Monday, October 27, 2008

Chicken or ...

David Sedaris writes a funny piece in The New Yorker on the undecided voter.


Anonymous said...

Our Tax System Explained: In Bar Stool Economics

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

Suppose that every day, the same 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.

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 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 got'

'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, 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 some what friendlier.

David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics
University of Georgia

John said...

That is how our income tax system works with a couple of exceptions.

- Man 1-4 would have received $1 from the $20 discount and therefore been paid $1 to drink.
- Most of the rest of our taxes work the other way around as previously posted by the moderator so it makes up for it in the end.

It is easy to look at one narrow aspect and say it is unfair. It is more difficult to look at the entire picture and figure out how to take the $80 and instead of wasting it on beer get 1-5 to go to college and earn a decent living.

PassTheChips said...

What do taxes have to do with the undecided voter again? Memo to blogger: How do I move comments to the right topic?

But since we're here and as I already commented on Bubba's blog when he first posted this, what do the other bars look like? Are the bars where he isn't forced to pay more as nice as the bar he usually goes to? What about the guys that don't even know what a bar is, where it is, and what beer tastes like?

Anyways, the David Sedaris piece is pretty funny. And required reading for all white people. White people love David Sedaris.

Anonymous said...

Oh please... you leave me a voicemail like that and you want me to respect protocol? How exactly am I going to get my hands on Neilson's?

Mr. Misty Float... I have... frozen custard blended beautifully as ordered... I do not have!

PassTheChips said...

I apologize for making you splutter. I didn't know that the anger ran that deep.

Anonymous said...

I do not think I have ever been characterized with that word. Ever... I needed to look it up. To splutter: To speak hastily and incoherently.

All I have to say to that is... Wow!

Spluttering is not consistent with Grizzley.

Subtract the word "anger" for "jealousy" and you "may" have been on the right track.

PassTheChips said...

"Mr. Misty Float... I have... frozen custard blended beautifully as ordered... I do not have!"

is the very definition of splutter.

Bubba the Hutt said...

Isn't it obvious that he's talking about the fact that he does not have access Neilson's frozen custard and the only thing he can use to try and fill that void is a Mr. Misty float?

I can't be the only one out here that speaks Grizz.

Anonymous said...

Blow it out your @$$.
- You know exactly what I meant.

Bubba - PTC may not speak Grizz, not many can, but at least he is not a 7ft 500 lbs woman.

PTC understands... eventually - possibly after an ultra-marathon... the runner eventually must stop to rest.

All goes quiet. You hear the faint sound of nightvision goggles click on... a few more seconds then... A sudden jerk and a soft whisper..."Just remember... It's not your fault!"

...crack of the neck and the game is over...

Bubba the Hutt said...

About the 7' 500 lbs woman, I forgot to tell you that she's also bald, and old.

PassTheChips said...

I didn't say that I didn't understand. I can understand Grizzsplutterspeak pretty well.