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Monday 19 February 2018
Letters to the Editor

Budget mathematics and illogic

THE EDITOR: Every time a budget is read, it gives people an excuse to play foolish with mathematics and logic. Here are three examples from last week’s presentation.

The man on TV, protesting the increase in diesel from $2.30 to $3.41, complained that an immediate result was that the maxi driver charged him $600 instead of the previous $500 for a trip to Port of Spain.

I’m not sure where he came from so we’ll have to make an assumption.

The distance from San Fernando to Port of Spain is about 50 km so we’ll add another ten, making the journey 60 km, one-way. The driver charged $100 more for a trip of 120 km.

For a typical 12-seater maxi using diesel, the fuel consumption can vary from about nine km/litre to 12 km/litre.

For our purposes, we will use the easy figure of 10 km/litre.

For 120 km, the maxi would use 12 litres of diesel. With an increase of $1.11 per litre, the increased cost to the driver would have been $13.32.

dollars would have more than covered his increased fuel cost.

The man’s outrage should have been directed at the driver who was seizing the opportunity to “dig out his eye.”

A letter writer in the newspapers complained about “too much tax.”

He said we pay 25 per cent tax on income and 12.5 per cent VAT whenever we buy anything, making a total of 37.5 per cent.

On $100, we take home $75 after tax. With $75, we can buy goods worth $66.67 (since 66.67 + 12.5 per cent VAT = 75).

So we pay $8.33 in VAT.

The total tax we pay on our $100 is 25 + 8.33 = 33.33, not 37.5.

But such details are not important when we have a point to make.

Finally, some “logic” from a senior government minister. In trying to defend the increase in the price of diesel to some protesters, he asked, “How much do you pay for a litre of water?” He said it was about $5.50, as if to imply they should not complain about paying $3.41 for a litre of diesel.

time I heard that water was an alternative source of fuel for our vehicles.

To really make his point, though, he should have said a litre of “cheap” whisky costs $300, why object to $3.41 for diesel?

If only we know where to look, the budget could be the source of much fun, amidst the pain.



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Letters to the Editor