I suppose many have seen this. For those who have not...
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 lineup 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
The fifth man in line would hand over $1 as he left. At least he was
Diner number six would hand over $3 to the cashier. Number seven would
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 with their families, 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, Trentt's
Trattoria, 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.
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
Diner number six cuts his share of the tab from $3 to $2. Life is
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
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 even 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 lynch him.
At the bottom of the hill proprietor Daschle watches the goings-on,
The next day nine men show up at Dashle's Diner for their noon meal.
When the meal is over they're $52 short.
You may be right. As with many places around the US, I live near a few
industrial parks. I've always noticed the number of Cadillacs and
Lincolns that are parked right near the front door well after business
Years ago I had a lucky boss like that. Was a millionaire many times
over. Very often he'd be in his office making phone calls, doing
paperwork or whatever long after everyone else went home. Matter of
fact, the guy had a cot in a small room just off his office and had
been known to spend the night there from time to time.
I'm with you... I say he was damn lucky to have worked so hard to
build his business and his fortune.
I think he was indeed lucky to be able to have his hard work be so
fruitful. There are plenty small business owners that work very hard
and it has paid off. But they don't work harder than the people they
employ. They wouldn't stand for it.
"Then said I, Wisdom [is] better than strength: nevertheless the poor
His labor being fruitful had little to do with luck.
Who has a better chance of making a fortune... a hard working hourly
punch press operator or a hard working real estate developer? Seems to
me "luck" has very little to do with it. There are other factors that
have MUCH more influence over whether someone makes their fortune in
Absolutely. The opportunity is there for anyone with the guts and
perseverance to do it.
I'd say that's complete nonsense, but I suppose that depends on your
definition of "work".
You lost me here. Who exactly wouldn't stand for what exactly?
When I hear folks complain about the "rich" not being taxed enough, I think of
the folks making $20k a year and paying 25% and of Bill Gates..if he only paid
1%, he's pay more in one year than most folks pay in a lifetime..
bottom line: how many good jobs have you had where the owner was poor?
Please remove splinters before emailing
In actuality, someone with a *taxable income* of $20k will pay on the
order of less than 12%. The person with a taxable income of $20k will
actually be making quite a bit more because the tax quoted is for income
after the standard deduction and before any tax credits are applied.
If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough
Before we move on - have you ever actually *run* a company or at least
been in charge of a significant staff of people? Or are you just peddling
more class-envy? Class envy is beneath the dignity of any civilized
You statement is baldly false in most cases. There a people who
are wealthy that have not earned it, of course - say those who get it
via inheritence - but they are the minority. The vast majority of wealth
is earned by owning/running businesses. And you are seriously kidding
yourself if you think the middle class works the hardest. "Harder", I
believe, is probably most easily measured by number of working hours
expended. (I have had jobs that involved physical labor and jobs that
were essentially mental, and the mentally-centric jobs are just as hard
to do, and perhaps more difficult. So, I don't buy the argument that
physical labor necessarily makes you a "harder worker", though every
union rep tries to sell that nonsense at contract time.) By that
measure, poor people work even harder than the middle class for far less. And
the working rich
- corporate execs, business owners, etc. - work far harder than
either of them, almost without exception by this measure. I am not saying
the wealthy deserve any special commendation for their hard work - they
are handsomly rewarded for it. But the classist argument you put forth
above is just nonsense (in *most*, but not all cases).
Luck/good fortune/timing and so on plays some role in success, but it
is not the major determinant. Luck is most usually trotted out as
the basis for success by people who are not all that successful and need
to rationalize their own mediocrity or failure. I know plenty of people -
myself among them - who grew up in very meager circumstances, had no
particular connections, didn't go to the "right" schools, and still
managed to become comfortably successful. Some of these people I know
are flat out wealthy, and some are fabulously rich. So, no, I don't buy
the "luck" argument at all.
Tim Daneliuk email@example.com
PGP Key: http://www.tundraware.com/PGP /
I have a friend... good guy... but he has this negativity about him.
When you talk to him it becomes clear that he sees the world in terms
of "us" and "them". "Us", is all the "regular people"... good, decent,
hardworking and honest.
"Them" is anyone that achieved any kind of success in the world
(monetary or otherwise). "Them" are the business owners and the
bosses, the leaders and the politicians and the successful
"Them" are bad people... bad, dishonest, generally lazy, not very nice
and by simple luck of the draw are in a position to exploit the system
and exploit "us".... and they are not bashful about doing so. Even if
someone begins life as one of "us", once any success is achieved, it
becomes obvious how they achieved it... we all know how "they" achieve
If one of "them" screws up and loses his fortune, unless he has done
something extremely distasteful, he joins (or rejoins) the ranks of
"us"... and of course, the reason for his troubles is... you guessed
OK, name all the US corporations found guilty (or likely to be guilty)
of serious fraud in the past 5 years. (As opposed to those who've
had no legal problems or the problems were minor/regulatory "traffic
tickets".) Here, I'll start the list for you:
There are probably a few others I'm forgetting at the moment.
Now, list all the companies that have had *no* legal infractions.
I won't even try to start that list because the number is likely in
the 10s of thousands.
Elevating Lay or Skilling as examples of ordinary corporate behavior is
assinine. I have worked with literally dozens of corporate leaders in my
career. Some were better at their jobs than others. Some were better
human beings than others. And, yes, some were more honest than others.
But I never noticed the distribution of ability, character, and honesty
being particularly different than other professions. I've certainly seen
plenty of dishonesty from blue-collar tradesmen, especially unionized
workers, but I don't therefore presume they mostly/all are dishonest.
Your comments, however brief, are yet another example of class envy
which, like all forms of bigotry, I condemn out of hand.
Tim Daneliuk firstname.lastname@example.org
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