MCCAIN: No. I would like to mention that a couple days ago Senator Obama was out in Ohio and he had an encounter with a guy who's a plumber, his name is Joe Wurzelbacher.
Joe wants to buy the business that he has been in for all of these years, worked 10, 12 hours a day. And he wanted to buy the business but he looked at your tax plan and he saw that he was going to pay much higher taxes.
You were going to put him in a higher tax bracket which was going to increase his taxes, which was going to cause him not to be able to employ people, which Joe was trying to realize the American dream.
Now Senator Obama talks about the very, very rich. Joe, I want to tell you, I'll not only help you buy that business that you worked your whole life for and be able -- and I'll keep your taxes low and I'll provide available and affordable health care for you and your employees.
And I will not have -- I will not stand for a tax increase on small business income. Fifty percent of small business income taxes are paid by small businesses. That's 16 million jobs in America. And what you want to do to Joe the plumber and millions more like him is have their taxes increased and not be able to realize the American dream of owning their own business.
SCHIEFFER: Is that what you want to do?
MCCAIN: That's what Joe believes.
OBAMA: He has been watching ads of Senator McCain's. Let me tell you what I'm actually going to do. I think tax policy is a major difference between Senator McCain and myself. And we both want to cut taxes, the difference is who we want to cut taxes for.
Now, Senator McCain, the centerpiece of his economic proposal is to provide $200 billion in additional tax breaks to some of the wealthiest corporations in America. Exxon Mobil, and other oil companies, for example, would get an additional $4 billion in tax breaks.
What I've said is I want to provide a tax cut for 95 percent of working Americans, 95 percent. If you make more -- if you make less than a quarter million dollars a year, then you will not see your income tax go up, your capital gains tax go up, your payroll tax. Not one dime. And 95 percent of working families, 95 percent of you out there, will get a tax cut. In fact, independent studies have looked at our respective plans and have concluded that I provide three times the amount of tax relief to middle-class families than Senator McCain does.
OBAMA: Now, the conversation I had with Joe the plumber, what I essentially said to him was, "Five years ago, when you were in a position to buy your business, you needed a tax cut then."
And what I want to do is to make sure that the plumber, the nurse, the firefighter, the teacher, the young entrepreneur who doesn't yet have money, I want to give them a tax break now. And that requires us to make some important choices.
The last point I'll make about small businesses. Not only do 98 percent of small businesses make less than $250,000, but I also want to give them additional tax breaks, because they are the drivers of the economy. They produce the most jobs.
MCCAIN: You know, when Senator Obama ended up his conversation with Joe the plumber -- we need to spread the wealth around. In other words, we're going to take Joe's money, give it to Senator Obama, and let him spread the wealth around.
I want Joe the plumber to spread that wealth around. You told him you wanted to spread the wealth around.
The whole premise behind Senator Obama's plans are class warfare, let's spread the wealth around. I want small businesses -- and by the way, the small businesses that we're talking about would receive an increase in their taxes right now.
Who -- why would you want to increase anybody's taxes right now? Why would you want to do that, anyone, anyone in America, when we have such a tough time, when these small business people, like Joe the plumber, are going to create jobs, unless you take that money from him and spread the wealth around.
I'm not going to...
OBAMA: OK. Can I...
MCCAIN: We're not going to do that in my administration.
OBAMA: If I can answer the question. Number one, I want to cut taxes for 95 percent of Americans. Now, it is true that my friend and supporter, Warren Buffett, for example, could afford to pay a little more in taxes in order...
MCCAIN: We're talking about Joe the plumber.
OBAMA: ... in order to give -- in order to give additional tax cuts to Joe the plumber before he was at the point where he could make $250,000.
Then Exxon Mobil, which made $12 billion, record profits, over the last several quarters, they can afford to pay a little more so that ordinary families who are hurting out there -- they're trying to figure out how they're going to afford food, how they're going to save for their kids' college education, they need a break.
So, look, nobody likes taxes. I would prefer that none of us had to pay taxes, including myself. But ultimately, we've got to pay for the core investments that make this economy strong and somebody's got to do it.
MCCAIN: Nobody likes taxes. Let's not raise anybody's taxes. OK?
OBAMA: Well, I don't mind paying a little more.
MCCAIN: The fact is that businesses in America today are paying the second highest tax rate of anywhere in the world. Our tax rate for business in America is 35 percent. Ireland, it's 11 percent.
Where are companies going to go where they can create jobs and where they can do best in business?
We need to cut the business tax rate in America. We need to encourage business.
Now, of all times in America, we need to cut people's taxes. We need to encourage business, create jobs, not spread the wealth around.
[on health care. further on in the debate]
MCCAIN: Well, it is a terribly painful situation for Americans. They're seeing their premiums, their co-pays go up. Forty-seven million Americans are without health insurance in America today.
And it really is the cost, the escalating costs of health care that are inflicting such pain on working families and people across this country. And I am convinced we need to do a lot of things.
We need to put health care records online. The V.A. does that. That will -- that will reduce costs. We need to have more community health centers. We need to have walk-in clinics.
The rise of obesity amongst young Americans is one of the most alarming statistics that there is. We should have physical fitness programs and nutrition programs in schools. Every parent should know what's going on there.
We -- we need to have -- we need to have employers reward employees who join health clubs and practice wellness and fitness.
But I want to give every American family a $5,000 refundable tax credit. Take it and get anywhere in America the health care that you wish.
Now, my old buddy, Joe, Joe the plumber, is out there. Now, Joe, Senator Obama's plan, if you're a small business and you are able -- and your -- the guy that sells to you will not have his capital gains tax increase, which Senator Obama wants, if you're out there, my friend, and you've got employees, and you've got kids, if you don't get -- adopt the health care plan that Senator Obama mandates, he's going to fine you.
MCCAIN: Now, Senator Obama, I'd like -- still like to know what that fine is going to be, and I don't think that Joe right now wants to pay a fine when he is seeing such difficult times in America's economy.
Senator Obama wants to set up health care bureaucracies, take over the health care of America through -- as he said, his object is a single payer system.
If you like that, you'll love Canada and England. So the point is...
SCHIEFFER: So that's your objective?
OBAMA: It is not and I didn't describe it...
MCCAIN: No, you stated it.
OBAMA: I just...
MCCAIN: Excuse me.
OBAMA: I just described what my plan is. And I'm happy to talk to you, Joe, too, if you're out there. Here's your fine -- zero. You won't pay a fine, because...
OBAMA: Zero, because as I said in our last debate and I'll repeat, John, I exempt small businesses from the requirement for large businesses that can afford to provide health care to their employees, but are not doing it.
I exempt small businesses from having to pay into a kitty. But large businesses that can afford it, we've got a choice. Either they provide health insurance to their employees or somebody has to.
Right now, what happens is those employees get dumped into either the Medicaid system, which taxpayers pick up, or they're going to the emergency room for uncompensated care, which everybody picks up in their premiums.
The average family is paying an additional $900 a year in higher premiums because of the uninsured.
So here's what we do. We exempt small businesses. In fact, what, Joe, if you want to do the right thing with your employees and you want to provide them health insurance, we'll give you a 50 percent credit so that you will actually be able to afford it.
If you don't have health insurance or you want to buy into a group plan, you will be able to buy into the plan that I just described.
Now, what we haven't talked about is Senator McCain's plan. He says he's going to give you all a $5,000 tax credit. That sounds pretty good. And you can go out and buy your own insurance.
Here's the problem -- that for about 20 million people, you may find yourselves no longer having employer-based health insurance. This is because younger people might be able to get health insurance for $5,000, young and healthy folks.
Older folks, let's healthy folks, what's going to end up happening is that you're going to be the only ones left in your employer-based system, your employers won't be able to afford it.
And once you're out on your own with this $5,000 credit, Senator McCain, for the first time, is going to be taxing the health care benefits that you have from your employer.
And this is your plan, John. For the first time in history, you will be taxing people's health care benefits.
By the way, the average policy costs about $12,000. So if you've got $5,000 and it's going to cost you $12,000, that's a loss for you.
Last point about Senator McCain's plan is that insurers right now, the main restrictions on what they do is primarily state law and, under Senator McCain's plan, those rules would be stripped away and you would start seeing a lot more insurance companies cherry-picking and excluding people from coverage.
That, I think, is a mistake and I think that this is a fundamental difference in our campaign and how we would approach health care.
SCHIEFFER: What about that?
MCCAIN: Hey, Joe, you're rich, congratulations, because what Joe wanted to do was buy the business that he's been working for 10-12 hours a day, seven days a week, and you said that you wanted to spread the wealth, but -- in other words, take Joe's money and then you decide what to do with it.
Now, Joe, you're rich, congratulations, and you will then fall into the category where you'll have to pay a fine if you don't provide health insurance that Senator Obama mandates, not the kind that you think is best for your family, your children, your employees, but the kind that he mandates for you.
That's big government at its best. Now, 95 percent of the people in America will receive more money under my plan because they will receive not only their present benefits, which may be taxed, which will be taxed, but then you add $5,000 onto it, except for those people who have the gold-plated Cadillac insurance policies that have to do with cosmetic surgery and transplants and all of those kinds of things.
And the good thing about this is they'll be able to go across America. The average cost of a health care insurance plan in America today is $5,800. I'm going to give them $5,000 to take with them wherever they want to go, and this will give them affordability.
This will give them availability. This will give them a chance to choose their own futures, not have Senator Obama and government decide that for them.
This really gets down to the fundamental difference in our philosophies. If you notice that in all of this proposal, Senator -- government wants -- Senator Obama wants government to do the job.
Senator Obama wants government to do the job. I want, Joe, you to do the job.
MCCAIN: I want to leave money in your pocket. I want you to be able to choose the health care for you and your family. That's what I'm all about. And we've got too much government and too much spending and the government is -- the size of government has grown by 40 percent in the last eight years.
We can't afford that in the next eight years and Senator Obama, with the Democrats in charge of Congress, things have gotten worse. Have you noticed, they've been in charge the last two years.
SCHIEFFER: All right. A short response.
OBAMA: Very briefly. You all just heard my plan. If you've got an employer-based health care plan, you keep it. Now, under Senator McCain's plan there is a strong risk that people would lose their employer-based health care.
That's the choice you'll have is having your employer no longer provide you health care. And don't take my word for it. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which generally doesn't support a lot of Democrats, said that this plan could lead to the unraveling of the employer-based health care system.
All I want to do, if you've already got health care, is lower your costs. That includes you, Joe.
Júdica me, Deus.