Article Tools

It has been proven that Joe the Plumber is not real, yet the fictitious character is still playing roles in the Republican presidential campaign.

Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, a.k.a. “Joe the Plumber,” approached Barack Obama in Ohio on October 12th and posed this question to him: “I’m getting ready to buy a company that makes $250,000 to $280,000 a year. Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?” 

Since “Joe the Plumber”’s emergence, many facts have come to light concerning Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, who plays the role of Joe the Plumber, which reveal the entire premise of his question to Obama and all of its elements and facets to be a lie.

According to many respectable news sources (among them,,,,

“Joe the Plumber”’s real name is Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher and he says he has been a plumber for 15 years. We now know that he is not a plumber, he just works for one. He is not licensed as a plumber, he has never served a plumbing apprenticeship and he does not belong to the plumber’s union. If he does plumbing work, as he says, he is working illegally. Moreover, the man who plays the part of “Joe the Plumber” owes back taxes in the amount of nearly $1,200 and therefore has a lien against his property. 

According to these same news sources, Mr. Wurzelbacher admits that he earns significantly less than $250,000 a year and, even if he purchased the business he says he wants to purchase, he admits that he actually would make much less than $250,000 and that he would, in fact, get a tax cut under Barack Obama’s plan. Despite this, this man, Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, complained to Barack Obama about his tax plan because Obama would raise his taxes. Thus, the man himself debunked the entire premise of his complaint and in this way also revealed that “Joe the Plumber” does not exist.  

These are facts. What is worrying is that I was able to turn on the Fox News channel last night and see Samuel J. Wurzelbacher as a guest still introducing himself and being introduced and glorified as “Joe the Plumber” and nobody, not the audience, not the interviewers, naturally not Mr. Wurzelbacher, nobody present on the show addressed or even alluded to any discrepancy between the fictitious character “Joe the Plumber” and their guest, Samuel J. Wurzelbacher. As I watched, I felt as if I was viewing parents holding a discussion with a santa claus for the entertainment and pacification of their children.

The question is, why is the McCain campaign (evidently with the support of Fox News) sticking its proverbial head in the sand in denial and making an icon out of a voter who is so gripped with a penetrating irrational fear of paying taxes he isn’t even liable to pay, that he has fabricated an entire persona and an entire scenario that doesn’t even exist? Why is the Republican campaign idealizing a voter who has proven his dishonesty and lack of integrity by fabricating these lies, by not working legally in his trade and by not paying the taxes that he is responsible to pay under the Bush administration?

According to McCain, “[Obama] claims that this honest, hard-working small businessman could not possibly have enough income to face a tax increase under the Obama plan.” By this flagrant denial of the facts, are McCain and his supporters insisting that the average American is a dishonest, tax-evading, unprofessional, fear-laden citizen just like the “honest, hard-working” Mr. Wurzelbacher? And is Mr. Wurzelbacher their idea of the model American citizen that they want to promote and reward? What about the hard-working American who plays by the rules? What about the hard-working Americans who do pay their taxes? What about the hard-working Americans who pay their bills on time? What about the hard-working Americans who do live with integrity? 

As Winston Churchill once said “…man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but usually manages to pick himself up, walk over or around it, and carry on.” While most of us already know that Santa Claus and Joe the Plumber aren’t real, McCain’s campaign and Fox News wrongly continue to do their public and the integrity of the American people a disservice by perpetuating a grand myth around Mr. Wurzelbacher and by denying a truth that their public is already apt to deny.