by Neal Boortz

Every day at a few minutes past noon ten men walk into Daschle’s Diner on the outskirts of Washington D.C. These are men of habit, a habit which dictates that they will all order the exact same meals every day, and every day the final tab will come to the exact same total.  The ten meals are priced at  $10 each, so the tab was $100.  One hundred dollars each and every day.

Does every man pay the price of his $10 meal as he leaves?  Not at Daschle’s Diner.  No sir!  At Daschle’s Diner the motto is “From each according to their ability, to each according to their hunger.”  So, each man was charged for his meal according to his ability to pay!

So, every day the ten diners would finish their lunch and line up in exactly the same order as they pass the cashier and leave.  The first four men would walk right past the cashier without paying a thing.  A free meal!

The fifth man in line would hand over $1 as he left.  At least he was paying something.

Diner number six would hand over $3 to the cashier.  Number seven would pay $7.

Diner number eight paid $12.  That was more than the value of his meal, but he, like those who followed him in line, had been very lucky in life and was, therefore, he was in a position to pay for his meal and for a part of someone else’s.

Diner number nine paid $18.

Then comes diner number 10.  He is the wealthiest of the ten diners.  He’s taken some real chances and has worked well into the night when the other diners were home drinking beer, and it has paid off.  When number 10 gets to the cashier he pays the balance of the bill.  He forks over $59.

One day an amazing thing happens.  It seems that Daschle has a partner in Daschle’s Diner.  The partner runs an upscale restaurant,  Lott's Luncheonette, located in a wealthier section of D.C.  Times have been good and the partnership has been raking in record profits, so the partner, who controls 51% of the partnership, orders a 20% reduction in the price of meals.

The next day the ten diners arrive on schedule.  They sit down and eat their same meals.  This time, though, the 20% price cut has gone into effect and the bill comes to $80.  Eight bucks per diner.

The diners line up at the cashier in the same order as before.  For the first four diners, no change.  They march out without paying a cent.  Free meal.

Diner number five and six lay claim to their portion of the $20 price cut right away. Five used to pay $1.  Today, though, he walks out with the first four and pays nothing. That’s one more diner on the “freeloader’s” list.

Diner number six cuts his share of the tab from $3 to $2.  Life is good.

Diner number seven?  His tab before the price cut was $7.  He now gets by with just $5.

Diner number eight lowers his payment from $12 to $9.  He moves ever-so-slightly into the freeloading category.

Next is diner number nine.  He’s still paying more than his share, but that’s OK, he’s been successful ("lucky") and can afford it.  He pays $12.

Now --- here comes diner number ten.  He, too, wants his share of the $20 price cut, so his share of the tab goes from $59 to $52.  He saves $7.00 per day!

Outside the restaurant there is unrest.  The first nine diners have convened on the street corner to discuss the events of the day.  Diner six spots diner ten with $7 in his hand.  “Not fair!” he screams. “I only got one dollar.  He’s got seven!”

Diner five, who now eats for free, is similarly outraged.  “I only got one dollar too!  This is wrong!”   Diner seven joins the rumblings; “Hey!  I only get two bucks back!  Why should he get seven?”

The unrest spreads.  Now the first four men – men who have been getting a free ride all along – join in.  They demand to know why they didn’t share in the savings from the $20 price cut!  Sure, they haven’t been paying for their meals anyway, but they do have other bills to pay and they felt that a share of the $20 savings should have gone to them.

Now we have a mob.  The laws of Democracy – mob rule – take over and they  turn on the tenth diner.  They grab him, tie him up, then take him to the top of a hill and threaten to lynch him.  Proprietor Daschle watches the goings-on, smiles, and offers to spare the tenth diner's life in return for the seven dollars, which he re-distributes among the first nine.

The next day nine men show up at Daschle’s Diner for their noon meal.  Daschle frowns, as he doesn't know how to charge for it.

Apparently diner ten has fled the country.



Today the top 1% of American income-earners pay more than one-third of all individual income taxes, (WAY over -- more than 37% -- even though they earn only 17 percent of all individuals' income), and the top 5% pay over half.  In the past, their savings and other investments have been used for creating over 90% of all new jobs -- when their taxes were low and they weren't punished so much for moving their money from less productive projects to more productive ones.


"TANSTAAFL", or "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch."
comes from THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS by Robert A. Heinlein
See  #15 in the "readers' list" HERE


Also see: "The Graduated Gadinkus Tax" at  ,
-- copied from  which was *revised from