10 Reporters Walk Into a Bar

Republicans on Capitol Hill are days away from introducing a massive tax overhaul bill, leaving the White House to do much of the job of selling the plan to the American people.

So what better way to explain the reasoning behind lower tax rates than a charming fictional anecdote about splitting a bar tab among friends?

Happy hour

Congressional Democrats have been highly critical of the tax plan so far, claiming it would slash taxes for top earners while doing little if anything to help the middle-class and poor.

“The Tax Policy Center estimates that the top 1 percent will enjoy 80 percent of the benefits from Trump’s plan—while a third of middle-class taxpayers will be paying more in taxes by 2027,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) last weekend.

But the way White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tells it, the poor and middle-class have nothing to complain about. And besides, the rich are paying for everyone else.

In a lengthy anecdote delivered to the White House press corps, Sanders said to imagine that every day, 10 reporters go out for beer and pay their bar tab the way that Americans pay their taxes.

The first four, the poorest, would pay nothing, while the fifth, sixth, and seventh would pay less than $10 each. The eighth and ninth would pay more, while the tenth reporter, the richest, would pay $59.

Everyone was happy, the story goes, until the bar owner reduced the total cost of their daily beer and suggested it would be fair to reduce each reporter’s share by a higher percentage the poorer he was.

“So each of the six was better off than before,” Sanders said. “And the first four continued to drink for free.”

But once outside the bar, the reporters began to compare their savings, concluding that the largest break went to the wealthiest reporter, Sanders said.

The nine reporters yelled at the 10th and made him feel bad, so the next night he didn’t show up for drinks, Sanders said. But at the end of the night, the nine reporters realized they no longer had enough money between them all to cover even half the bill, she said.

So, the moral of the story is that the people who already pay the highest taxes will naturally benefit from a tax reduction, Sanders said. But attack them, and they’ll take their drinking money overseas.