Our Tax System – Explained with Beer

Frank DeMartini

My brother Pete DeMartini sent me this chain email.  I thought it very illustrative of the basis of the Republican Tax Policy.  I think you will like it although it is not really an article.  It is credit to:  David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D. , Professor of Economics, University of Georgia, but since it is your typical internet chain email, no one know for sure.  If anyone knows for sure, please let me know.

Our Tax System – Explained with Beer

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100.
If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes. it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that’s what they decided to do.

The ten men drank beer in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the bar owner threw them a curve. “Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20.” Drinks for the ten now just cost $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes, so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men – the paying customers?

How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his ‘fair share’?

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But, if they subtracted that from everbody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings).
The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $50 instead of $59 (15% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And, the first four continued to drink for free. But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.

“I only got a dollar out of the $20,” declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, “but he got $9!”

“Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a dollar, too. It’s unfair that he got nine times more than I!”

“That’s true!!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $9 back when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!”

“Wait a minute.” yelled the first four men in unison. “We didn’t get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!”

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But, when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!”

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

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One Response to Our Tax System – Explained with Beer

  1. Gammy Sparkles on October 22, 2012 at 12:01 am

    This is just so so great!!!!!!!!

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