This is funny, and sad, in it's attempt to portray any real economic logic, but someone sent it to me yesterday, and so I'm putting it out there to show how naive so-called "conservatives" can be. I've since found out that this beer-drinking analogy (Why does every way of explaining things political and economic with this crop of conservatives always include beer?!) has been circulating around the internet. Not surprisingly, the college professor who is supposed to be the author, one David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D., Professor of Economics at the University of Georgia, says he never wrote it.

Anyway, here's the anecdote, and then my response:

"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."

Here's PL's response:

Here's the thing about the absurd guys-in-the-bar analogy, and you have to be drinking a lot of beer to fall for that bit of 3-card Monty, huh? In real life capitalism, not the imaginary capitalism where everyone is good and moral, the rich guy would have bought the bar, watered down the beer, lowered the salaries of the bartender and waiters, or hired illegal Mexicans off the books, and raised the prices of the brewskies and never sat at that bar again. No, he'd be drinking Johnny Walker Gold at the Four Seasons, laughing his ass off at his old chumps. Wake up and smell the greed, boys and girls!

Here's a repost of a piece that I wrote a few weeks ago on my blog on the subject of "Trickle Down Economics":


A lot of people don't know this about me, but before I became a social worker and psychotherapist, I was a 4.00 (straight A) undergraduate student with a double major in Economics and Accounting. (How I came to be who I am today is a long story, but...) Although I now mostly work with the inner lives of people who are seeking self-actualization, my fascination with observing the macro-systems of our society has always remained. In fact, combining the two fields of study offers me a particular - and I like to think - interesting perspective.

Here's what I see, in the face of the historic collapse of Wall Street, the housing market and the mortgage industry now wrecking our economy as I write this - and this relates to why I've been posting my series, "HOW STUPID ARE WE?"

There are still a number of people out there, enough of them left in the United States to be enabling the disasters befalling our country at every level, who actually still believe in the theory of "trickle-down economics."

Just to clarify, the "trickle-down" economic theory states that increases in the wealth of the rich are good for the middle class and poor because some of such additional wealth will eventually trickle down to the middle class and to the poor. The theory states that if the top income earners make even more, they'll invest more into business, infrastructure and equity markets, which will in turn lead to more jobs for middle class and poor individuals as well as better goods and services at lower prices for the same middle and poor classes. Thus, according to this theory, regulation of the wealth of the wealthy is counterproductive because the enhancement of the lives of the benevolent wealthy will lead to the betterment of all.

Now, I know, on the face of it, most of my readers wouldn't believe that anyone could possibly be so naive or gullible enough to buy into such an obvious con, but let me tell you something, folks - there are many, many people out there who are still desperately seeking an idealized good parent, one who will happily share their wealth and power and look out for the "little ones" that so many of us unfortunately still want to be. These imaginary good parents, of course, don't have a greedy, narcissistic, psychopathic bone in their bodies, nor any nefarious intentions towards others whatsoever. They are, in other words, what are real parents were not.

You would think that believing such a thing is incredible in the face of the scandals and rip-offs perpetrated by so many of the wealthy and powerful in the last few decades, right? Ha! I can tell you, believers are everywhere, and the political arms of the nefarious and greedy (those who've co-opted and falsely named their psychopathic intentions a "conservative movement") have learned exactly how to fool them and win the "kids" over - with fear of The Other and the wrath of moral judgments that have their roots in our childhood sexual conflicts.

My own working-class father, now living in rural upstate New York, has voted for these characters over and over, in spite of the toll their policies have taken on him economically. But Ronald Reagan seemed like an amiable father, and George W. seems like a righteous guy you'd - UGH! - want to have a beer with. John McCain seems like the grumpy but brave grandfather we wished we'd had, and Sarah Palin, the clear-eyed, firm, baby-making machine we fantasized our mothers were. Yes, that makes people like my father feel secure... even as they're filling out their bankruptcy papers and paying taxes through the nose.

Give up on your parents, folks. Because holding onto the need for imaginary good parents means that you have to stay a child, which ultimately means you end up in a nursing home, broke and alone, but getting all of your needs totally taken care of by someone else.

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