Scott Kaiser

Do the Obama tax plan math yourself

Filed By Scott Kaiser | October 16, 2008 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, economic policy, election campaigns, Joe the Plumber, John McCain, taxes

So the main issue on voters' minds is the economy, a subject John McCain has repeatedly said in the past that he's not exactly an expert in. So what's McCain to do? Well, beyond denying he ever made those remarks, he is now trying to confuse people about Obama's plan to cut taxes. Last night McCain brought up the situation of "Joe the plumber", a guy that wants to buy a business because Joe's situation is exactly that: confusing.

I wouldn't expect Obama, McCain, or anyone else to be able to calculate the full tax implications of Joe buying his business in just a few quick minutes during the debate, and Joe would be an idiot not to consult a financial expert about such a deal. This morning all the different media outlets are trying to figure out the amount Joe would pay under each of Obama's and McCain's tax plans (I've heard $900 and a variety of other figures), but I still haven't seen a definitive answer. McCain knew and counted on that being the case. Buying a business can be a complex deal. Regardless of whether or not Joe gets taxed more or not, McCain was just trying to create FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) in the minds of those watching the debate about Obama's tax cuts.

Fortunately the Obama campaign has set-up a website where people can go and by entering some basic information about their situation, find out roughly how much they would save under Obama's plan. Here's a basic version of the calculator:

Now some will say that you can't trust the calculator because it was created by the Obama campaign, but somehow I doubt those people would vote for Obama no matter who created it. The point is this: the calculator applies the general principles of Obama's proposed tax plan and how it would affect you. It is precisely this sort of information the McCain campaign would prefer that you don't see.

Share this calculator with your friends and families. Simply being told Obama's plan cuts taxes for 95% of us, or that it provides $1,000 of tax relief for workers as well as new tax benefits for college, childcare and retirement doesn't have the same impact as letting them see for themselves what they might save.

Remember, knowledge is power.

(P.S. I nearly wrote a post about how Joe the plumber seems like he might be a McCain plant since he's on Fox News this morning calling Obama a socialist and reciting other of McCain's talking points, but I don't want to sound like a conspiracist. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt for now.)

Recent Entries Filed under Living:

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.

Scott Kaiser Scott Kaiser | October 16, 2008 6:04 PM

After I wrote this another article came out that says Joe would likely not be affected negatively by Obama's tax plan at all:

Joe the effin' plumber. I judged and coached high school debate when I was in college (I did college debate) and I can't tell you how many things they did that annoyed me. Really, really annoyed me.

One would be when they try to be cute and make up a "real victim" like "Imagine a little old lady named Bea who..." and they'd think they're being funny or concrete or ironic or I don't know what... and it was only annoying.

Or those debaters who'd just ignore everything that was being asked or being said and give their canned remarks. I actually had no problem with canned remarks, since it was a sign of preparation and some of these kids needed to practice, but, seriously, sometimes they'd whip out the answer that had nothing to do with the original argument.

Or they do the weird facial expressions/eye rolling thing as if they could show their disagreement with the other side and they'd magically win. That's annoying too.

Basically, what I'm saying is that McCain and Palin debate like bad high school debaters. Joe the Plumber did not impress me.

Scott Kaiser Scott Kaiser | October 16, 2008 10:37 PM


I wasn't on a debate team or anything, but I could tell that McCain and Palin would have been torn to shreds in a real debate where Obama and Biden could have taken the gloves off without worrying about trying to be likable enough to elect.

There's also the fact that he's a registered Republican, doesn't have a plumber's license and is already behind on his taxes. Just sayin'.