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Posts tagged ‘Wall Street Journal’

Goldilocks, the Three Bears, and the Honey Tax

When Goldilocks jumped out of the cottage window and came running out of the woods in 2001, she was resolved to never again visit the Three Bears. However, during her inspection of their cottage, she had noticed a lot of paperwork scattered around that seemed to be focused on trying to avoid the “honey tax” that was going to be imposed on the honey that Mama Bear and Papa Bear had accumulated during their lives. The effect of that tax would be that Baby Bear would have to give half of his parents’ honey to the government when they passed away.

Goldilocks thought to herself, “It’s just not fair,” and she resolved to fix the situation. Goldilocks sat down, with the lessons from her visit to the Bear’s cottage still firmly in mind. She didn’t want the tax to be too big or too small; it needed to be “just right.” She decided to approach this cautiously and to lower the tax on a gradual basis, over a period of nearly 10 years, so that she could see how her plan was working. Since she didn’t know what was going to be “just right,” she decided to first make it go away completely in 2010, and then to bring it back completely in 2011, returning the tax to 2001 levels.

Meanwhile, back in the woods, the Three Bears were initially shocked to see the picture of the yellow-haired girl who had visited them in their Wall Street Journal and in The Steamboat Local on the business pages. They were pleasantly surprised to find that she had established new rules that would let them pass more honey from their estate along to Baby Bear. And, they remembered that Goldilocks always would have to see what was “too hot” or “too cold” — or “too big” or “too small” — before she could get to what was “just right.” So, the Bears waited patiently to see what Goldilocks would do next.

Goldilocks did nothing more about the honey tax. The Bears waited and they waited. They knew that Goldilocks would never let the honey tax completely expire; the government simply needed too much honey. They remembered that when Goldilocks tried a chair that was too small, it broke. They could not imagine that she would let the honey tax get too small or too big, and they planned accordingly.

Much to the Bears’ surprise, the honey tax expired at the end of 2009. The Bears were thrilled. This meant that they could pass all of their honey along to Baby Bear. But wait — that meant that they had to die during 2010 because in 2011, the government would go back to taking half of their honey. They weren’t ready to die, so it was time to take action.

The Bears decided to pay Goldilocks a visit. They found her house at the edge of the woods and saw a large tent in the yard that was filled with chairs and tables and with cups and saucers at every place. It looked like Goldilocks was going to have a tea party. At the center of each of the round tables was a pot of honey — undoubtedly from the honey tax, paid by other bears. For nearly 10 years, Goldilocks had done nothing to make the honey tax cuts permanent and the large tax was going to return. The Bears were very angry at this. When Goldilocks came out to inspect all of the party arrangements, the Bears jumped out of the woods and ate her.

Author’s note: If you think that this story has no foundation in reality, think of Goldilocks as the U. S. Congress, of the Three Bears as a family of taxpayers, and of the honey tax as the estate tax.

Originally published in The Steamboat Local

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