Taking Longer Each Year to Pay Tax Man
U.S. taxpayer toils 197 days, gives 53.9% of income to local, state, federal governments
By Mike Finch
The 31st annual Cost of Government Day was July 16. The purpose is to highlight the enormity of the tax burden federal, state and local governments impose on taxpayers. The Center for Fiscal Accountability and Americans for Tax Reform announced their findings in Washington.
The Cost of Government Day is announced every year on the day that a taxpayer with an average income would have paid his or her share of the federal, state, and local tax burden. This year the tax burden would be paid off four days later than last year, and 17 more days than in 2000.
“Working people must toil on average 197 days out of the year just to meet all costs imposed by the government. In other words, the cost of government consumes 53.9 percent of national income,” the Center for Fiscal Accountability (CFA) reported. “All components of the cost of government—federal spending, state and local spending, and regulation—are now increasing faster than national income.”
The report says the average taxpayer works 84 days for federal spending, 50 days for state and local spending, 42 days for federal regulations, and 21 days for state and local regulations.
“Federal spending as a percentage of national income will increase again in 2008 and is up 11.4 percent since 2000,” CFA said.
The group also focused attention on the federal budget deficit.
“The federal deficit is a completely uninteresting number which is the difference between two meaningful and important numbers—the total level of federal spending and the total level of federal taxes,” CFA said. “The Congressional Budget office now projects the deficit for 2008 to balloon to $357 billion.”
This year’s high deficit was made much worse by the $200 billion economic stimulus package, which the CFA said will have no positive prolonged impact on the economy.
The CFA called for a combination of tax cuts coupled with spending restraint to deal with the federal deficit, and for comprehensive tax reform, possibly in the form of a flat tax (though other options were mentioned).
State and local spending jumped in 2007, and yet again in 2008 according to the report, with states like New Jersey and New York increasing the tax burden by 16 and 17 billion respectively. Only six states reined in spending in 2008: Arizona, Louisiana, Wyoming, Florida, Idaho and Hawaii. All other states increased the tax burden, most by hundreds of millions of dollars.
Regulations and regulatory agencies are growing as well, costing Americans billions of dollars. The EPA alone added $6.7 billion in expenses this year, dwarfing even the Department for Homeland Security’s $1.4 billion increase.
The cost of regulation in America goes further than taxes though, reports the CFA. The economic cost of complying with regulations could be more than $1.5 trillion per year.
“These costs are threatening to explode due to costly and unnecessary global warming regulation,” CFA said. “This would lay close to a trillion [more] dollars a year in unnecessary costs on the American economy, just to start. The price of gasoline would increase further, and the cost of electricity would begin to soar as well. The cost of food, and especially meat, would rise due to higher costs for fertilizer, farm fuel, truck hauling for produce, and other factors.”
Mike Finch is a reporter/intern for American Free Press. He has a Master’s degree in journalism and is working on his Ph.D. in communication.
(Issue # 30, July 28, 2008)