CNBC Host: Joe the Plumber 'Would be Huge' Any Other Year

     One Joe doesn’t think another Joe is popular enough.


     CNBC’s Joe Kernan told chief Washington correspondent John Harwood that the “Joe the plumber” story “would be huge” and even a “bombshell,” in any other election year. Kernan said voters “don’t care” because they are buying into Sen. Obama’s assertion that the Bush tax policies have led to the financial crisis.


     “Obviously not everyone out there knows how to connect the dots between the [financial crisis] and tax policy. For some reason the Bush tax policies are being cited by Obama as the reason that we’re in this position right now, again and again and again,” said “Squawk Box” co-host Kernan Oct. 16.


     “Now, normally in a campaign if you, if someone admits Robin Hood economics –take from the rich, give to the poor – ‘Yeah, I admit it, that’s what I want to do.’ Most people are smart enough to see that that doesn’t work, that dividing up a smaller pie doesn’t help the economic situation,” Kernan said. “This Joe the plumber story would be huge in any other year. People don’t care this year because it’s, ‘Well, look where we are right now because of those tax policies.’”


     He explained later, “It doesn’t have to do with tax [policy],” but with “fear and greed and bubbles and everything else and mortgages that were rammed down people’s throats.”


     Regarding Obama’s tax plan, Kernan is skeptical.


     On Oct. 13’s “Squawk Box” Kernan told Harwood that he “hoped” Obama would come out with a different tax plan, “because this one, this one is not going to help the investor class and the investor class, obviously, that wealth disparity is not quite what it was a year ago.”


     “Some of the Wall Street guys that are supporting Obama, they all tell me the same thing: He’s got to stay here right now to win the election. He’s smart, he’s going to move to the center like Clinton did and this tax proposal, he’s not really going to do any of these things. That’s all the way they rationalize this plan, which is really more welfare than tax cuts,” Kernan said.


     Kernan was pointing to the editorial Obama’s 95% Illusion that appeared in The Wall Street Journal Oct. 13. That editorial declared that there were “several sleights of hand” in Obama’s tax proposal, “but the most creative is to redefine the meaning of ‘tax cut.’”


     “For the Obama Democrats, a tax cut is no longer letting you keep more of what you earn. In their lexicon, a tax cut includes tens of billions of dollars in government handouts that are disguised by the phrase ‘tax credit,’” the Journal said.


     Kernan wasn’t the only financial journalist to note the editorial.


     “Consider it: nearly half of America would pay no income tax within just three years. I don’t need to tell you that means 56% of us would be facing much higher tax bills,” said Brian Sullivan while writing for “New Ideas,” a blog.

     Sullivan said, “All of this while an estimated 30% of Americans already pay no taxes. And if this op/ed holds true, that number will continue to rise. And Americans will have to work even harder to give more money to those who pay no taxes at all.”