unironically details his story as if it were his story, even as we now know that it isn’t.

To give the guy that we’re calling Joe the Plumber credit, he does work for a plumbing company in Ohio, though according to the Toledo Blade he’s not licensed to do plumbing work and not registered as a plumber in Ohio, which basically means he’s not a plumber.

According to court records from his 2006 divorce, he makes $40,000 a year, not a bad living, but certainly not near the threshold that would see his income taxes affected adversely under Barack Obama’s fiscal plan, which cuts taxes for middle-class Americans, including people not named Joe who are not plumbers, like Joe the Plumber, up to a $250,000-a-year income threshold. And it would only impact people like Joe the Plumber … Not! who aspire to buy the small business that they work for, as remote as that possibility might be for people who want to run a plumbing business without a plumbing license, as long as they made more than $250,000 in a year.

Now, to give Joe the Plumber (Aspiring) credit, he might not have yet been able to pass the test needed to become a certified plumber, which I can guess is pretty hard, because, to be honest, I have a hard time figuring out the basics of the plunger, and so have made it a house rule that we always call the plumber when something goes wrong that usually requires a plumbing expert to do whatever it is that they do to fix things, but Joe the Whatever We Should Call Him But Plumber Since He’s Not a Real Plumber is clearly a smart guy. Because as much as Obama says his tax plan is only going to kick in higher taxes for people if they make over $250,000, as Sam Who’s Not a Plumber points out, “Two-fifty is his number now. When is it going to be one-fifty? When is it going to be one hundred?”

It’s hard to argue with that reasoning, isn’t it? Maybe Obama isn’t telling us the truth. Just like maybe McCain isn’t telling us the truth when he says he really didn’t mean to suggest that he wanted us to be in Iraq for a hundred years. Maybe he meant one-fifty, or two-fifty. And maybe he doesn’t want to just massively cut taxes for his fellow multimillionaires. Maybe he wants to eliminate them entirely.

For The Non-Plumber Soon to be Formerly Known as Joe the Plumber’s sake, I hope he at least had the foresight to trademark his name, because otherwise he’s setting himself up to get royally screwed twice – first in the unlikely event that John McCain is elected president and his limited middle-class tax cuts and taxes on health insurance hit plumbers real and imagined like a lead pipe across the forehead, second when some savvy entrepreneurial type who already owns his own business makes a mint selling Joe the Plumber T-shirts and coffee mugs and toilet-paper dispensers and the like.

augusta free press
augusta free press