Religion, Politics and World Events They make great dinner conversation, don't you think? plus Political Film

The parable of taxes

Old 12-01-04, 11:56 AM
  #1  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Pleasantville - in black & white ;P
Posts: 5,970
The parable of taxes

Sorry if you've seen this before. I searched first and didn't see a thread on it.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
THE TRUTH ABOUT TAXES
By Anonymous

Let's put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand. Suppose that every day, ten men go out for dinner.

The bill for all ten comes to one-hundred dollars. 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 one dollar;
The sixth would pay three dollars;
The seventh seven dollars;
The eighth twelve dollars;
The ninth eighteen dollars.
The tenth man, the richest, would pay fifty-nine dollars.

That's what they decided to do. The ten men ate dinner in the restaurant 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 meal by twenty dollars."

So now dinner for the ten only cost eighty dollars. The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes.

The first four men were unaffected. They still would eat for free. But what about the other six, the paying customers? How could they divvy up the twenty dollar windfall so that everyone would get their "fair share"?

The six men realized that twenty divided by six is 3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would end up being "paid" to eat their meal.

The restaurant owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same percentage, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

The fifth man paid nothing, the sixth man pitched in two dollars, the seventh man paid five dollars, the eighth man paid nine dollars, the ninth paid twelve dollars, leaving the tenth man with a bill of fifty-two dollars instead of his earlier fifty-nine dollars.

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to eat for free.

But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare savings.

"I only got a dollar out of the twenty." declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth. "But he got seven."

"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man, "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got seven times more than me."

"That's true!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get seven dollars back when I only got 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 dinner, so the nine sat down and ate without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They were fifty-two dollars short.

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college instructors, is how the tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefits from a tax reduction.

Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show at the table anymore.
mosquitobite is offline  
Old 12-01-04, 11:59 AM
  #2  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: in da cloud
Posts: 26,196
this is older than the 18th amendment, i guess the internets just got to hoosier country
al_bundy is offline  
Old 12-01-04, 12:05 PM
  #3  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Pleasantville - in black & white ;P
Posts: 5,970
No. I know it's old. I've saved it.

Do you just not like Hoosiers Al, or is it a bias against small breasted women?

I just like to bring it up when people bash "tax cuts for the rich"
mosquitobite is offline  
Old 12-01-04, 12:41 PM
  #4  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 23,460
That's the dumbest thing I've ever read.
Trigger is offline  
Old 12-01-04, 01:14 PM
  #5  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 25,062
Moral: All rich people are going to disappear to a verdant ranch in the Colorado mountains, where they can live out their lives free of the grasp of poor people while rewriting the Constitution.
Tracer Bullet is offline  
Old 12-01-04, 01:26 PM
  #6  
DVD Talk Hero
 
JasonF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 39,539
I know you're new here, mosquitobite, so you probably don't realize that this analogy has been done to death. See here, for example.

But we're always happy to have another go at an unsolvable political problem here in The Otter. So .... let me ask you a few quick questions.

What does the restaurant represent in this analogy? What does the meal represent? What else do these people spend their money on besides their nightly meal?
JasonF is offline  
Old 12-01-04, 01:46 PM
  #7  
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: The Center of the Universe
Posts: 206
"internets"

Hmm...where have I heard this before?

Is it possible?

Shall we expect a "Wonkette Fest" replete with Shiny Monkeys and Yellow Dogs?
Rhoda is offline  
Old 12-01-04, 01:55 PM
  #8  
New Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 5
and, if you're about to be attacked by a wild boar, do you grab the doves you just shot, pull up your pants and then run? Or, do you just say screw the doves, pull up your pants....

Sorry, wrong movie.

It just isn't fair Skeeter. It isn't my fault if I could only afford to spend $12.00. I should still get a $7.00 break like the rich guy.

I'm sure it was just a miscalculation.

I learned % in grade school. Makes PERFECT sense/cents to me.
Kels is offline  
Old 12-01-04, 02:01 PM
  #9  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Malvern, PA
Posts: 5,013
Originally posted by Trigger
That's the dumbest thing I've ever read.
May I suggest that perhaps you missed the point? I thought it was quite a clever and relevant analogy.

Or are you simply dismissing it as "dumb" because it exploits your political position?
Goldblum is offline  
Old 12-01-04, 02:08 PM
  #10  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Th0r S1mpson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 36,443
It was a good analogy... all but the last part.

"Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show at the table anymore."

That part doesn't really fit. It would make more sense if the rich guy decided to outsource the poor 4's jobs to another country and they weren't able to afford the bus fare to the restaurant.
Th0r S1mpson is offline  
Old 12-01-04, 02:21 PM
  #11  
DVD Talk Hero
 
JasonF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 39,539
Can someone who's claiming that it's a good analogy please answer my questions?
JasonF is offline  
Old 12-01-04, 02:52 PM
  #12  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Working in the "evil" pharmaceutical industry booga booga
Posts: 7,991
Originally posted by JasonF
What does the restaurant represent in this analogy? What does the meal represent? What else do these people spend their money on besides their nightly meal?
Restaurant is America.

Meal is where the tax money is spent; the diners are eating the exact same thing for a different amount of money each.

Doesn't matter. This is a tax analogy.

2+2=4

Darth is Luke's father.

Rosebud is a sled.

Any other difficult questions you need help with?
weargle is offline  
Old 12-01-04, 02:57 PM
  #13  
bhk
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Right of Atilla The Hun
Posts: 19,749
Darth is Luke's father.

Rosebud is a sled.

Any other difficult questions you need help with?
Runs away from the thread screaming: learn how to use spoilers, n00b
bhk is offline  
Old 12-01-04, 03:06 PM
  #14  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: in Bush territory!
Posts: 11,613
Originally posted by weargle
the diners are eating the exact same thing for a different amount of money each.

And that's where the analogy is wrong. In more realistic terms....

four men would be eating stale bread
the fifth would be eating quaker oats
the sixth would be eating a ham sandwich
the seventh, combo #5 from McDonalds
the eighth, a Papa Johns pizza
the ninth, a nice chicken cesar salad
and the luckiest of the bunch.....filet minon with fava beans with a nice chianti.
wabio is offline  
Old 12-01-04, 03:23 PM
  #15  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Th0r S1mpson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 36,443
Originally posted by wabio
And that's where the analogy is wrong. In more realistic terms....

four men would be eating stale bread
...
...
No, it's an analogy of where the tax money is spent, on the same things as weargle states. The poor use the same roads, receive the same national defense, same court system, etc as the rich.. At least in theory.

It's not a factor of quality or what they are ordering beyond this tax "meal." Those are seperate and likely private (private health care, private schools, luxury itesm etc). If the rich are spending more on extra things, then yes, they are paying more taxes on these items even if the percentage is the same. But they aren't just paying their numerical share of taxes on these things, they are also paying to cover meals for the others.

Going by your example, you wouldn't have to split the payment for the meal up at all. People would simply buy what they can afford (be it stale bread or steak). But that's not the way the system works. We don't have tolls everywhere and we don't ship our poor people off to an undefended island and only protect those who pay a defense fund.
Th0r S1mpson is offline  
Old 12-01-04, 03:25 PM
  #16  
New Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 5
Runs away from the thread screaming: learn how to use ANALOGIES, n00b

2+2=4

Darth is Luke's father.

Rosebud is a sled.
Kels is offline  
Old 12-01-04, 03:28 PM
  #17  
DVD Talk Hero
 
JasonF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 39,539
Originally posted by weargle
Restaurant is America.
Wrong -- the restaurant is the U.S. government, not the U.S. as a whole.

Meal is where the tax money is spent; the diners are eating the exact same thing for a different amount of money each.
It's a flawed analogy, then, since rich people get a lot more from the government than poor people get.

Doesn't matter. This is a tax analogy.
If it doesn't matter, then why does Richie Rich care how big a "tax refund" he gets back in the analogy.

What other things the money is spent on tells us which taxes we're talking about, and whether the individual discussing the analogy has a real understanding of why our tax system is structured the way it is.
JasonF is offline  
Old 12-01-04, 04:07 PM
  #18  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Th0r S1mpson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 36,443
Originally posted by JasonF
It's a flawed analogy, then, since rich people get a lot more from the government than poor people get.
I'm sure you're right, but I can't think of many examples. The only one I can think of off-hand is a publicly funded stadium, which the wealthy are more likely to enjoy than the poor. What are some others?
Th0r S1mpson is offline  
Old 12-01-04, 04:19 PM
  #19  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: in Bush territory!
Posts: 11,613
Originally posted by Thor Simpson
I'm sure you're right, but I can't think of many examples. The only one I can think of off-hand is a publicly funded stadium, which the wealthy are more likely to enjoy than the poor. What are some others?
There are actually quite a bit....it just depends how deep you are willing to dig. The paved roads and public parks are much nicer in upscale neighborhoods than in the ghetto. Schools are much nicer. Public services such as police and ambulances serve the wealthy better. If someone gets shot in the ghetto, detectives are much less willing to spend as many man hours on the case.
wabio is offline  
Old 12-01-04, 04:20 PM
  #20  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Pleasantville - in black & white ;P
Posts: 5,970
Why does you or me or Joe Blow get to decide how much someone else "deserves" to pay?

Considering the poor are the ones to use the welfare system, the Medicaid system, and most likely the education system....

exactly what the hell could the rich use that would equal those???
mosquitobite is offline  
Old 12-01-04, 04:22 PM
  #21  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Pleasantville - in black & white ;P
Posts: 5,970
The rich more than likely send their children to a private school or if the school is better in their area it's because of involvement and personal donations - NOT because of higher taxes...
mosquitobite is offline  
Old 12-01-04, 04:24 PM
  #22  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Pleasantville - in black & white ;P
Posts: 5,970
and besides that you didn't say HOW the rich used the money more - you just said they were "nicer". That doesn't mean they use their "nice" ones any more than the poor use theirs.

And again, they are likely nicer because of VOLUNTARY donations - not because more tax dollars are going there...

2c
mosquitobite is offline  
Old 12-01-04, 04:28 PM
  #23  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Hoboken, NJ
Posts: 3,068
Originally posted by mosquitobite
The rich more than likely send their children to a private school or if the school is better in their area it's because of involvement and personal donations - NOT because of higher taxes...
aren't most school funding systems based on property taxes?

In which case the richer neighborhoods would certainlyh ave better funded schools.

birrman54
Birrman54 is offline  
Old 12-01-04, 04:30 PM
  #24  
Moderator
 
wendersfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Nuova Repubblica di SalÚ
Posts: 32,884
Originally posted by Birrman54
aren't most school funding systems based on property taxes?

In which case the richer neighborhoods would certainlyh ave better funded schools.
You would be correct on both counts.
wendersfan is online now  
Old 12-01-04, 04:40 PM
  #25  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Pleasantville - in black & white ;P
Posts: 5,970
ok so how do the rich "USE" a school more than a poor child?
mosquitobite is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.