Today we finally stopped paying for government. Soon we’ll be paying for it into December.
For once the American people appear to be undertaxed. Fiscal crisis is all around us. Yet Tax Freedom Day came on April 9 this year, about two weeks earlier than in 2007. Congress is spending us blind, bailing out virtually every person, business, government, and other entity known to man, yet our tax burden is down. Such a deal!
Of course, there’s a small catch. Uncle Sam is borrowing $1.5 trillion this year.
Which means the formal tax level understates the true burden of government. By a huge amount. Alas, Big Government is Big Government, whether financed by taxes or bonds.
And the situation is going to get worse, much worse, before it gets better.
Given present plans, Uncle Sam will run up another $10 trillion in red ink over the coming decade. But that’s just the start. If President Barack Obama’s health care takeover is not reversed, taxpayers will be liable for trillions more in new spending. The claim that the program is all paid for — indeed, that it will reduce the federal deficit — is the sort of fantasy that only a Democratic congressman could believe.
And additional bailouts are flooding our way. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continue to lose money. The FDIC is shutting down banks at a record rate. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s fund is under water.
Then there are Social Security and Medicare. The former is spending more than it is taking in right now. Over the long term these two programs alone are underfunded by $100 trillion, a fiscal tsunami which no amount of administration double-counting can disguise.
Nor is the problem only spending. Regulation also is up. Health care already was one of the most regulated industries. Obamaesque “reform” is going to make Americans pine for the “good ol’ days” when not every medical decision was subject to the dictates of some bureaucrat somewhere. Financial “reform” will have a similar effect. The only sure beneficiaries of the new legislation are the regulators who are empowered to do most anything to most anyone with a vague connection to financial services.
But, why worry? Our taxes are down.
Actually, the American people are worrying. Which is why Democrats also are worrying, but for a different reason. The public wants to know who is going to pay the bill the Democrats have been running up. The Democrats want to know how they can fool the public into voting for them again.
The people won’t be fooled if they read the latest Cost of Government Day report.
If you want to know the real burden of government, add up government spending and regulation. That makes August 19 Cost of Government Day — meaning Americans spent 231 days working to pay for Uncle Sam and 51 mini-me’s in the states and the city of Washington, D.C. That’s almost two-thirds of the year.
The latest report was written by Benjamin Pacini of the Center for Fiscal Accountability, a project of Americans for Tax Reform. It makes for somber reading.
At August 19, COGD is eight days ahead of last year. Alas, COGD in 2009 was up nearly a month from the year before, when Americans quit paying for government on July 16.
THE PROBLEM IS BIPARTISAN. During most of the last decade the Republicans pushed up COGD slowly if irregularly. And the Bush administration shares the blame for 2009, during which government’s burden jumped the most ever. Unfortunately, this just created a new base from which Democratic policymakers could impose an even higher burden on the rest of us.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?