Who's Getting More?

Jul 27, 2009

RAY: As you might guess, Tom and I have a signed contract with National Public Radio. Thank God it's signed, or we'd be out on our sorry butts.

And, as you might expect, we each get paid the same amount of money every week. But there are provisions in the contract that allow NPR to either reward us or punish us financially.

Last year, Tommy got a raise of 10 percent. I think they cited two things that primarily were responsible for that: perfect attendance and improved grooming. And I got a pay cut of 10 percent. The reason they gave was "poor puzzler performance."

This year, however, they raised my salary by 10 percent, and they had the good sense to reduce Tommy's by 10 percent.

The question is, who's making more money now, and why?
RAY: Here's the answer. Let's say that Tommy starts off at a 100 bucks a week. If he gets a 10 percent raise he'll be making 11/10ths of what he makes now, which is $110 a week.

TOM: That was last year.

RAY: Right. When he gets his pay cut of 10 percent he'll be making 9/10ths of what he's making this year which is 9/10ths of 110 bucks, which is 99 bucks a week.

I start off at the same 100 bucks and I get cut by 10 percent, so what did I make, last year?

TOM: Ninety bucks last year.

RAY: Right. And then I get a raise of 10 percent.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: So I'm making 11/10ths of 90 bucks, which is, are you ready for this?

TOM AND RAY: 99 bucks!

TOM: So we ended up a buck short of what we had started with two years ago. And NPR saves two bucks a week. They're probably telling us, "Hey guys, you're right back where you were!"

RAY: Better read the fine print.

Get the Car Talk Newsletter