Exclusive: Obama – ‘Spread the Wealth Around’ Reveals Socialist Plan for America
by THE EDITORS
October 15, 2008
At a recent campaign appearance in Ohio, Sen. Obama was approached by plumber Joe Wurzelbacher, who has concerns about Obama’s proposed tax policies. FamilySecurityMatters.org’s Pam Meister had a candid conversation with him about his experience.
PAM MEISTER: You recently met Sen. Obama on the campaign trail in Ohio, and you asked him a question about his tax policies. What exactly was your question for him?
JOE WURZELBACHER: Initially, I started off asking him if he believed in the American Dream and he said yes, he does – and then I proceeded to ask him then why he’s penalizing me for trying to fulfill it. He asked, “what do you mean,” and I explained to him that I’m planning on purchasing this company – it’s not something I’m gonna purchase outright, it’s something I’m going to have to make payments on for years – but essentially I’m going to buy this company, and the profits generated by that could possibly put me in that tax bracket he’s talking about and that bothers me. It’s not like I would be rich; I would still just be a working plumber. I work hard for my money, and the fact that he thinks I make a little too much that he just wants to redistribute it to other people. Some of them might need it, but at the same time, it’s not their discretion to do it – it’s mine.
PM: You’re a plumber, and you’re looking to buy your own plumbing business?
PM: Would that plumbing business employ other people or would it just employ you?
JW: Eventually it would employ other people. Right now it’s a two man shop and it’s got a very good footprint and a very good reputation, so eventually I would want to put other people out there. I don’t want to get huge because if you get too big your quality goes, but I definitely wouldn’t mind having two good plumbers out there with me working.
PM: So a potential tax increase – how do you see that affecting your ability to hire more people to work with you at your company?
JW: Obviously these are hypothetical questions to a degree because I don’t know what the economy is going to do…
PM: Of course.
JW: Essentially what that would do is, I’d have to see how much money is available after everything else is paid, to see if I can one, afford a new vehicle, two, outfit it, and then three, pay a good salary. And if I’m being taxed too much, one of those three things is going to get shorted. One, I won’t be able to buy as good a good vehicle or I won’t stock it as well, or the guy I hire – if I’m able to hire somebody – is not going to make as much as he should.
PM: Obama gave you quite a long answer, I see, on Jake Tapper’s blog on ABC News. He did give you quite an extensive answer to your question talking about a 50% tax credit for healthcare costs, that sort of thing, and he talked about the reason he’s doing this – saying 95% of small businesses make less than $250,000 a year. He talked about your time as a plumber– you said you’ve been a plumber for 15 years?
PM: Okay, and then he talked about 10, 15 years ago maybe you weren’t making that sort of money, how would you feel – if you were just starting out, or maybe looking back – the kind of tax cut that he’s promising for other people, does that still make you think that that’s a great idea?
JW: No. See, I believe in working for what I get. I don’t want to say it’s a handout, but essentially that’s what it comes down to. You’re going to tax someone else more that’s been working hard to fulfill the American Dream and you’re gonna give it to other people who – I’m not saying they don’t work as hard, but I’m sure some of them don’t – and I don’t think it’s right just to give it to them or reduce taxes on their part and hike it up on my part like a teeter totter to bring it back even. So no, that wouldn’t – well, let me rephrase that. It would appeal to me because back then I was struggling. That kind of thing appeals to me – anybody wants to cut my taxes, I look at it very seriously, it’s like, it sounds great. But you gotta see what the other hand is doing too.
PM: Still, in that vein, Obama says he doesn’t want to “punish” you, but he wants to – let me see if I can see what his exact quote was…
JW: Redistribute the wealth.
PM: …taxing small businesses making $250,000 and above is going to help the people “behind you.” And yes, “spreading the wealth around.” How did you feel about that?
JW: As soon as he said it, he contradicted himself. He doesn’t want to “punish” me, but – when you use the word “but,” you pretty much negate everything you just said prior to that. So he does want to punish me, he does want to punish me for working harder to – you know, my big thing is the American Dream. I work hard. You know, I was poor; my mom raised me and my brother by herself for a very long time until my dad came along. So I know what it’s like to suffer. It’s not like I was born with a silver spoon. Usually it was a wooden spoon and it was on my butt. It was just a contradiction of terms, what he said: he doesn’t want to punish me but he wants to redistribute my wealth. And what I mean when I say my wealth, I mean the collective. Eventually – I mean, just to sound a little silly here, but you need rich people. I mean, who are you going to work for?
PM: Do you fear this is the possibility of America turning more down the socialist road if Obama does become elected and if he is able to implement these policies?
JW: Very much so. You start giving people stuff, and then they start expecting it – and that scares me. A lot of people expect it now. They get upset when their check’s late, they get upset when they don’t get as many benefits as they used to, or when different government agencies are cut or spending is cut here and there for whatever reason – people get upset at that. And that’s because they’re used to getting it and they want more. I mean, everyone’s always gonna want more. People work the system left and right to get more out of welfare, to get more out of state assistance, federal assistance. And if government’s there for them, they’re gonna keep on trying to manipulate it to get more out of it. You got people that come along and say, “Hey, I wanna help you people,” I mean, they’re all ears! They’re like, “Hey, you can help me more, I don’t have to work as hard, I don’t have to do as much, and you’re gonna give me this? Man, that’s great, you’re a good guy.”
So yeah, it goes down the socialist – His healthcare plan scares me. You know, I don’t like people going without healthcare, but it’s not my job to pay for everyone else’s healthcare. It’s hard enough paying for my own. I like the idea of deregulation as far as – nationally, you know, you only get insurance companies that can work in this state – if you deregulate that then you have more people competing and then the prices would go lower. It seems pretty simple to me. It probably isn’t that simple – but you flood the market with more products, usually they go down cheaper.
PM: In a recent survey of America’s chief executive officers, a full 69% of them said they were worried about an Obama presidency. Some even say he could plunge us into a depression or even bankruptcy in about three years. If you are to buy this business, you yourself would be a CEO, essentially, of a smaller business. Do you agree with those CEOs and if so, how might that change whether you take the risk of buying your business should Obama become elected?
JW: You know, I don’t know enough about that to give you a real intelligent answer. It does concern me. I’ve listened lately and I’ve heard he’s proposed more spending. You spend more, you gotta get it from somewhere. I don’t think he’s gonna cut any of the government down, in fact I think he wants to make it bigger. And eventually, you get it too big, it’s gonna topple. In essence, I suppose I do agree for a little bit, but I just don’t know enough as far as the grand scheme like that. In three years…I wouldn’t feel comfortable stating something like that.
PM: That’s fair enough. Could it be that people won’t be as productive? If you’re going to be paying more taxes, why should you be more productive when you could possibly take home the same amount without being as productive? Do you agree with that?
JW: That’s the catch right there. Some people will agree with that. Some people will say, “Well, I’m not gonna work for the stars or shoot for ‘em because if I do, I’m gonna be punished, or I’m gonna be subjugated to more taxes,” or for whatever they wanna do. So yeah, I would agree to that to a point. Some people will say, “Well you know, I still want this, I’m still gonna work hard and try to make that happen for myself” And then other people are gonna sit back – and then you look at mediocrity for the country, and I don’t like that idea.
PM: What do you think that Obama’s tax plan will do to entrepreneurship in general in this country?
JW: It’ll definitely make people think twice about it. It’s not something that they’re gonna just rush into. It’s a tax increase, but it’s not a 50% tax increase. It’s not gonna keep everybody from doing it – some people might decide not to, but I don’t think it would keep everybody from doing it.
PM: Now did Obama tell you that you would receive some sort of tax cut?
JW: He talked about suspending capital gains to a certain amount… To be honest with you, I don’t want to say I tuned him out – because as he started, he pretty much regurgitated what he said in his debate, first one, second one, and a lot of his rallies. What he said to me was pretty much word for word what he’s been saying for the last couple months. So when he started down that path, it’s like, ”Okay, I’ve already heard this, Obama, give me something different.”
PM: There was nothing new in his answer?
JW: No, there was nothing new. You know, I didn’t appreciate that, actually.
PM: There’s a clip of you that’s been shown on television, and it’s all over the Internet on YouTube as well. It’s a very short clip. Do you think it accurately portrays the exchange that you had with Sen. Obama? Obviously there was more to it.
JW: I haven’t seen too much of it to be honest with you – I’ve been working yesterday and today, and the evenings spent with my boy or with my family. So I haven’t spent too much time looking at it. I did notice – I wish the newspaper people, talk shows, I wish they would start off with the very beginning: “Do you believe the American dream?” That was essentially what it came down to for me – was do you believe in the American Dream, you’re not going to punish people for going for it?
PM: To you, what exactly is the American Dream? Can you explain that?
JW: Me personally?
PM: Yeah, you personally.
JW: Me personally, my American Dream was to have a house, a dog, a couple rifles, a bass boat. I believe in living life easy and simple. I don’t have grand designs. I don’t want much. I just wanna be able to take care of my family and do things with them outdoors and that’s about it, really. I don’t have a “grand scheme” thing. My American Dream is just more personal to me as far as working, making a good living and being able to provide for my family, college for my son. Things like that – simple things in life, that’s really what it comes down to for me. That’s my dream.
PM: Do you think your question surprised Obama, caught him off guard at all?
JW: Well that was actually my intent. Most people, you ask them “do you believe in the American Dream?” Nine times out of ten they’ll sit there and go, “Yeah, of course!” That’s where he messed up, because as soon as I asked him that, his answer shows that he doesn’t believe in the American Dream. You know, like the question you asked before – he pretty much contradicted himself. “I don’t want to punish you but – “ Well, you’re going to anyways.
PM: Has there been a lot of media interest in your story? Have you been getting a lot of calls from the media asking you to talk about this?
JW: Neil Cavuto, I was on his show earlier today, just a phone interview for about five minutes. He asked a couple of questions. Then a talk show – Trey Ware – he has a conservative talk show down in San Antonio, Texas – he picked up on it. I’ve had friends call me from all over the nation, saying they heard Rush Limbaugh quote something from me or they’ve heard Hannity quote something. I guess it’s getting quite a bit of play.
PM: What kind of feedback are you getting from friends and family, other than the fact they have heard you being quoted on some very popular talk shows?
JW: Well, my son thinks it’s absolutely the most incredible thing in the world. He loves – I always teach him to speak his mind and to know what he’s talking about before he speaks his mind because usually there’s always someone in the room who will know what you’re talking about. So he just thinks it’s really neat. My friends – well, a lot of them will come to me and ask me political questions just because I think it’s important to know about it – and so they know they’ll get a straight answer from me, even if I don’t like they guy or I do like the guy, you know, I’ll give them the pros and cons of it and let them make their own decisions on it. But some, they know it’s pretty important to me. I was kind of actually nervous about doing any of this, you know, answering calls and going on that show. But they all, you know, said that I always answer them good and so they just said go for it, so they’ve been very supportive.
PM: Do you hope Sen. McCain will talk more about this issue during Wednesday’s debate, you know, taxes for small businesses?
JW: There’s a lot of things I wish McCain would say. As far as this, yes, I would like him to speak. Not so much about small businesses, but just people in general that make this money. It’s not up to them to help America, I mean – let me rephrase that. It’s not – they shouldn’t be taxed more because they’ve succeeded. That’s envy and jealousy. Get off your butt and go work. Don’t sit there and expect the government to give it to you. So I wouldn’t mind him speaking on it like that. I know he couldn’t say it probably like that because that’d turn a lot of people off. But it just – yeah, I guess I would like him to speak about that and a bunch of other things. I’d like to hear him talk about immigration and what he plans on doing about that and with our borders. I mean, there’s a lot of things that haven’t even been addressed in the last two debates.
PM: You’re right about that. I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to me.
JW: Thank you so much.