A Tax Parable

Donald L. Luskin posts a great tax parable from one of his readers named Z. Here's how it starts:

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 on 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?'

Read the rest if you want to understand the unfairness built into our system. The numbers are pretty good, except that in reality the rich and the poor get slightly more beer than the fellows in the middle.