The Mall Arkey Weekly Column

2/23/2002
Tax Cuts for the "Rich."
I was having lunch at PJ’s with one of my favourite clients last week and the conversation turned to the Campbell government’s recent round of tax cuts. “I’m opposed to those tax cuts,” the retired college instructor declared, “because they benefit the rich. The rich get much more money back than ordinary taxpayers like you and I and that’s not fair.”

“But the rich pay more in the first place,” I argued, “so it stands to reason that they’d get more money back.” I could tell that my friend was unimpressed by this meager argument. Even college instructors are a prisoner of the myth that the “rich” somehow get a free ride in Canada. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Let’s put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand. Suppose that every day 10 men go to PJ’s for dinner. The bill for all ten comes to $100. If it was paid the way we pay our taxes, the first four men would pay nothing; the fifth would pay $1; the sixth would pay $3; the seventh $7; the eighth $12, the ninth $18. The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

The ten men ate dinner in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement until 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 $20. Now dinner for the ten costs only $80.

The first four are unaffected. They still eat for free. Can you figure out how to divvy up the $20 savings among the remaining six so that everyone gets their fair share? The men realize that $20 divided by 6 is $3.33, but if they subtract that from everybody’s share, the fifth man and the sixth man would end up being paid to eat their meal. The restaurant owner suggested that it would be more 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 paid nothing; the sixth pitched in $2, the seventh paid $5, the eighth paid $9, the ninth paid $12, leaving the tenth man with a bill of $52 instead of $59. Outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

“I only got a dollar out of the $20,” declared the sixth man pointing to the tenth. “and he got $7!”

“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 $7 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 he 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 $52 short.

And that, boys and girls and college instructors, is how Canada’s 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 at the table any more. There’s lots of good restaurants in Switzerland and the Caribbean.

Attribution: I got the idea for this allegory and from an article in The Taxpayer reprinting an article in the Chicago Tribune. It has been rewritten Mall Arkey style.

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5/21/2004 Water Conservation Nonsense
5/7/2004 The World According to Mall Arkey, Part 2
4/30/2004 The World According to Mall Arkey (Part 1)
4/17/2004 Svend Robinson and the left-wing bias of the CBC
4/16/2004 Svend Robinson and the left-wing bias of the CBC
4/16/2004 Fifteen years of Mall Arkey
4/9/2004 Where are those pesky WMDs?
4/2/2004 The US as "global aggressor."
3/26/2004 The fixed pie illusion
3/16/2004 A terrorist victory in Madrid
3/4/2004 A solemn duty to censor
2/27/2004 Zimbabwe II
2/20/2004 Get your government contract!
2/13/2004 Zimbabwe
2/9/2004 Don't smoke'em if you got'em
1/30/2004 A Pleasant RRSP Surprise
1/23/2004 What I learned on my winter vacation
1/16/2004 Mexican Christmas Continued
1/9/2004 Christmas in Mexico
1/2/2004 New Year' Parties
12/26/2003 My Type of Vacation
12/19/2003 Mall Arkey's Christmas Contest
12/12/2003 The true meaning of Christmas
12/5/2003 What to buy Mall Arkey for Christmas
11/28/2003 A new face at Mall Arkey
11/14/2003 Do we pay politicians enough?
11/7/2003 Balderdash, twaddle, hooey, and hogwash
10/31/2003 Privatizing Government Services
10/20/2003 A Culinary Moonwalk
10/17/2003 Canada's Gun Registry
10/10/2003 CSBs and Index-linked GICs
10/3/2003 Softwood lumber and other stuff
9/19/2003 A Dubious Offer
9/12/2003 Firefighting 101
9/5/2003 Forest Fires? Blame the Environmentalists
8/29/2003 Trashing environmentalism: Will Mall Arkey recant?
8/22/2003 It's a wonder we survived!
8/15/2003 Amusing the Grandkids
8/8/2003 Uday's mistake
7/31/2003 Decommissioned Roads
7/25/2003 What to do with the grandkids.
7/17/2003 The Maritimes
7/9/2003 Tourist Season
6/27/2003 George Bush: The Wrong Impression
6/20/2003 Weapons of Mass Exaggeration
6/13/2003 Cheap Eats
6/6/2003 Class of 2003 Valedictory Address
5/30/2003 Parking Meters and New Town Halls
5/23/2003 Money Talks
5/16/2003 Interest Rates: Up or Down?
5/8/2003 Saddam's Little Secrets
5/1/2003 George W. Bush: One of America's Greatest Presidents?
4/25/2003 Do you "waste" water sprinkling your lawn?
4/14/2003 The War in Iraq: Mall Arkey Gets It Right (As Usual)
4/11/2003 Low-Flush Toilets: Why Bother!
4/4/2003 Government Spending: Believe it ofr Not
3/30/2003 Purchasing Property in Mexico
3/25/2003 Oh no, not the cat again!
3/22/2003 "Government" money
3/18/2003 Invading Iraq
3/13/2003 The Cat: Another Mystery
3/7/2003 Recycling? Don't Bother
2/28/2003 Taxpayers' Disgust
2/21/2003 Sa-dumb Hussein
2/14/2003 Mall Arkey Fortune Cookies
1/31/2003 Mall Arkey Day
1/24/2003 Ten More Reasons
1/18/2003 The Cat
1/11/2003 Evelyn's Cat
1/8/2003 Top Ten
12/20/2002 Christmas Wish List
12/17/2002 Missing Dog
12/7/2002 Health Care Saved!
12/1/2002 Mexican campsite
11/29/2002 I Don't Think So!
11/22/2002 Ten Commandments for Good Municipal Government
11/15/2002 Do you really need a low-flush toilet?
11/8/2002 Mall Arkey's Perfect Council
11/1/2002 Elect Your Favourite Fruit
10/25/2002 The Sniper
10/18/2002 A Good Week
10/11/2002 Oh oh! Ron is alone in the office
9/27/2002 Head for the investment exits?
9/20/2002 Answers to the Vacation Quiz
9/14/2002 Wanted Words
9/7/2002 Vacation Quiz
8/31/2002 Sampson's Bowl
8/23/2002 Environmental Myths
8/16/2002 Government Grow Ops
8/10/2002 Mississippi of the North
8/2/2002 The Sicamous Mordida
7/26/2002 Health Care Competition
7/19/2002 Another Ultravan Adventure-2
7/12/2002 Another Ultravan Adventure-1
7/5/2002 Interest Rates
6/21/2002 The Freeloader General
6/7/2002 Mall Arkey's 2002 Valedictory Address
5/31/2002 A Zero Tax Increase
5/31/2002 Canada's Federal Election
5/24/2002 Suffering
5/17/2002 Myth Making in British Columbia
5/10/2002 "Tax Cuts" Follow-Up
5/7/2002 Boring Interest Rates
5/3/2002 You'll get a charge out of this!
4/26/2002 Do you need to "conserve" water?
4/19/2002 Can Mall Arkey Give Us More Answers?
4/12/2002 A Mall Arkey Education System
4/6/2002 They Don't Get It!
3/30/2002 Native Land Claims
3/25/2002 "Government" Money
3/15/2002 Fifteen Minutes of Fame
3/9/2002 The Campbell Family-2
3/2/2002 The Campbell Family
2/23/2002 Tax Cuts for the "Rich."
2/12/2002 This BC Bud's For You!
2/2/2002 Christmas Leftovers
1/25/2002 Motorcycle Bob
1/19/2002 Mall Arkey's New Motorhome
1/5/2002 La Policia
12/22/2001 Your Christmas Contest
12/15/2001 Sniveling and Bootlicking
12/8/2001 Biotechnology Please!
12/1/2001 The Media Spin on Cloning
11/24/2001 The Other Side
11/17/2001 Terrierists
11/10/2001 Osama Bin Cinder
11/3/2001 Goin' to Winnipeg!
10/27/2001 Mall Arkey Health Care
10/20/2001 Let's Pretend
10/12/2001 Health Careless
10/5/2001 Air Canada Rescue Plan
10/5/2001 Save Air Canada
9/29/2001 A Surprise Response
9/18/2001 Terrorists
9/8/2001 The Prestige Inn
9/1/2001 Going to Montana
8/18/2001 The Clawback
8/4/2001 The Good Guys Sometimes Win
7/14/2001 A Brick in Your Toilet Tank?
7/7/2001 A Good Wife Knows Her Place
6/30/2001 Clairvoyance!
6/23/2001 New Town Races
6/17/2001 Investment Terminology
6/14/2001 Frankenstein Foods
6/2/2001 Washing Your Cat
5/26/2001 Cross Dressing
5/19/2001 Surveys
5/8/2001 Valedictory Address
4/14/2001 Common Sense: An Obituary
4/7/2001 Cloning
3/23/2001 It's Not All Bad News.
3/17/2001 Water Shortage!
3/10/2001 Where Does Your Retirement Money Come From?
3/3/2001 How Much Do You Need to Retire?
2/24/2001 A Legal Tax Dodge
2/17/2001 Baja Comida
2/10/2001 Mall Arkey Confronts Micky Mouse
2/3/2001 The Thief - Part 2
1/26/2001 The Thief
1/6/2001 Recycling for Real
12/30/2000 Recycle, recycle!
12/23/2000 Global Warming, Please!
12/16/2000 Believe it or Not?
12/8/2000 Two-Tiered Health Care
11/18/2000 Believe It or Not
11/11/2000 Big Money
11/4/2000 What a Woman Really Means
10/28/2000 Your Choice of Political Values
10/21/2000 The Ultra Van's First Trip
10/14/2000 The ALR
10/7/2000 Contrails
9/30/2000 Another Mayes Conflict of Interest!
9/23/2000 Mall Arkey's Income Tax System
9/16/2000 Hot Water
9/5/2000 Wagon Trains
8/26/2000 CPP Part 2
8/19/2000 The MRI
8/12/2000 God's "Adjustments."
8/5/2000 Men's Quiz Winners
7/29/2000 A Quiz for Women Only
7/22/2000 CPP
7/15/2000 Cheap Hotels
7/8/2000 Official Community Plan Review
7/1/2000 Ultra Van #6
6/24/2000 Ultra Van #5
6/17/2000 Ultra Van #4
6/10/2000 Ultra Van #3
6/3/2000 Ultra Van #2
5/6/2000 Ultra Van #1
8/1/516 Classified Revelations

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