I got this somewhere on the internet, and figured it’s a good time to post it up for us to think about taxes…
Someone forwarded this to me, and it answers the question in terms many Americans can understand:
Since it is tax season let’s put tax cuts in terms everyone
can understand. 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 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 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 everybody’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.
The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing
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 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 $10!”
“Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved
a dollar, too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more than I!”
“That’s true!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $10
back when I got only two? 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.
David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics
University of Georgia
For those who understand, no explanation is needed. For those who
do not understand, no explanation is possible.