Fact Checking 'Joe the Plumber'

During a campaign stop in Ohio this week, Ohio plumbing business owner Joe Wurzelbacher questioned Barack Obama about his plan to increase taxes for the top five percent of income earners. Noting that he was planning to purchase a company that "makes" between $250,000 and $280,000, Wurzelbacher wondered what impact Obama's tax plan would have on him.

Last night, "Joe the Plumber" was first invoked by John McCain to attack Obama's tax plan. He was referenced 23 times by the candidates. After the debate, Wurzelbacher applauded McCain: "He's got it right as far as I go." But Joe is ill-informed.

Jake Tapper reports that it's not even clear if the figures Wurzelbacher cited take expenses into account. If his net profit is below $250,000, "Joe the Plumber" would be eligible for an Obama tax cut. Dean Baker explains that, under Obama's plan, the tax on income above $250,000 would increase by 3 percentage points from 33 percent to 36 percent -- which means that, if his net profits are above $250,000, Wurzelbacher could expect to see his tax bill rise by between $0-$900.



Wurzelbacher told the CBS Morning News that he feels like he's being "used by the Republican Party as a pawn to make their point."

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