Oh, Moderates...come out, come out, where ever you are!

Where the FUCK are all of the moderate politicians?! Is THIS really the best and brightest our country has to offer???

I have Robin Hood to the left of me. And I have the Christian Coalition to the right of me. This is ridiculous.

Obama discussed "redistribution of wealth" at the last Presidential debate. I was talking to a good friend last night and I said that this gave me concern. She responded, "Bex! It won't affect you because you don't make more than $250,000! So you don't have to worry about that!"

She's right. We don't earn anywhere near that amount. But does that make it ok? I know people who have started companies, risked everything they own, and worked for free for years trying to make it what it is today. And now, they should be taxed further than they already are? How, exactly, is this not punishing the hardworking and successful?

My brother sent me an email today that I think brings this point home. Nobody knows who wrote it. But I wish I had as it's brilliant.

Bar stool economics

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.

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

PS And all of my Republican homies, don't be getting all jazzed up - there are some things with McCain and Palin that I find DEEPLY troubling. Why can't we have a moderate, middle of the road president? Why does it either have to be a Super Conservative Christian or a Socialist? I just don't get it. I don't think that either are good for our country.


Tricia said…
I have seen that illustration before and it does drive the point home. I do not like Obama's tax plan nor do I like his health plan. Sure I don't make $250K yet but someday I'd like to without having to give even more of it to the government.

I can only hope that McCain is pandering to the right to get elected and will revert to his historically moderate roots once in office.

I don't like Palin as a VP - she just is not savvy enough for the job and McCain is too old to not have a real back up plan.

We are fucked! :(
This is the reason it's really important to find someone else to buy the beer.
Liz C said…
Don't fret, Bex! I mean, how many of the 'grand plans' that the candidates have presented during campaigns over the years have ever actually come to pass? The president just doesn't wave a wand and make it so. There are a whole lot of other people involved in the process, and some of them are actually moderates.

The campaign is all about vision, not reality. It's always been that way.

Personally McCain & Palin both scare the shit out of me. I'm not sure which is scarier, really.

And I agree with 'prefers...'
Merrie said…
liz c is right -- so few of all the things they're spouting about will actually happen. In the end, I'm voting for who I think cares more about all Americans and about our money. And it ain't the newbie. Time will tell!
Bex said…
I can find something scary about all four of them. In the end, I'll end up voting for the one who will make the most global, financial sense for the country. But I'm not voting early. I want to know everything I can about them before I pull the trigger.
AnonyMoose said…
Free beer! Now thats a party I can get behind.
Jormengrund said…
Yeah. This is going to be one screwed up time, I'll tell you..

What I'm most worried about right now is this..

Are either of these two candidates REALLY in touch with reality, or are they just seeing what they want to see and hear from their aides, and ignoring the rest?

Just because they say what kind of changes they're going to make doesn't mean that they're ACTUALLY going to be able to follow through with it. I mean, not only do they have to draft the legislature, but then they have to bring it before Congress, and they have to have THEIR say in what they want.

Sure, whomever it is can veto that choice, but when it comes down to it, NOTHING gets done when there are conflicting viewpoints over stuff like the national budget, and really anything to do with money!

I tend to agree that with this election, there aren't going to be any "winners". Because as I see it, we're screwed.

Plain and simple.
kc said…
I'm not a mod (in fact I'm pretty damn radical), but I can totally get behind what you're saying. And I like that illustration. If candidates put all their policies in beer-jargon, people might actually like them a lot more (or at least be able to understand what they're saying).
HappyHourSue said…
I really haven't expressed any political views because my husband and I are (GASP) McCain supporters - my husband makes over $250K but he worked his ass off to get there - graduated college and went directly into the marine corp - recruited by P&G from there and has worked hard ever since. It's not like he got a trust fund. What about us? I'm not saying oh boo-hoo, poor us, but why is he penalized for that?
Bex said…

I'm not voting early. I'm voting at the last possible second because I want to know every possible thing I can about both parties.

My blog is supposed to be a humor blog. So I don't really write about the mundane, my life is crap, I just stubbed my toe kind of stuff. But the truth is that my husband was laid off a month ago. We have three little kids and the economy is scary. So many companies here have declared "hiring freezes".

It could be argued that we'd benefit most from Obama in the White House. But I think that taking money from the rich just because they are in the minority is WRONG. And we saved up, bought a nice house that we could afford. We have a 30 year fixed interest rate of 4.88%. It chaps my ass that I could end up paying extra taxes for the jackasses who didn't get a mortgage that they could afford. Even being unemployed, we can afford ours.

I am basically socially liberal (pro-choice, pro gay rights, etc.) and fiscally conservative (small government, minimize spending, etc.).

Palin is freaking me out with her uber conservative leanings. Truly. I was initially excited about her and told my kids that regardless of who won the election that new ground was going to be broken. Either a man of color or a female would be in the white house which was pretty cool - history will be made.

But the redistribution of wealth thing...jesus. It's like a bad joke. "Let's punish the guys providing jobs!"

So, my plan is to vote for McCain and to hope like hell he and Palin don't try to goof around with the constitution and flip Roe v. Wade.

But I think Obama will win. And I deeply fear that we are as fucked as a country could be.

I'll vote my conscious and hope for the best. But that's how I feel.

I fear that many of my friends don't understand the implications of a socialist president with a majority in Congress. Of course, there was a Republican as President who had the majority in Congress and that ended badly, too. Ugh. What a mess.
Anonymous said…
If it were that simple, most of us would agree that the rich should not be made to buy beer for the poor. But taxes don't buy beer, they pay for the military, infrastructure projects, education, interest on the debt and social programs- and someone has to pay for them. You (I mean in general terms, not you specifically) may hope to one day be among the $250,000/yr earners, but you won't get there by being an awesome teacher, or by defending our freedoms in the military or by putting your life on the line as a law enforcement officer or by working with abused children, and probably not as an artist or musician. There are millions of hard working Americans who make incredible and invaluable contributions to our community but who do not make much money. It may not seem fair to tax those who have more money at a greater percentage, but neither does it seem always fair as to who does make the money. How appalling to bicker about whether those who have should have a little less or a little more, while millions of Americans worry about access to healthcare, unemployment and poverty. Ironic that the party of the Christian right uses this tax issue as a primary campaign focus.
Anonymous said…
After reading my post, I want to add that I don't mean to antagonize, part of what I wanted to say is that our country is too polarized. I just think we have greater issues to solve and that our country would be better off if we focused more on how together we can make this a great community for everyone.
AnonyMoose said…
Hey Anonymous I thought this was a comedy site! (You wrote your retraction before I could put this up, but I’m putting it up anyway.),

But since you brought it up. In reference to Bex’s analogy, it really is that simple. You don’t have to be a sociologist to observe that in any culture where success is punished and mediocrity is rewarded, that society (or species if you want to go all Darwin on me) is destined to fail.

Fail, ironically, is really close to the word you used “fair”? Now, since your argument is wrong on so many levels, I find it difficult to determine which definition of “fair” you are using.

So, how about this one?
1. This of pleasing appearance, especially because of a pure or fresh quality; comely. (No, probably not, I don’t think anyone has ever thought of taxes as pleasing. Maybe you were talking about Obama, I know he sends shivers up my leg… and I’m a guy.)

Or this one?
2. a. Light in color, especially blond: fair hair.
b. Of light complexion: fair skin.
(It must be this one, I mean taxes are, in not so many words, the government taking money you earned from you at the threat of violence, and money has pictures of long dead presidents, and those guys wore white (fair) wigs and all happened to be low in pigmentation (fair skinned), so you must mean this definition… or not.)

Maybe this one?
3. Free of clouds or storms; clear and sunny: fair skies.
(Probably not this one, taxes happen to the majority of us ((And by “us” I mean people that work and pay taxes, not just the rich who also pay taxes, but us lowly middle class types who will must assuredly be screwed when the new corporate tax plan is passed down to the middle class in the form of higher priced goods .)) in April, and you know what they say ”April showers bring May flowers” so it will most likely be cloudy around tax time.)

Perhaps this one?
4. Free of blemishes or stains; clean and pure: one's fair name.
(I have no idea how to link this one to taxes. Now if we were talking about intern dresses I might have something to work with.)

Are we getting close yet?
5. Promising; likely: We're in a fair way to succeed.
(Definitely not this one. Because I’m FAIRly certain that Obama will raise my taxes. And no I do not even get close to $250,000.)

I know it has to be this one!
6. a. Having or exhibiting a disposition that is free of favoritism or bias; impartial: a fair mediator.
b. Just to all parties; equitable: a compromise that is fair to both factions.
(It must be this one. Yea, I have seen the light! It is so obvious to me now. Since the top 10 % pay 68% of the tab. Meanwhile, the bottom 50% (those below the median income level)now earn 13 % of the income but pay just 3 % of the taxes, so, by raising the percentage on the rich it will make it MORE fair. Those rich don’t know how lucky they got it.)

Here’s the one that I think you meant and it sounds vaguely familiar:
“From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.”
(Now where have I heard this definition before… oh yea, the Communist Manifesto, thanks Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx!)

And one last thing, beer is for socializing, not for socialists.
Bex said…

I hear what you're saying and I don't feel antagonized by it. I suppose we just disagree. Right now my family doesn't have an income. But we have saved money for such a time so we'll be fine.

My dad was one of four kids and was raised by a single mother. Their family was, at times, on welfare and they lived a very rough life, complete with physical abuse, poverty and fear.

My dad went into the Navy at 17 and worked his way up the ranks. When he got out he got a crappy job where he saved as much money as he could. Then he got a better job and kept saving. Eventually he had enough money where he could go to school at night, which he did to receive his college degree. He did not take out college loans only to neglect to repay them.

He continued working hard and saving. He bought a house that he could afford.

He started his own company with his savings. He poured his heart and soul into it, working for free for years to make it what it is.

He has what he has because he worked hard. He earned it. And he's happy to pay a higher portion of the taxes - to some degree. But his taxes are already quite high. How much higher will they go? I have no idea. But it really angers me when I hear people talk very cavalierly about "redistributing wealth" as though the wealthy have always had everything delivered to them on a silver tray. My dad (and many others) worked his ass off to earn what he has.

I am a community volunteer and I know that there are a lot of worthy programs out there that genuinely DO help the underprivileged.

But there are also many people who take advantage of these programs. They do not work hard, and some make very stupid decisions with their money and families.

My fear is that we will end up taking from the rich to give to these programs that, in the end, only enable some Americans to continue to not pull themselves up by their boot straps and get their shit together.

Americans need to be responsible for themselves and their choices. If you overextend your credit, live beyond your means and end up losing your house - guess what - you're not a victim.

Now that doesn't mean you're a bad person, either - you've just made some bad decisions that hopefully you'll learn from and do better next time.

Pops still lives well below his means. He doesn't have a flat screen tv. He doesn't get cable. There are people on welfare who nicer things than he does. Americans have a sense of entitlement that is ill-founded.

At any rate, thank you for your comments. Regardless of who wins this election we are all still Americans and need to work together to make it a better country. I just hope that it's not at the expense of people like my Dad who worked too hard to have it taken away from him to pay for people who go bankrupt yet somehow still seem to have several cell phones, multiple flat screen TV's and cars.
Bex said…
Oy...AnonyMoose...where is the LOVE? Where is the HOPE?? Where is the BEER??? Seriously. Are we out or what??
Indy Jane said…
First time reading your blog. It is funny! I like it.

Election is over but I still wanted to throw my .02 in. McCain is NOT a right wing christian conservative. HE is a RINO. He had to select a conservative like Palin in order to get support from the Republican base.

McCain was the only centrist in the bunch. All anyone has to do is look at the record. He is the one who reached across the aisle time after time. While Obama was the most radical liberal leftist the Dems have ever put forward in a race for the Whitehouse. I am stunned he made it. But folks weren't interested in looking at what he had actually accomplished or not accomplished. They just preferred to drink the MSM's BHO kool-aid...sigh...

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