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ABILITY-TO-PAY PRINCIPLE: A principle of taxation in which taxes are based on the income or resource-ownership ability of people to pay the tax. The income tax collected by our friends at the Internal Revenue Service is one of the most common taxes that seeks to abide by the ability-to-pay principle. In theory, the income tax system is set up such that people with greater incomes pay more taxes. Proportional and progressive taxes follow this ability-to-pay principle, while regressive taxes, such as sales taxes and Social Security taxes, don't.

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Fact 2: Our Subjective Values

Upon leaving Scarcity Stan's Bakery Shoppe and Confectionery Palace our pedestrian's excursion drops into Mega-Mart Discount Warehouse Super Center. A quick tour of this mecca of mass production -- lasting no more than three days -- is likely to reveal within the 20 gadzillion square feet of floor space a number of sales racks, shelves, and tables filled with merchandise marked down for clearance. A prominently displayed sign on one sales rack boldly declares that the regular $24.99 price has been drastically reduced, for this week only, to $3.98. What a bargain! What a sale! We have the chance -- "for a limited time only" -- to get stuff valued at $24.99 for only $3.98! With a bargain like this, how can we lose?

It's easy to lose, if you don't understand the concept of value. Most of us have several "bargains" stored away in the attic, closet, or garage that never have seen, and probably never will see, anything resembling use. What seemed like a great "bargain" at the store, does nothing but occupy space at home. (By the way, does anyone have use for a distributor cap for a 1949 Ford?)
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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time wandering around the shopping mall seeking to buy either car battery jumper cables or a dozen high trajectory optic orange golf balls. Be on the lookout for vindictive digital clocks with revenge on their minds.
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In the Middle Ages, pepper was used for bartering, and it was often more valuable and stable in value than gold.
"The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary. "

-- Vince Lombardi

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