Monday, April 19, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010

Free Beer

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.

David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics
University of Georgia

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Startling new astronomical discoveries are expected

Now about half way through its all sky survey is the WISE infrared telescope. It has already discovered near Earth asteroids that were otherwise difficult to discover because of their individual dark nature. Many more asteroid discoveries are expected when the project is complete.

Even more interesting are possible unknown planets, stars, or even black holes in the vicinity of our solar system. The planets might include some much closer than the nearest star, the Alpha Centauri triple system only 4.3 light years away, but well beyond Sedna and other recent discoveries of the Outer solar system. It has long been expected that a massive planet might be out there that is the cause of disturbing comet orbits. Long term 25 million year periods between catastrophes have been noted from the Earth's geological record of meteor hits, and that surmised, so far undiscovered, planet in a similar period orbit might be the cause. Its discovery would be a breakthrough. Some have called it "Nemesis" (if it exists).

Equally interesting, there could be a so called "brown dwarf" star out there doing the same thing. A brown dwarf was recently discovered only 10 light years distant.

We should start hearing news of all this from the WISE observations in less than a year or so.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Michael Jackson and Dr. Murray

The long time readers of this blog will recall my previous post concerning the possibility that the desperately addicted Michael Jackson might have supplemented Dr. Murray's propofonol with an additional injection by himself (Jackson).

I wrote to the Texas legal team concerning this possibility. I don't know whether they paid attention or not to specifically me, but now there is a news report that Dr. Murray's legal team is considering using exactly the defense I proposed.