Cost of government takes longer to payThe shrinking number of us lucky enough to be earning paychecks finally started working for ourselves this month — August 19, to be precise. Until then we were working for local, state and federal governments.
By: By Steve Stanek, Superior Telegram
The shrinking number of us lucky enough to be earning paychecks finally started working for ourselves this month — August 19, to be precise. Until then we were working for local, state and federal governments.
That sad fact comes courtesy of the Americans for Tax Reform Foundation, a Washington D.C.-based tax watchdog organization and its Center for Fiscal Accountability. They just came out with their annual “Cost of Government Day” report, which calculates the day on which the average American has paid off his or her share of the costs of government spending and regulations.
This year that date falls on August 19, a full eight days later than last year’s date — the latest Cost of Government Day ever recorded.
“The fact that Cost of Government Day falls in the later part of August is alarming enough.” said ATRF’s president, Grover Norquist. “It is even more harrowing that the 2010 Cost of Government Day constitutes a 34-day jump from just two short years ago, when it fell on July 16. This illustrates the ballooning growth of government, and should be of serious concern to taxpayers who are footing the ever-expanding bill.”
Americans for Tax Reform is not the only organization calculating how much of our lives are spent working to cover the costs of government.
The Tax Foundation, a private, nonpartisan tax education and research organization in Washington, DC, issues an annual Tax Freedom Day report, which calculates how long Americans must work to earn enough money to pay local, state, and federal tax obligations. This year we had to work until April 9, one day later than in 2009, but more than two weeks earlier than in 2007.
“The shift toward a lower tax burden since 2007,” the Tax Foundation writes, “has been driven by three factors: (1) The recession has reduced tax collections even faster than it has reduced income; (2) President Obama and the Congress have enacted large but temporary income tax cuts for 2009 and 2010, just as President Bush did in 2008; and (3) two significant taxes were repealed for 2010 as part of previous legislation, the estate tax and the so-called PEP and Pease provisions of the income tax.”
The report adds, “Despite all these tax reductions, Americans will pay more taxes in 2010 than they will spend on food, clothing and shelter combined.”
The burden is likely to climb as state and local governments impose tax and fee hikes to cover budget deficits, Bush-era tax cuts expire at the end of this year, and the health care reform tax increases kick in.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute, also in Washington D.C. looks at regulatory costs in its annual 10,000 Commandments report. This year’s report, issued in April, noted regulations cost more than $1.2 trillion in 2009 — far more than the $900 billion Americans paid in federal income taxes. The report noted federal regulations grow each year and now cover an astonishing 157,000 pages. State and local governments pile on additional regulations.
Cost of Government Day combines the total costs of government spending and regulations and arrived at Aug. 19 as the date when we who live in the land of the free become free of government. By this measure, medieval serfs had more freedom than we.
Steve Stanek (email@example.com) is a research fellow at The Heartland Institute in Chicago.