Update: First video is not showing in feed readers, please click through to the post to see it. Sorry.

Before the last of the Presidential campaign debates, Barack Obama was in Ohio and was questioned by Joseph Wurzelbacher, since nicknamed “Joe the Plumber” by the US news channels. (It’s since been found out since that Joe may not have been telling the whole truth – link and link)

Ignoring for a moment who/what Joe is, Obama gave (IMHO) a great response, explaining why taxes are needed and how his tax plan aims to help 95% of Americans, only raising taxes on those who earn over $250,000 a year:

Later that day, McCain decided to raise the “Joe the Plumber” issue during the debate, claiming that he would not raise taxes, he would actually help people like Joe.

Note at this point, that only 5% of Americans earn more than $250,000 per year. Obama is being cited as “Robin Hood” by the media, as he plans to ‘take from the rich and give to the poor’.

I just love Obama’s response to McCain – I do actually feel that does understand tax and economic issues – a feeling that I just don’t get from McCain, it always feels like McCain is pandering to the crowd…

What really bugs me about all this, it that in America (and in Ireland) most people don’t seem to realise that taxes are required in order to fund and run a country. Without them, who is going to pay for health care, education, roads maintence, traffic lights, youth sports programs, and thousands of other things that we need to keep our country running smoothly?

For several years now, I’ve been in the upper band of the Irish tax system. It’s confusing at the best of times, between ensuring that you claim the relevant tax credits that you are due so that you don’t pay more than you need to. I also spent an uncomfortable year just inside the upper tax band, which made me feel like the raise that I got was worth practically nothing!

Overall, I don’t mind paying my taxes. Even following this week’s budget, it was clear that everyone was going to get hit in some way, I was simply praying that I wouldn’t be one of the hardest hit. I do feel that the measures extended were unfairly balanced towards the lower end of the pay scale – for example, why are we hitting those that earn minimum wage with a 1% levy? Surely we could have adjusted the levy so those earning under the average industrial wage (€35k) paid nothing, those in the €35-80k paid 1%, those from €80 – 200k paid 2% and anyone above that paid 3%?

I find that the rich have mainly become rich through not spending where possible – so they’d hate my plan above. But I know that being in the €35-80k bracket myself, I can afford to pay that 1% – I may need to “tighten my belt” a little and make a few sacrifices, but overall it’s for the good of the country (not that I agree that Lenihan should have called it “patriotic” in his speech, that was just too much saccharin!).

What’s your opinion? Both on the budget and on the US election?


5 Comments on “This is why I think America needs Obama to win”

  1. Darren says:

    Elly, I’ve been pondering upon this over the last couple of days. Your post pretty much sums up my feelings on it. I’m not well off, far from it in fact, but that 1% is not going to kill me. Across the globe there is a financial crisis. It is not a uniquely Irish problem and to combat national debt taxes are a necessity. A very important one at that.

    I will agree with the naysayers in some ways. The ministerial pay cuts of 10% are still no where close to the level they should be at. But that’s an issue for another day. Right now, the government is being proactive for a change and trying to get us through what will be a very difficult couple of years (hopefully only a couple).

  2. Suzy says:

    Poor Joe, since his moment of fame (21 mentions by McCain and 4 by Obama) it has been established that he is not a plumber, does not earn anything near 250,000 (and even if he did he would not have to pay more tax under Obama) and in fact he owes money to the taxman he was so worried about.

    On the Irish issue, I don’t mind paying more tax in the levy that has been set and I very much agree Elly that the people earning under the industrial wage should not have to pay it. I would love to live in a situation where everything worked properly because we paid tax and we expected the services to be there and didn’t feel like beggars or in need of extra insurances for the most basic of needs.

    I do have a problem not getting the higher rate of relief on my medical expenses though I am in the higher rate band for paying them tax. Private health insurance is not an option for me as I would have to pay for 5 years before I could get treated and there is no way I would be entitled to a medical card.

    I will not own my own home and that is not a priority for me but I would like to have a similar rate of relief that mortgage payers get for the money I spend on housing.

    The over 70 medical card issue angers me greatly in both the manner they wish to take it away after giving it and also the way in which older people have been distressed so much over it’s announcement.

  3. Lottie says:

    That’s the first time I have seen the video with Joe – and I think I want Obamas babies now. It’s the perfect example of the differences between Obama and Bush and by consequence McCain. He really knowos his stuff and can speak clearly and intelligibly without sounding condescending.

    I agree with Elly on the tax front. Like they say the only certainties in life ate Taxes and death. I know that the elderly have been hit heard by this budget and it looks like that is going to turn around. But I think the 1% tax is a necessary evil to bring the country back above water. I think the 1%% should have been excluded for those under 22k – 35k may be a little high.

  4. ellybabes says:

    Phew! I was hesitant about writing this post, as I wasn’t sure if other people would agree or come running with flaming swords!

    While I’m not happy overall about the budget, I’m glad to know that some people out there feel the same way.

  5. joej’s blog » Blog Archive » I’m not Joe the Plumber says:

    […] HT: saw the video first on ellybabes’ blog […]

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