While CNBC's Ali Montag's weekend article warns readers about Venmo Socialism as it pertains to rising brunch cost, the impact of the economics lesson extends beyond the table.
Water consumption, corporate tax code, taxpayer funded private stadiums, and large itemized personal income tax deductions are a few pertinent examples where costs and benefits are not divided equally. Even worse, they create a perverse incentive to increase consumption to further maximize the benefit for the recipient at the expense of the larger group.
However, splitting the bill is not inherently flawed. Paying back a friend for buying concert tickets next to each other, roommates pooling their money to buy a larger TV, a town using tax dollars to build a park are examples where pooling resources allows the group to increase their benefits without increasing their individual costs. Just like at brunch, it gets harder to evenly distribute the benefits as the size of group grows.
I hope the next time you come across a special interest asking for special consideration through the tax code, it raises the same ire as paying "your share" of your brunch-mate's two extra mimosas.