- Days left
Joe the Plumber, friend of American taxpayers, has taken a beating over the last couple of days for daring to ask Barack Obama a question many of us would like to ask. He wanted to know how Obama's tax increases on "the wealthy" might affect him if he buys a plumbing business. How dare he ask such a question when he is behind on his taxes, has no plumbing license, and might not even be able to afford to buy this plumbing business!

Joe never claimed to be anything other than a taxpayer with a question. Yet he's been "vetted" by the media and details of his divorce and income tax situation have been blasted all over the Internet. I'm not saying there's necessarily anything wrong with people looking at these public records and discussing them, yet you have to feel sorry for the guy who really didn't ask to be put under a microscope like this. He just wanted to ask a simple question about taxes.

But it got me thinking... The implication from a number of media outlets and bloggers is that since Joe is delinquent on his taxes, he shouldn't be asking Barack Obama a question. I don't know that anyone's been so crude as to actually come out and say that, but I think the harsh criticism of Joe has made it pretty clear that many people think he should shut his mouth.


Maybe this isn't such a horrible idea, though. Maybe those who don't pay taxes shouldn't have a voice in this election process. Maybe they shouldn't have a say in anything regarding our government. After all, if they're not paying taxes, they don't have a vested interest in the success of the country as a whole. Those who don't pay income taxes really should be regarded as drains on our government, society, and economy. If they're not paying taxes, they're taking a lot of government services for free.

Who would that affect? Fifty percent of American households would no longer have a voice, because that's how many pay no federal income taxes. That bears repeating... Half of American households pay no income taxes and therefore have no "skin in the game."

Raise taxes on the rich? Sounds great to them. That just decreases the chance that they'll ever have to pay income taxes. Why should those people even have a say in our government when they're not participating in a financial sense? That would be like one of my friends telling me how to budget and spend my own money, when she has no stake in anything that's done. Why shouldn't she tell me to spend all my money at her clothing store? It doesn't hurt her if I have no money left to pay my real bills.

Now I'm not seriously suggesting that those who don't pay income taxes shouldn't be able to vote or participate in our government. But I raise this issue to point out what a slippery slope it becomes when the media and bloggers suggest that Joe the Plumber doesn't have a right to ask a question of Barack Obama because he's behind on his taxes. Those same media outlets and bloggers would be screaming bloody murder if the 50% of households who pay no income taxes were told to shut their mouths. So let's cut Joe some slack. He's just a citizen who wants to know a little bit more about Barack Obama's tax plan.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

What is Inflation?

Why do prices go up?

View Course »

Building Credit from Scratch

Start building credit...now.

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

Are You Exempt From Health Care Coverage?

The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, is an individual mandate that requires all eligible Americans to have some form of basic health coverage by 2014. Those without insurance will receive a penalty when they file their tax returns ? that is, unless they have an exemption. TurboTax's Exemption Check can help you find out whether or not you qualify for an exemption.

Essential Tax Forms for the Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also referred to as Obamacare, affects how millions of Americans will prepare their taxes in the new year. The law now includes penalties for all who haven?t obtained health insurance -- and those penalties are expected to be paid at tax time. The ACA also provides tax credits to help people pay for insurance, and you can claim those credits when you file your taxes. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has introduced a number of tax forms to accommodate the ACA.

Mortgage Refinance Tax Deductions

When refinancing a mortgage to get a lower interest rate or obtain more favorable loan terms, you're really just taking out a new loan and using the money to pay off your existing home loan. In general, the same tax deductions are available when you're refinancing a mortgage as when you're taking out a mortgage to buy a home.

How to Determine if You Have Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC)

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, requires most Americans to have health insurance that meets a government standard known as "minimum essential coverage," or MEC. Whether your insurance qualifies as MEC depends not on the plan itself, but on how you obtained your coverage.

Rental Property Deductions You Can Take at Tax Time

Rental property often offers larger deductions and tax benefits than most investments. Many of these are overlooked by landlords at tax time. This can make a difference in making a profit or losing money on your real estate venture. If you own a rental property, the IRS allows you to deduct expenses you pay for the upkeep and maintenance of the property, conserving and managing the property, and other expenses deemed necessary and associated with property rental.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum