Shark Attack

It’s hard to keep up with the hard times and having a government push you around. There are many anomalies, corruption and extortion pressing the ordinary people to the sidelines. If ever you remove the percentage of the rich who pay taxes, or the already thinning middle class, what would be left for the poor people? If the country could keep corruption at a minimum level, lessen the bureaucracies, the assistant to the assistant of the senators for example or other government agencies, etc, maybe there will be more room for the government’s fund for the country. It is impossible to entirely eradicate corruption but it would help a lot to stop the money grabbers from devouring most of the country’s wealth. The government could also focus on the collection of fines for violations like smoking in public places, littering, jaywalking, etc. They could help the environment too by observing and implementing the rules of proper disposal of garbage and waste segregation. How do you trust the authorities when they are the ones violating the law? How do you respect the police officers when everyday the news is filled with the police tagged to crimes like drug pushing, extortion, theft of SUVs, etc. Every day, we encounter kids or teens surrounding vehicles, cleaning windows and asking for spare change. Sometimes, they even demand as if you owe them. Stories of theft and stealing are all around us and we are advised not to open our windows. That must be cruel to not spare a penny but if the scene every single day is like that, what should we do? Kids jump in the jeepneys begging for alms. In broad daylight, we see kids attacking open trucks and grabbing what they can and run away. We work hard for what we have, and growing up in our family has taught us to be frugal, to save and be industrious. Just like what dad says when they ask for the Jollibee food they see through the windows that we haven’t even eaten yet, or what my professor said about the househelps, that you give them everything and they don’t give much back, they use what you have at home but those are also from your hard-earned money. It’s a depressing sight to pass by the roads. People are living in the street, they used to be just in the shanties, now they are everywhere – homeless people bearing families. They look at us as if it is our responsibility to provide for them.

Then there’s the issue of taxes…If people pay the right taxes, they are still deemed suspicious whether they have reported the full amount that the government thinks it deserves. Then the authorities drop by to collect more than what is due. True, that there are tax evasions, but for the lawful citizens who are continually being abused by the authorities, what will become of them? I read an article that the BIR wants to hire more people to cater for the many taxpayers, and yes a request to for additional funds, that’s just paving the way for more bloated bureaucracy. Why not look on their own backyard first? The officials who live a luxurious life, own expensive vehicles, houses, clothing, bags, spend vacation with the whole entourage, all these at the expense of the people who are thriving for a living. In the end, no one would care for the individuals who work to compensate for their family’s expenses. One day, more and more people will move out of the country or be pushed to poverty or would hope to find a place where sharks won’t always be out there to get them. Peace out!
This beer story below was shared to me by email years back and I think it is a good and simple explanation about taxation.


Taxation explained to the masses.
Suppose that every evening, 10 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 10 men drank in the bar every evening and were quite happy with the arrangement, until one day,  the owner said,
“Since you are all such good customers, I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by £20”.

Drinks for the 10 men would 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 realised 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 a higher percentage the poorer he was, to follow the  principle of the tax system they had been using, and he proceeded to work out  the amounts he suggested that each should now pay.

Therefore, the fifth man, like the first four, now paid  nothing.
The sixth now paid £2 instead of £3 (33% saving).
The seventh now paid £5 instead of £7 (28%  saving).
The eighth now paid £9 instead of £12 (25%  saving).
The ninth now paid £14 instead of £18 (22%  saving).
The tenth now paid £49 instead of £59 (16%  saving).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the  first four continued to drink for free. But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.

“I only got a pound out of the £20 saving,” 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 pound  too.
It’s unfair – he got 10 times more benefit than me!”
“That’s true!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get £10 back,
when I got only £2? The wealthy always win!”
“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison, “we didn’t get
anything at all. This new tax 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 their 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, labour unions and government ministers, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes  will naturally 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.



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