Stimulus Plan

Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken fence at parliament. One is from Melbourne, another is from Sydney, and the third is from Brisbane.

All three go with a Parliament official to examine the fence. The Melbourne contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil. “Well,” he says, “I figure the job will run about $900. $400 for materials, $400 for my crew, and $100 profit for me.”

The Sydney contractor also does some measuring and figuring, then says, “I can do this job for $700. $300 for materials, $300 for my crew, and $100 profit for me.” The Brisbane contractor doesn’t measure or figure, but leans over to the Parliamentary official and whispers, “$2,700.”

The official, incredulous, says, “You didn’t even measure like the other guys! How did you come up with such a high figure?” The Brisbane contractor whispers back, “$1000 for me, $1000 for you, and we hire the guy from Sydney to fix the fence.” “Done!” replies the government official. And that is how the new stimulus plan will work.

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