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?