Why did we bring two unknown values x and y? Wealth tax percentages with remaining taxes like Income tax etc. 2013  1.4% + income tax... 2014 . 1.8% + income tax... If the wealth tax collected in 2013 was 80% of that collected in 2014, the total wealth tax collected in 2013 was approximately what percentage more than that collected in 2014? Solution: Wealth tax = 2013 = (80/100) 2014 2013/2014 = 4/5 2013  wealth tax  1.4% 2014  wealth tax  1.8% (1.4x/1.8y) = (4/5) x/y = 4/5 x 9/7 = 36/35 Percentage more than = 1/35 x 100 = 2.85% Why did we bring two unknown values x and y? 
Suppose that today you give me 10%. Now suppose that tomorrow I give you 10%. Are we even? 
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Let the amount taxed (as distinct from the amount of tax) be x for 2013 and y for 2014 (separate letters for the separate years). The wealth tax collected is then 1.4% of x for 2013, and 1.8% of y for 2014. You are told that 1.4% of x was 80% of 1.8% of y, so 0.014x/(0.018y) = 80% = 4/5, which implies that x/y = 4/5 * 1.8/1.4 = 36/35. 
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Going back to my example ... you give me 10% today and I give you 10% tomorrow. Are we even? The answer is "it depends". If today you give me 10% of $100 and tomorrow I give you 10% of a half eaten banana, then I don't think you would consider that an even exchange. 
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