Friday, October 10, 2008

Fairness

Fairness is important to many if not all people.

I'll buy that.  I want fairness and want to act fairly in dealing with others.  I'm not driven by some irrational envy of those who have achieved more than I have.

Tax fairness is a constant diatribe of the left.  Larry Elder (as have Lott, Williams, Sowell and many other sensible people) points out the inherent unfairness of U.S. Federal taxation.

Here are the telling facts:
The top 5 percent (those making more than $153,542 -- the group whose
taxes Obama seeks to raise) pay 60 percent of all federal income taxes.

The rich (aka the top 1 percent of income earners, those making more
than $388,806 a year), according to the IRS, pay 40 percent of all
federal income taxes.

The top 1 percent's taxes comprise 17 percent of
the federal government's revenue from all sources, including corporate
taxes, excise taxes, social insurance and retirement receipts.

If I charge you more than the person next to you for anything, please explain the "fairness" to me.

Tell me how this illustration strikes you:

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. 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!"

"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.


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