Why Joe the Plumber Matters
I think Joe the Plumber is going to be one of those quirky political moments weâ€™ll all remember for years to come. But outside of his name being invoked ad nauseam last night, do the concerns of Joe Wurzelbacher mean anything to this election?
Iâ€™d say yes. And hereâ€™s why: while 95% of Americans may receive a tax cut under Barack Obamaâ€™s plan, most of that 95% want to believe they can someday be in the 5% making more than $250,000 a year. And if they make it to that level, they donâ€™t want to be penalized for their hard work. Thatâ€™s just basic American psychology. Donâ€™t you know weâ€™re all going to make it big someday?
This issue will resonate with some voters â€“ even those with little chance of ever making $250,000 barring lucky lottery numbers â€“ because â€œhigher taxesâ€ and â€œsharing the wealthâ€ are ideas that sound suspicious to most Americans, especially in an economic downturn when we all want to hold as tightly as we can to our hard-earned money. A tax cut sounds good. But a qualified tax cut â€“ such as Obamaâ€™s â€“ sounds fishy. If heâ€™s willing to go after my rich neighborâ€™s money, whatâ€™s to stop him from coming after my money when he finds himself wanting more?
To be clear, the above paragraph is not my thought process, itâ€™s just a description of how I imagine a certain percentage of Americans are thinking this morning as the Joe the Plumber story circulates through the media. Itâ€™s not a game changer. But it is the best shot McCain has landed in a long time and I expect him to ride it for the final three weeks of this election.