I'm assuming Joe the Plumber, the new Republican folk hero (perplexing even to Joe) has a personal income of $250K, rather than a business income of that amount. 98% of the small businesses like mine, have high revenues while the owners are taxed on their income, such as my small salary of $36,000/year. Joe may be a plumber, but I can't quite envision a blue collar "joe sixpack*" in overalls. Call him Joe the Attorney and see how much sympathy he gets. Lets see how well Joe and me do under Obama.
Where the Obama plan helps Joe and me tremendously is health care. Small businesses can't afford to offer health care due to the high and unpredictable costs. We couldn't plan on health care as a stable benefit even if we could swing it, as the expense rises at an unpredictable rate well above inflation. Joe and I should be able to better hire and retain long term employees when we can offer an affordable plan. Until then, many small businesses pay the expensive cost of hiring and training new employees as the old ones are forced to move on to bigger companies with better health benefits.
The second part of employee retention for Joe and me is education. We live in a country where your zip code determines your quality of education, and your income determines your zip code. What if the public schools in my lower income city were of the same quality as the schools in a higher income area? The inequality in education helped fuel the housing crisis, as home owners attempted to leap frog to communities where their children would have educational opportunities. Anyone in American who chooses a lower income, because of their career, chooses to doom their children to substandard education. Become a teacher, social worker or game store owner, and your low income is accompanied by a perpetual feeling of guilt about what you've done to your children's future. And what about those who have no choice? Level the playing field in education, as the Obama plan should help do, and you build communities, retain employees, and allow intelligent people to work in rewarding fields, not just the most lucrative ones. This helps Joe and me tremendously, both in hiring employees and creating a stable customer base.
Finally, the big issue for Joe and me and is not about what's in it for us, but what kind of society we want to have. It's a big picture issue. Nobody is taking money out of Joe's pocket, it's a realization that the current economic system is just a tad inequitable. It rewards the wealthy far too much, shrinks the middle class and adds extra burdens on the poor. Should you pay a little more if you've made it economically? That's the real debate and I would argue that the system favors the wealthy in a variety of other ways and the answer should be yes. This also means Joe's and my employees will be able to live a better life, contributing to our businesses without the need to migrate to greener pastures. Having a little extra money in their pockets, middle class consumers should be able to afford new games to play or a plumber to come fix that leaky sink. It's a win-win for Joe and me.
*who drinks beer from a sixpack anymore?