I received this e-mail that has been going around with an analogy of how taxes work in America. Not really sure who the author is, but the analogy is good enough that I felt it should be shared. Please consider this when you vote in 2012:
Let’s put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand.
Suppose that every night, ten men go to their favorite bar for beer. The tab for all ten
comes to $100 for ten pitchers. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like
- The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
- The fifth would pay $1.
- The sixth would pay $3.
- The seventh $7.
- The eighth $12.
- The ninth $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 night 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 nightly tab by $20.”
So, now drinks for the ten only cost $80. The group still wanted to pay their tab 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, the paying customers?
How could they divvy up the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his ‘fair share’?
The six men 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 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 (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 $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 drunk and 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 $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 me!”
“That’s true!!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $10 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 at the bar, so the nine sat down and drank without him. But when it came time to pay the tab, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for
even half of the tab!
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 to pick up the tab anymore.