For first-time readers, this blog is set in the future (sometime after 2020).  This entry assumes the Revenge Revolution has occurred.  For more information about the anticipated 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution — and more background about the author, Entry #1.  One another note: almost all characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments. 

Scene: Jordan and Greenie, a friend who went to the same grammar school, having coffee. Greenie asked Jordan to explain the tax burden on individuals…in simple terms. Jordan just asked Greenie to guess at the total tax burden as percent of income by quintile. Conversation starts #151.

Greenie: “OK, so how’d I do? Was I close?”

Jordan: “Very good. Here’s a chart I pulled up while you were guessing.”

(http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/09/19/heres-why-the-47-percent-argument-is-an-abuse-of-tax-data)

010414_1635_16TeachingS2.jpgGreenie: “Could you please explain this chart to me?

Jordan: “Why don’t you explain it to me?”

Greenie: “OK, the left bar is labeled 0-20, which I take means the 20% of people with the lowest income – the first quintile.”

Jordan: “Correct.”

Greenie: “That group – the 0-20% group – pays about 17.5% of their total income in some form of tax. We don’t know if its income tax, or sales tax…or whatever the tax…just that about 17.5% goes for taxes.”

Jordan: “What’s next?”

Greenie: “The tax burden for the next three groups, or quintiles – 20-40%, 40-60%, 60-80%, increases gradually to what about 27-28% for the 60-80% group.”

TurtleneckJordan: “What about the highest income group?”

Greenie: “Seems to hover around 30%. And look, for the top 1%, it starts to fall off. Did I read the chart correctly?”

Jordan: “Like a pro.”

Greenie: “My guesses were pretty close. OK, so maybe I got lucky. But all I did was think about it logically. I know income taxes are progressive but almost all other taxes are flat or regressive, so the tax burden is more even than a lot of people think.”

Jordan: “Because most people only talk about income taxes and not total taxes. Besides, you used a phrase that seems to be overlooked in DC – ‘think about it logically.'”

Greenie: “There’s still no logical thinking…even after the Revenge Revolution?”

Jordan: “You tell me. Republicans are still promoting a flat tax. A flat tax would make the share of taxes go down by income quintile. Do Republicans think voters don’t understand what a flat tax does?

Screwed-GuyGreenie: “I’d be a little more diplomatic. I’d ask how long before lower and middle-income voters realize how Republicans are trying to screw them…again.”

Jordan: “You call that statement more diplomatic? Anyway, some Republicans have forgotten…or hope voters have forgotten…what proposals pushed ordinary people over the edge and started the Revenge Revolution.”

Greenie: “You spend a lot of time inside the beltway. Do you have any insight into how Republicans think? That’s assuming they really think.”

Jordan: “Be nice.”

Greenie: “Alright…but just for a little while.”

Jordan: “A few days ago I was invited to play golf with the former Speaker of the House and the former Senate Majority Leader.”

Greenie: “Fun day, huh? Who did you offend? Sorry.”

Jordan: “It was an interesting day. We had some frank discussions about the Republican Party and why they lost their base during the Revenge Revolution.”

Greenie: “Did they listen?  I suppose they want to get their old jobs back.”

Jordan: “Yes, I think so.”

Greenie: “Can you tell me anything else?”

Jordan: “Not really. Promised I would keep the conversation very quiet.  I can tell you to give these guys some time to get their act together and then start to turn around the Republican Party.”

Greenie: “You mean Republicans might become rational again…and not so far off in the math_rational_numbersweeds?”

Jordan: “No guarantee, but they just might.”

Greenie: “There is hope after all.”

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