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The new Everyman

I just listened to a good fraction of the last Presidential debate of the year, and I have a new best friend: "Joe the Plumber". His moniker certainly makes him sound ordinary, salt-of-the-earth, just your average guy. He even has the same first name as "Joe Sixpack", the best friend of a week or two ago. But let's see...

"Joe the Plumber" has been working for a plumbing company for ten years, during which time he has built up enough savings to buy the company. After buying it, he expects to be netting at least $250,000/year, and to have over ten employees, as evidenced by the facts that his taxes will go up under the Obama administration and that he'll be fined if he doesn't provide health coverage for his employees.

I have a Ph.D, I've been working for a University for twelve years, and I thought I was doing pretty well for a middle-class American. I think our household income is about 90th percentile for the U.S. I have a retirement plan and a mortgage that I can afford, but basically no liquid savings -- certainly not enough to buy a company. I don't earn anywhere near $250,000/year, and I don't have any employees. Joe the Plumber is considerably wealthier than I am. But I guess from where McCain sits, Joe really is "salt of the earth", and I'm somewhere below the salt, not rich enough to even register on McCain's radar.

Good to have that cleared up.


It was an interesting surprise to me to learn that Senator Obama voted against the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Breyer; I am so clueless that I (previous to Senator McCain's gentle correction) thought that Breyer was nominated in 1994 long before Obama was in the senate. Glad that's corrected.

Oh, and Senator McCain was making lots of corrections last night; he seemed much more in touch with the debate and the present than other times. I also learned from him last night that Trig Palin has Autism rather than Downes Syndrome; I confess I get so confused with all these different kinds of children with special needs as I have none of my own.

Like you, I am also considered a career change into plumbing, for it is clearly a very profitable business.
Trig Palin has Autism rather than Downes [sic] Syndrome....

OK--that makes sense (the photos I've seen of Le Palin-P'tit Fils did not look like a Down Syndrome infant).

The little devil perched on my left shoulder is wondering whether the whole special-needs baby motif was a fabrication to woo the forced-birthers (lessee whether five years from now--assuming anyone remembers the Palins--some miraculous combination of therapy and prayer have rendered li'l Trig as NT as you or I) :-/
I think it was just a mistake on McCain's part.
Ooooohhh... icon squeee!
Oh, as for that little devil, yours and mine must be talking. Of course, I was also wondering if the Palin daughter was really pregnant, or it was a fabrication to distract from the idea that Trig was her baby.

But that was just the devil on my shoulder speaking...
Having seen some more-recent photos of the baby, I recant the previous statement--he's more recognizably a DS baby now. Still wonder what La Palin's game is, tho....
Hey, don't kid yourself. Plumbers make good money. Better than you, probably...WAY better than me. On the other hand, they pay TONS in liability insurance and other non-recoupable expenses. And where a guy hopes to find enough work to keep ten employees busy in this housing market, I can't imagine.

But yeah, Joe (who was a real guy, who's Polish last name escapes my mind) is firmly of the opinion that, at a quarter mil net per year, he a)working class and b)going to be paying for all those folks who aren't as successful as him.

'Cause we live in a socialist nation, ya know, and we practice equitable redistribution of wealth.

Some people are idiots. Unfortunately, those idiots become poster children for the misconceptions that drive the McCain campaign.
(who was a real guy, who's Polish last name escapes my mind)

Wurzelbacher. Which I'm quite sure is German, considering my maiden name, Wurtzel, is very German!

(Wurtzel was Wurzel before the boat, because the 'z' sounded like 'tz' and the 't' was added to make it more clear).



Oh, and I'm guessing that Wurzelbacher wasn't considering his expenses, AND I've heard that he's not even planning on buying that company nor does he have the moola to do so. Go figure.
Trig Palin has Autism rather than Downs Syndrome ...

Can you even diagnose autism in a few-month-old baby?

No employees?

Maybe that's your mistake. If you had employees, you could be exploiting them, and making that $250,000 a year. It's the "cheap-labor conservative" way!
BTW, it appears that Joe is
(a) a real person, not a hypothetical construct,
(b) wealthier than I am, and
(c) closely related to one of the Keating Five (details uncertain so far). Not what the McCain campaign should have been recalling to people's memories. See this post for some links.
(d) not a licensed plumber. He apparently works for (and was hoping to buy) a local franchise of a plumbing chain. He says he doesn't need a license of his own because his employer has one. At any rate, he hasn't done an apprenticeship, which is apparently the usual career path for plumbers in the area.
(e) in debt to the State of Ohio for $1200 in back income taxes. A lien was put on his property in Jan. 2007 for this, which means the taxes must have been for 2005 or earlier.

Another weird thing: this whole story seems to have first broken in a Republican blog of dubious credibility (although the above facts have been confirmed by the New York Times).

Curioser and curioser.
According to the Daily Kos, the Keating connection is a coincidence: a guy who may be Joe's father has the same name as the son-in-law of one of the Keating Five, but is several decades too old to be the same person. And the actual Joe Wurzelbacher isn't quite as rich as the hypothetical one John McCain will fight so hard to protect from higher taxes.

My original point stands: if you're among the richest 5% of Americans, John McCain has got your back. If not, tough luck.