Friday, August 29, 2008

Even I Can Understand This!

BAR ROOM ECONOMICS – HOW THE TAX SYSTEM WORKS

Suppose that every day, ten people 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 (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 (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do.

The ten drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the 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 cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get their "fair share"?

They realised that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everyone's share, then the fifth and the sixth would each end up being paid to drink their beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each drinker's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay. And so:

The fifth person, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now pay $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 $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

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

"I only got a dollar out of the $20," declared the sixth. She pointed to the tenth man, "but he got $10!" "Yes, that's right," exclaimed the fifth. "I only saved a dollar too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I did" "That's true!!" shouted the seventh. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks" "Wait a minute," yelled the first four in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor"

The nine drinkers 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, ladies and gentlemen, 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.

For those who understand, no explanation is needed. For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible!

2 comments:

Editorgirl said...

Well said

kiki said...

"The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction."

not if you look at the percentages of the savings

then they get the raw deal