Joe the Plumber Salary: How to Live Like you Make $250,000 when you only make $40,000 a year. Republican Pipe Dream Machine at Work.

I know many of you are sick of hearing about Joe the deadbeat plumber but it warrants a full budget article because “Joe” is simply a symbol of the Republican machine of being for the everyman.  In essence, this Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher stopped Senator Obama in Ohio to ask him a question about taxes.  The way the question was worded, he had setup a scenario where he would be owning a business making $250,000+ a year trying to lure Senator Obama in answering his question.  Obama answered the question and actually gave this guy more respect than he should have.

As the instant media went full speed ahead, it turns out Sam doesn’t even have a plumber’s license, owes taxes, and is a registered Republican.  So this guy is a fraud.  Big deal.  The bigger story however is that this guy only made $40,000 in 2006.  How in the world is this guy going to buy a $250,000+ a year business on that salary?  Maybe this was an option during the credit boom when any Joe could get a loan but not this time.  What is the bigger story is how the Republican machine tries to recreate this Horatio Alger story that everyman can become a multi-millionaire if they just try hard enough.

50% of our nation’s population has a household income of $46,000 or less.  Sam didn’t even get to that level.  Here is what Rolling Stone reported:

“So Joe the Plumber made $40,000 in 2006, according to divorce records dredged up by the Toledo Blade.

Let’s say he’s had a good couple years since then and is now making $50 grand.

Under Obama’s tax plan, Joe the Plumber – a single father of one – would get a $614 break on his taxes.

That’s $213 more than he’d get from John McCain. Enough for an aspiring plumber to buy a Ridgid SeeSnake Micro Camera to check out the cause of mysterious clogs.

Can we stop talking about this now?”

Agreed.  This guy has swallowed the pill of a fringe ideology and should be asking why McCain would be raising his taxes.  Yet the question that shouldn’t be put aside is why don’t we talk about the legit families, that is 50,000,000+ households in America that are struggling with $46,000 a year or less?  In fact, that is why I had posted the perfect $46,000 a year budget for a family living in California here.  The notion that someone is going to take away something you don’t even have is part of a psychological desire to believe in the boogeyman.  “When you make $250,000 a year, then you’ll be in some big trouble.”

You know how many families make more than $250,000 a year?  Try 1.5%.  This isn’t your common everyman theme.  This is the wealthy via their media outlets and politicians trying to mask their idea through a person that made only $40,000 a year in 2006.  There is nothing wrong with that.  In fact, half the country is in that spot.  But trying to mask a fraud as someone making $250,000 and portraying him as some sort of common persons is cynical and pathetic.

This is the false ideology that is coming down and crashing.  I know a few plumbers and they do not make anywhere close to $250,000.  In fact, nationwide the average salary for plumbers is approximately $50,000 per year:

Joe the Plumber

Source:  College Board

The frustrating thing isn’t with Sam.  He has a right to believe what he wants.  But to turn him into a symbol of the common man making $250,000 a year?  Please.  As we just highlighted half of the families in American make $46,000 or less a year.

85% of all households make less than $100,000 a year! 

What is utterly frustrating about this is the distortion.  Will anyone really check the facts and look at the statistics?  We have.  But how many others will?  There are many tax paying families that are pinching pennies everyday trying to do what is right in this world and yet their government seems to not care.  And how can they not avoid feeling this?  Here we have a global multi-trillion bailout that is geared to the connected, the wealthy, and the global banks who are actually at the center of this mess.

Here we have the case of the everyman who really isn’t like many of us.  He has lived in multiple states, owes taxes, and is worried about making $250,000 a year when only two years ago he made $40,000.  Do you really think the average family is concerned about making $250,000 when they are simply trying to ensure their kids don’t get sick?  Do you  realize the number one reason for bankruptcy is medical reasons?  Maybe that doesn’t cross the mind of most.

I think on a site talking about personal finance it is also important to expose the truth about what is really occurring.  Senator Obama’s tax plan will help you out if you make $250,000 or less.  Senator McCain’s tax plan will help you if you make $250,000 a year or more.  Again, only 1.5% of all households make $250,000 a year or more.  How is this even a debate?  Again, what they want you to believe is this phony story that if you try hard enough and fear the government boogeyman, then you too can be a multi-million dollar plumber.  Yeah right.  What about teachers who work in the inner city making $45,000 a year?  What about police officers who risk their life and make $70,000 a year.  They are nowhere near that $250,000 mark.

It is important to have the facts straight.

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4 Comments on this post


  1. layoffjoe said:

    It is too bad your brain is so small. People who make $250K with no kids (I know) pay $80k a year in taxes!!! Carpenters who work 12+ hour days and weekends make over $150K easy. I know. So before you mock a profession, try thinking of someone working 12-15 hrs day sweating and then taking home a good income only to have 33% taxed.

    Go crawl in your educated hole….

    October 17th, 2008 at 1:06 pm
  2. littleblackduck said:

    “layoffjoe” – so they’re too stupid to find a good tax shelter – which is what most people in that range do.

    Besides, he wasn’t ‘mocking’ a profession, merely pointing out that most plumbers would not be in the $250K range anyway, including good ole’ Joe. Don’t like the tax rate? Then work less and get a life!!!

    October 30th, 2008 at 2:27 pm
  3. wowjustwow said:

    Wow… So your defense is that you’re just trying too hard if you want a better life for your family. It’s a nice life to not have to worry a bout your house payment, food, gas, car payment, and all the other bills in life. No, I don’t make more then $40k a year but I don’t think just because you do that you should pay a larger percent of your taxes.

    Your ideology is false. Your “make those who achieve success pay” argument is lame and old. I’m pretty sure I live in America where “everyone is equal”, but you claim “everyone making as much or less then me is equal”. If you earned it, keep it.

    And as for Joe, he asked a legitimate question to find out where he stood and point out Obama’s stance. To say that his argument doesn’t count because it’s someone elses life is frankly idiotic. You amuse me with your republican machine argument is laughable.

    February 22nd, 2009 at 9:25 am
  4. boogeyman said:

    think different… don’t look at the salaries… look at how the banks derive a mortgage payment: annuall pay times .28/12 then take it a step further and compare it to a “middle class” neighbor hood which is usually rent cost 1,500.00 a month. See what the banks don’t tell you is that little thing called inflated half-life. what we should be asking is how much should each American household have at the end of the month left over to be above the inflation? If your wise hear this advice: spend one weeks gross pay on rent, and one week on your car and insurance, one week on utilities and food, then one week for misc. and savings…See what you CAN afford on 40,000.00!!! God Bless America.

    March 18th, 2009 at 1:59 pm


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