Good morning, this is John McCain, speaking to you a couple of days after the final presidential debate. It was a good contest, and I thought I did pretty well. But let's have a little straight talk: The real winner on Wednesday night was a fellow known to America as Joe the Plumber.
Joe Wurzelbacher is a straight-talking man himself. And his blunt question to Barack Obama, after a recent speech in Ohio, got a clarity out of my opponent that we hadn't heard before.
Joe explained that he works for a small plumbing and heating company. He's been thinking about maybe taking over the business when his boss retires. Problem is, that would make Joe one of millions of small business owners who face a sudden increase in taxes under my opponent's tax plan.
That didn't seem fair to Joe. He wanted to know why Barack Obama plans to raise taxes on folks who are trying to start or grow a business and create jobs for others. And fairness aside, at a time of serious economic crisis, punishing job creators didn't seem like a real good way to kick-start a recovery.
My opponent's answer showed that economic recovery isn't even his top priority. His goal, as Senator Obama put it, is to "spread the wealth around."
You see, he believes in redistributing wealth, not in policies that help us all make more of it. Joe, in his plainspoken way, said this sounded a lot like socialism. And a lot of Americans are thinking along those same lines. In the best case, "spreading the wealth around" is a familiar idea from the American left. And that kind of class warfare sure doesn't sound like a "new kind of politics."
This would also explain some big problems with my opponent's claim that he will cut income taxes for 95 percent of Americans. You might ask: How do you cut income taxes for 95 percent of Americans, when more than 40 percent pay no income taxes right now? How do you reduce the number zero?
Well, that's the key to Barack Obama's whole plan: Since you can't reduce taxes on those who pay zero, the government will write them all checks called a tax credit. And the Treasury will cover those checks by taxing other people, including a lot of folks just like Joe.
In other words, Barack Obama's tax plan would convert the IRS into a giant welfare agency, redistributing massive amounts of wealth at the direction of politicians in Washington. I suppose when you've voted against lowering taxes 94 times, as Senator Obama has done, a new definition of the term "tax credit" comes in handy.