Vaak roepen politici en journalisten dat belasting verlaging alleen maar ten voordele van de rijken is. Maar is dat werkelijk zo?
Het navolgende verhaal vertelt precies waar het om gaat en wat een belastingverlaging echt betekent, ook voor de armen en de rijken.
Suppose that every day, ten men go out for dinner 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:
a. The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
b. The fifth would pay $1
c. The sixth would pay $3
d. The seventh would pay $7
e. The eighth would pay $12
f. The ninth would pay $18
g. The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59
So, that’s what they decided to do. The ten men ate
dinner in the restaurant 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 meal by $20.”
Dinner 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 eat 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 eat their meal.
So, the restaurant 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
a. The fifth man, like the first four, now paid
nothing (100% savings).
b. The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings).
c. The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28 savings).
d. The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings)
e. The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
f. 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 eat 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
“Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only
saved a dollar, too. It’s unfair that he got ten times
more than me!”
“That’s true!!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he
get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all
“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison.
“We didn’t get anything at all. The system exploits the
The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. The
next night the tenth man 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 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 eating overseas.
David R. Kamerschen, PhD
Professor of Economics
University of Georgia