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[Author unknown.]

Every night, 10 men met at a restaurant for dinner. At the end of the meal, the bill would arrive and altogether they would owe $100.00.

Every night they lined up in the same order at the cash register to pay the bill. The first four men paid nothing at all. The fifth, grumbling about the unfairness of the situation, paid $1. The sixth man, feeling a little put out, paid $3. The next three men paid $7, $12, and $18 respectively. The last man was required to pay the remaining balance, $59 (59%).

The ten men were quite settled into their routine when the restaurant threw them into chaos by announcing that it was cutting its prices. Now dinner for the 10 men would only cost $80.

This clearly would not affect the first four men; they still ate for free. The fifth man announced he would now pay nothing either. The sixth man lowered his contribution by 1/3 and paid only $2. The seventh man deducted $2 from his usual payment and paid only $5. The eighth man paid $9 instead of his usual $12. The ninth man paid $12, $6 less than before. This left the last man with a bill of $52.

Outside the restaurant after the meal, the men began to compare their savings, and angry outbursts began to erupt. The sixth man yelled: "I got only $1 out of the $20 in cost reduction, and he got $7," pointing at the last man. The fifth man joined in: "Yeah! I only saved $1 too. It's unfair that he got seven times more than me." The seventh man cried, "Why should he get a reduction of $7 when I only got $2?"

The nine outraged men formed a mob surrounding the 10th man. The first four men followed the lead of the others: "Even though we weren't paying anything in the first place, we didn't get any of the $20 reduction in cost, so where is our fair share?"

The nine angry men then carried the 10th man up to the top of a hill and lynched him. Then they went to his banker and his broker and found his cookie jar and liquidated all of his assets and gave 55% of everything to the restaurant owner.

The next night, the nine remaining men met at the restaurant for dinner, as usual. The bill was $80.00, as usual. . . .



[The ratios are pretty accurate; 10% of the taxpayers pay 60% of the taxes; 30% pay 37%, and 60% collectively pay only 4%.]

/s/ S.T.
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