Archive for the ‘middle class’ Category

McCain: middle-class guardian

October 19, 2008

Evoking “Joe the Plumber” in his pivotal home state, Republican John McCain on Sunday cast himself as the guardian of middle-class workers and small-business owners who fuel the economy.

By GLEN JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer

“If I’m elected president, I won’t raise taxes on small businesses, as Sen. (Barack) Obama clearly wants to do, and force them to cut jobs,” McCain said of his Democratic opponent during a rally at Otterbein College. “I will keep small business taxes where they are, help them keep their costs low and let them spend their earnings to create more jobs. We need that in Ohio. We need it across America.”

McCain was flying from the Columbus suburbs northward to Toledo, near where “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher lives, amid the GOP’s push for this swing state and its 20 electoral votes.

The Holland, Ohio, plumber was in New York making the media rounds with his family, but McCain has been evoking his spirit after making him the focal point the final presidential debate between McCain and Obama. McCain also mentions Wurzelbacher at his rallies after the plumber was videotaped questioning Obama about whether his tax plan would keep him from buying the two-man plumbing shop where he works.

While some analyses showed Wurzelbacher faring better under Obama’s plan than McCain’s, McCain has lashed out at Obama for saying that while his policies may force some workers to pay higher taxes, they were designed to “spread the wealth around” by targeting only families making over $250,000 annually.

Sen. Obama is more interested in controlling who gets your piece of the pie than he is in growing the pie,” McCain told a crowd of several thousand.

He drew cheers when he proclaimed he was campaigning “on behalf of Joe the Plumber and Rose the Teacher and Phil the Bricklayer and Wendy the Waitress.”

Obama, in North Carolina, said he is the one worried about “the cops and firefighters who keep us safe, … the waitresses who work double shifts, the cashiers at Wal-Mart, the plumbers fighting for the American Dream.”

He added: “John McCain thinks that giving these Americans a break is socialism. Well I call it opportunity, and there is nothing more American than that.”

Earlier Sunday, McCain complained that the vast sums of money Obama is raising risk the post-Watergate financing reforms.

Speaking on “Fox New Sunday” hours after Obama’s campaign reported raising a record $150 million in September, McCain said the overall sum his Democratic rival has raised — $605 million — showed the “dam has broken” for future White House races.

McCain also complained that the identities of people who contributed more than $200 million of Obama’s total take have not been reported, although that is allowable under federal law because the individual donations fall under the $200 reporting limit.

“I’m saying it’s laying a predicate for the future that can be very dangerous,” McCain said. “History shows us where unlimited amounts of money are in political campaigns, it leads to scandal.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081019/ap_on_el_pr/mccain;_
ylt=AnB1oyvTOW_H0iGXVC0Xln.s0NUE

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Infuriated By Possibility of Higher Taxes? So Is Joe The Plummer (See Video)

October 16, 2008

John McCain may have found a blue-collar face to help him argue that no American — not even the richest 5 percent — should pay higher taxes.

“Joe The Plumber” has weighed in on Wednesday’s presidential debate and he says that Barack Obama’s tax plan “infuriates me.”

“To be honest with you, that infuriates me,” plumber Joe Wurzelbacher told Nightline’s Terry Moran. “It’s not right for someone to decide you made too much—that you’ve done too good and now we’re going to take some of it back.”

“That’s just completely wrong,” he added.

Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama speaks ...
Joe the Plummer (L) Wurzelbacher talks with a guy that wants to raise his taxes and redistribute his wealth.  John McCain calls it class warfare….Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama spoke to Joe as Obama canvassed a neighbourhood in Holland, Ohio, October 12, 2008.(Jim Young/Reuters)

Read the rest and watch the video from ABC News’ Teddy Davis and Hope Ditto:
http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/
2008/10/joe-the-plumber.html

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By Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Barack Obama and John McCain may have turned him into the most famous small-business owner in America, but Joe the Plumber isn’t about to return the favor with an endorsement.
The morning after he emerged as the unexpected star of Wednesday night’s presidential debate, Joe Wurzelbacher of Holland, Ohio, declined to say who he will vote for in the November 4 election.

“It’s a personal decision, and myself and the button I push will know the answer,” the 34-year-old plumber and single father said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” program.

Later outside his home he told a crowd of reporters “I want the American people to vote for who they want to vote for,” and in an informed way.

He also said he was proud of what the U.S. military has accomplished in Iraq, feels his views are shared by many middle class working people he knows, is tired of people criticizing the United States and feels that the U.S. Social Security program is a “joke.”

Wurzelbacher came to prominence last week when he asked Obama about his tax plan during a campaign stop, which led to an appearance on a Fox News talk show and an invitation to a McCain rally.

Wurzelbacher said the sudden attention hasn’t yet translated into increased business.

“I hope I have a lot of jobs today. Yesterday I worked on a water main break for a gas station and that’s why I didn’t give any interviews. I was muddy and soaking wet,” he said.

Obama and McCain repeatedly invoked Wurzelbacher in their final debate as they sought to appeal to average Americans. McCain, a Republican, said Obama’s plan to raise taxes on those making more than $250,000 a year would hurt small-business owners like Wurzelbacher.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081016/us_nm/us_usa_politics_
plumber;_ylt=Am6aXw2iArr4XUtRD1GD8HGs0NUE

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Joe Doesn’t Have License as Plummer

By By JOHN SEEWER, Associated Press Writer

“That bothered me. I wished that they had talked more about issues that are important to Americans,” he told reporters gathered outside his home.

Wurzelbacher, 34, said he doesn’t have a good plan put together on how he would buy Newell Plumbing and Heating in nearby Toledo.

He said the business consists of owner Al Newell and him. Wurzelbacher said he’s worked there for six years and that the two have talked about his taking it over at some point.

“There’s a lot I’ve got to learn,” he said.

Wurzelbacher said he started his day with an early morning workout and came back to his suburban Toledo home to do live interviews with TV networks.

Reporters camped out by his house overnight and by midmorning there were 21 people on his driveway surrounding him, holding cameras and notebooks.

Wurzelbacher said he’s feeling overwhelmed.

“I’m kind of like Britney Spears having a headache. Everybody wants to know about it,” he joked.

Joe Wurzelbacher, right, or as Republican presidential candidate ...
Above: Joe Wurzelbacher, right, or as Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain dubbed him during Wednesday’s presidential debate, ‘Joe The Pumber’, chats with members of the news media outside of his home in Holland, Ohio, Thursday Oct. 16, 2008. Wurzelbacher was cited by the GOP presidential candidate as an example of someone who wants to buy a plumbing business but would be hurt by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama’s tax plans. In Toledo on Sunday, Wurzelbacher told Obama that he was preparing to buy the plumbing company, which earns more than $250,000 a year, and said: ‘Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?’ Obama said that under his proposal taxes on any revenue from $250,000 on down would stay the same, but that amounts above that level would be subject to a 39 percent tax, instead of the current 36 percent rate.(AP Photo/Madalyn Ruggiero)

In Toledo on Sunday, Wurzelbacher told Obama that he was preparing to buy the plumbing company, which earns more than $250,000 a year, and said: “Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?”

Obama said that under his proposal taxes on any revenue from $250,000 on down would stay the same, but that amounts above that level would be subject to a 39 percent tax, instead of the current 36 percent rate.

Wurzelbacher said Obama’s tax plan wouldn’t affect him right now, because he doesn’t make $250,000. “But I hope someday I’ll make that,” he said.

“If you believed (Obama), I’d be receiving his tax cuts,” Wurzelbacher said. “But I don’t look at it that way. He’d still be hurting others.”

As he leaned against the Dodge Durango SUV parked in his driveway Thursday morning, Wurzelbacher indicated to reporters who crowded around that he was a conservative, a fan of the military and McCain. He said meeting McCain would be an honor but said he hadn’t been contacted by the Republican campaign.

Still, the plumber wouldn’t say who he was voting for and brushed off a question about whether he could influence the election or other voters.

“I don’t have a lot of pull. It’s not like I’m Matt Damon,” Wurzelbacher said.

“I just hope I’m not making too much of a fool of myself,” he added

Who Won Final Presidential Debate?

October 16, 2008

The morning of September 16, 2008, the Rasmussen poll is reporting that likely voters are for Obama 50%; McCain 46%…..

CNN polled people who wathed and said 58% said Obama won last night’s debate.  At Fox News, a “text-in” poll said 87% thought McCain won.  Dick Morris at Fox News said McCain won but Charles Krauthammer said the debate was a draw.  Most others said Obama won.

Who DID win?  Depends upon who you asked….

HEMPSTEAD, New York (CNN) — A majority of debate watchers think Sen. Barack Obama won the third and final presidential debate, according to a national poll conducted right afterward.
McCain, Obama get tough in final debate

Fifty-eight percent of debate watchers questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll said Democratic candidate Obama did the best job in the debate, with 31 percent saying Republican Sen. John McCain performed best.

The poll also suggests that debate watchers’ favorable opinion of Obama rose slightly during the debate, from 63 percent at the start to 66 percent at the end. The poll indicates that McCain’s favorables dropped slightly, from 51 percent to 49 percent.

The economy was the dominant issue of the debate, and 59 percent of debate watchers polled said Obama would do a better job handling the economy, 24 points ahead of McCain.

During the debate, McCain attacked Obama’s stance on taxes, accusing Obama of seeking tax increases that would “spread the wealth around.” But by 15 points, 56 percent to 41 percent, debate watchers polled said Obama would do a better job on taxes. By a 2-1 margin, 62 percent to 31 percent, debate watchers said Obama would do a better job on health care.

Sixty-six percent of debate watchers said Obama more clearly expressed his views, with 25 percent saying McCain was more clear about his views.

By 23 points, those polled said Obama was the stronger leader during the debate. By 48 points, they said Obama was more likeable.

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/
10/15/debate.poll/index.html

Final Debate: McCain Lands Blows But Obama May Have Escaped

October 16, 2008

Senator John McCain used the final debate of the presidential election on Wednesday night to raise persistent and pointed questions about Senator Barack Obama‘s character, judgment and policy prescriptions in a session that was by far the most spirited and combative of their encounters this fall.

By Jim Rutenberg
The New York Times
OCtober 16, 2008

At times showing anger and at others a methodical determination to make all his points, Mr. McCain pressed his Democratic rival on taxes, spending, the tone of the campaign and his association with the former Weather Underground leader William Ayers, using nearly every argument at his disposal in an effort to alter the course of a contest that has increasingly gone Mr. Obama’s way.

Todd Heisler/The New York Times

But Mr. Obama maintained a placid and at times bemused demeanor — if at times appearing to work at it — as he parried the attacks and pressed his consistent line that Mr. McCain would represent a continuation of President Bush’s unpopular policies, especially on the economy.

That set the backdrop for one of the sharpest exchanges of the evening, when, in response to Mr. Obama’s statement that Mr. McCain had repeatedly supported Mr. Bush’s economic policies, Mr. McCain fairly leaped out of his chair to say: “Senator Obama, I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago.”

Acknowledging Mr. McCain had his differences with Mr. Bush, Mr. Obama replied, “The fact of the matter is that if I occasionally mistake your policies for George Bush’s policies, it’s because on the core economic issues that matter to the American people — on tax policy, on energy policy, on spending priorities — you have been a vigorous supporter of President Bush.”

The debate touched on a wide variety of issues, including abortion, judicial appointments, trade and climate change as well as the economy, with the candidates often making clear the deep differences between them.

But it also put on display the two very different temperaments of the candidates with less than three weeks until Election Day. The lasting image of the night could be the split screen of Mr. Obama, doing his best to maintain his unflappable demeanor under a sometimes withering attack, and Mr. McCain looking coiled, occasionally breathing deeply, apparently in an expression of impatience.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/16/us/
politics/16debate.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

McCain unrelenting in final debate

October 16, 2008

Charles Krathammer said the debate was “a dead draw so Obama won.”  “Obama looked reassuring” he said.  “John McCain jabbed but never landed a knock out blow….he never explained who William Ayers was,” Krauthammer gave as an example….”McCain had Obama on partial birth abortion but never closed the deal….”  Mr. Krauthammer is a conservative syndicated columnist and Fox News Channel “talking head.” 

David Axelrod of the Obama staff said “Joe the plummer will get hosed by the John Mccain economic plan….”

By Stephan Dinan
The Washington Times

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — Sen. John McCain defiantly declared his independence from President Bush in the final debate of the presidential campaign Wednesday as he fired off attack after attack on Democratic opponent Sen. Barack Obama’s qualifications, his associations and his economic policies that he denounced as class warfare.

Mr. Obama countered that the Republican nominee would jeopardize Americans’ health insurance, provide “giveaways” to banks and continue the course set by Mr. Bush.
Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., answers a question during a presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2008.

Above: Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., answers a question during a presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., October 15, 2008.

“Senator Obama, I am not President Bush,” snapped Mr. McCain, the clear underdog in polls, in one of many lively volleys. “If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago. “I’m going to give a new direction to this economy in this country.”

Mr. McCain repeatedly brought up Joe Wurzelbacher, an Ohio man who questioned Mr. Obama at a recent rally, to represent the middle class, arguing that the Democrat’s tax plans would leave “Joe the Plumber” in the lurch.

And the senator from Arizona raised many of the issues that have been simmering beneath the scenes: abortion and judicial nominations; Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez and Mr. Obama’s pledge to meet with him; Mr. Obama’s ties to William Ayers, a member of the Weather Underground group that bombed government buildings to protest the Vietnam War; and his ties to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), which is accused of voter registration fraud.

Mr. Obama brushed aside those attacks, denying that he is associated with Mr. Ayers or ACORN, and for the most part tried to keep the focus on his plans to revive the economy.

The issue has played well for Mr. Obama, and with the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunging more than 700 points Wednesday, figures to remain dominant for the rest of the campaign.
Presidential debate

AP

“If I’ve occasionally mistaken your policies for George Bush’s policies, it’s because on the core economic issues that matter to the American people — on tax policy, on energy policy, on spending priorities — you have been a vigorous supporter of President Bush,” Mr. Obama said.

He frequently said Mr. McCain was distorting both his own and Mr. Obama’s records, and argued that it’s the Republican who is distracting voters with negative ads.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/200
8/oct/15/mccain-unrelenting-final-debate/

Pakistan: Troubled Yet Still Home

January 6, 2008

 By Hohsin Hamid
The Washington post
January 6, 2008; Page B01

LAHORE, Pakistan

During the winter holidays, much of the Pakistani diaspora makes its way back to the homeland. It is wedding season and — for those with the means and of a secular persuasion — party season as well. Flights are fully booked, airfares are astronomically high, and even circuitous itineraries via places such as Istanbul and Muscat are in great demand.

Middle-class families in Pakistan often tell a similar tale of numbers. Of my parents and their siblings, 13 people in total, 11 live in Pakistan. But of their 26 children — my generation — 15 of us reside abroad. Pakistan has become an increasingly unsettled place, and many of my peers have voted with their feet.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/04/AR2008010404309.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Forget oil, the new global crisis is food

January 6, 2008

By Alia McMullen
Financial Post (Canada)
January 04, 2008
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A new crisis is emerging, a global food catastrophe that will reach further and be more crippling than anything the world has ever seen. The credit crunch and the reverberations of soaring oil prices around the world will pale in comparison to what is about to transpire, Donald Coxe, global portfolio strategist at BMO Financial Group said at the Empire Club’s 14th annual investment outlook in Toronto on Thursday.
Corn grows in a farm field near Seneca, Illinois. Rising demand for grain to make fuel, food and livestock feed has helped push the prices of corn and soybeans.Scott Olson/Getty ImagesCorn grows in a farm field near Seneca, Illinois. Rising demand for grain to make fuel, food and livestock feed has helped push the prices of corn and soybeans.
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“It’s not a matter of if, but when,” he warned investors. “It’s going to hit this year hard.”

Mr. Coxe said the sharp rise in raw food prices in the past year will intensify in the next few years amid increased demand for meat and dairy products from the growing middle classes of countries such as China and India as well as heavy demand from the biofuels industry…..

Read the rest:
http://www.financialpost.com:80/story.html?id=
213343

Downward mobility trend threatens black middle class

November 19, 2007

USA Today
November 19, 2007

In the upper echelons of society, these are halcyon days forAfrican-American achievement. Never before have so many blacks reached the highest levels of government, business, media, entertainment and sports.

At the same time, however, the success of people such as CondoleezzaRice, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Denzel Washington and Tiger Woodshas masked a troubling trend.

Reports last week from the Pew Research Centerdocumented extensive downward mobility among the sons and daughters ofthe black middle class: 45% of black children from those families endup “near poor,” Pew reported. The comparable number for white familiesis 16%.

It would be hard to overstatement….

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/usatoday/20071119/cm_
usatoday/downwardmobilitytrendthreatensblack
middleclass;_ylt=Au0XpRnYHzpzBKjL_DqWdYqs0NUE

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