Thursday, October 23, 2008

Full Video of Obama & Joe the Plumber: Why the Sound Bite Sucks

Last night on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olberman I saw for the first time the entire exchange between Obama and Joe the Plumber (video below). It not only confirmed what I previously suspected -- that McCain's co-opting of Joe the Plumber's cause was total bullshit -- but it made me ever more disappointed in the state of our tv "news media" than I was before. How is it that this full exchange is just getting on air now? We had all the sound bite sensationalism (spread the wealth! spread the wealth!) for what, one week? two weeks? - without anyone (at least that I saw) really looking at the full exchange and breaking it down.

* Taxes on the first $250,000 of income stay the same as they are now.
Higher tax rate only applies to the incremental income above $250,000. It isn't in effect from first dollar. So the tax obligation on income from $250,001 - $300,000 is $19,500 instead of $18,000. A difference of $1,500. Roughly $30/week over the course of a year. $300,000 in income calculates out to $5,769 / week. $30/week in incremental taxes is not going to break anyone. And it's not going to hinder job creation.

* Lower taxes on the way up.
Around 1:45 into the discussion Obama explains to Joe how his tax plan would have benefited him during his early/apprentice years and likely accelerated his savings timeline, enabling him to purchase the business sooner. Unless you're handed a fully functioning small business or otherwise don't need to worry about your path to owning one, this should be of interest to you. If you have already achieved success and care more about protecting/hoarding what you have than about creating an easier path for others to follow, this will not interest you. Either way, I haven't heard this aspect of the discussion covered much by America's "tv news".

* Benefits of customers having disposable income
About 4:30 into the video Obama makes the point about Joe's customer base having more disposable income, enabling them to hire Joe at his comfortable plumber's hourly rate. That's kind of an important part of the small business equation, no?

* Capital Gains
About 5:00 in he talks about how his capital gains tax plan would benefit Joe more than the existing capital gains tax if/when Joe sells his business. That's a pretty big factor in benefiting from one's one wealth creation, isn't it?

I realize all this requires people to step out of their comfort zone and actually pay attention and be open minded enough to actually listen and process what is being said rather than resorting to the typical and more comfortable snap reaction cum knee-jerk judgment based upon a sound bite. It also will appeal more to folks who have an appreciation for the bigger picture or longer term view rather than what's in my best interests over the next 5 minutes. So I am not surprised by how it has been covered by the media or how McCain/Palin have seized upon the most dramatic and least relevant sound bite as a way to fire up the non-thinking, rabid dog faction of their support base. But I need to vent about it nonetheless.