A Cup of Conversation – April 2017

Editor’s Note: After learning about a proposed restaurant meals tax, (which the City Council has since axed) Michael served-up his thoughts on the matter…just in case the topic comes up again.

Once upon a time there was a community of neighborly animals living deep in the northwest Woods, far removed from the more common plains of frenetic life. Every creature cherished their little Hamlet because most had lived on the plains at one time or another and knew firsthand the difference. What made the Hamlet so very special was a unique watering hole in the center of the community. The watering hole was fed by historic springs of refreshing water from deep in the earth. The watering hole brought life to the Hamlet making food plentiful and quality shelter abundant. Other distant communities were a bit envious and often visited the little Hamlet to treat themselves to the delicious waters, rich grasses and all the special amenities afforded by the cool springs of the watering hole.

Those fortunate enough to live in the Hamlet all contributed a little of what they had to insure the Hamlet was secure and safe. Most knew this responsibility fell upon them because, after all, they greatly enjoyed the benefits and privilege of living in the special place deep in the Woods.

From time to time, however, some would look at other ways to pay for protecting the precious watering hole and surrounding Hamlet. It never took long before the idea of making outsiders largely cover the cost of keeping the Hamlet safe and secure from forest fires and wandering wolves became a temptation. The truth was there were many visitors coming to enjoy the benefits of the Hamlet’s watering hole. They were more than willing to pay for services received so why not pay a little bit more to insure the safety and well-being of the animals living in the Hamlet? Considerate animals thought that quite clever but not fair nor just because visitors didn’t fully benefit from the extra amount they’d be paying. The right thing to do, said most, was for every neighbor in the Hamlet to pay a fair, small share to protect the privileges of living here, plain and simple.

This discussion went round and round until it came time to make a decision when all the animals of the Hamlet would gather to decide. Those wanting outsiders to lessen their burden argued it was not a lot to ask to insure the long-term safety and security of all in the Hamlet. Who knows, said they, we may even collect more than we need so as to spend on other important things? Some animals were embarrassed at the idea of requiring visitors to pay and some were quite offended by a burden thoughtlessly or selfishly placed on them alone to collect the tax from outsiders drinking and eating at the watering hole. These animals serving the visitors were few but a large reason why so many enjoyed the unique little Hamlet. Their labor and risk made the watering hole a very special place in all the Woods. The truth was these animals would be hurt if even a few visitors not willing to pay for another’s burden stopped coming to the Hamlet just out of principle, after all.

The times to gather and decide who must pay would come and go. Always, though, the wisdom and decency of those living in the special little Hamlet prevailed and others could see clearly and act rightly. Those fortunate enough to reside in the Hamlet should bear their own burdens; in fairness, equity and just consideration, with gratitude for the privilege of calling the little Hamlet home.