Joe, The Plumber: It’s Time to Grow Up

Joe, it’s  time to grow up. If indeed you had 1040 earnings of $250,000.00 you would be well-off. The U.S. Census reports that only about 2% of households in the entire country make an annual income of $250,000 or more. So, from a national perspective you would be right up there with the most successful people in America. And, from a local perspective, according to the 2007 American Community Survey for the Toledo Metropolitan area less than half of a percent of households (542 of 117,939) have annual incomes of more then $200,000.  That would make you one of the wealthiest citizens in Toledo, Ohio. Congratulations would certainly be in order.



Mr. McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, is confused. He seems to think that paying taxes would preclude you from buying a business that would earn you $250,000 or more a year and keep you from realizing the American dream. Where’s the logic? Mr. Obama’s proposal would cause a tax increase of $30 per $1000 earned over $250,000. If that would preclude you from buying the business, then you had best look at your business plan again. It makes no sense.


Later, in an interview on Fox News, Joe, you said, “…it’s my discretion who I want to give my money to, it’s not the government’s.” You seem to think that that the graduated income tax is unfair–that higher income shouldn’t be taxed at a higher rate. Do you have a better solution?  I suppose you are not opposed to getting a small business administration loan or driving your business’s trucks on the roads and bridges that American tax dollars have helped to provide. Perhaps you’d prefer a flat income tax and make up the difference in a value added sales tax (VAT). You’d be paying the VAT on all the goods your business buys as well as on your personal spending on goods. Since you’d be earning more, the bet is you’d be spending more, too. The more you’d spend, the more VAT you’d pay.


Joe, it seems that you have a problem with paying taxes already. The press is quoting the records of the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas that in January of 2007, the state filed a tax lien against Samuel J. Wurzelbacher for $1,182.98 and that lien is still in place. If that’s you, Joe, pay your taxes.


It is time to take responsibility, Joe. Where does the idea come from that to make it means not having to shoulder more responsibilities? Responsibilities grow with success. The greater the wealth, the greater expectations are. Joe, making it means taking responsibility to ensure that our nation can continue to provide to others the same opportunities and infrastructure that is benefiting you. You have to be willing to shoulder the burdens of success as well as reap its rewards.


It is time to be a leader. Running a business means providing leadership and doing what’s right for your employees, customers, and community. Do right by your employees just as you have always expected your employer to do right by you. No one is asking you to shoulder a burden greater than your ability to do so. Stand up and take charge. You are in the driver’s seat. Think smart and act judiciously. Make a difference.


Get your priorities straight. As a business owner you need to focus on the economy. Are people in Toledo going to have the money to hire your plumbing services? Are you going to be able to secure the credit you need to operate your business on a daily basis and grow it over the long term? Are you going to be able to hire skilled employees? If an employee gets sick or injured will he/she have access to good, affordable health care and be back to work as soon as possible? These are the questions that should be front and center, Joe.


Becoming and staying successful takes hard work. Ten. Twelve hours a day. You said it. That is what it takes and more. Embrace it. And thank your lucky stars you have the opportunity to do it. Good Luck.


All original content copyright 2008 Mary E. Slocum


One response to “Joe, The Plumber: It’s Time to Grow Up

  1. Well said. I wish I were Joe the Plummer, with that income! Most people I know qho earn that level of income have no quams about paying taxes—-to the contrary. They typically understand exactly why they pay them and the importance of supporting their country and services.

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