At a recent campaign appearance in Ohio, Sen. Obama was approached by plumber Joe Wurzelbacher, who has concerns about Obama’s proposed tax policies.’s Pam Meister had a candid conversation with him about his experience.

PM: You’re a plumber, and you’re looking to buy your own plumbing business?

JW: Correct.

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?

JW: Yes.

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?

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