Nominally it falls tomorrow. But to cover just this year’s federal spending, taxpayers would have to turn all their earnings over through May 23.
Americans finally finish working for the federal government on April 12 this year. That’s three days later than last year, but still a couple weeks earlier than Tax Freedom Day in 2006 and 2007, April 24. The record in both peace and war was May 1 in 2000. Had Al Gore defeated George W. Bush in that year, TFD probably would have continued rising, as it had since Bill Clinton’s election in 1992.
Unfortunately, April 12 still isn’t much to be happy about. TFD rose to April 12 in 1962, but quickly fell back. In 1967 TFD again hit April 12, eventually oscillating between April 16 and 24. TFD fell to April 19 in 1992 before beginning another sharp rise. As a percentage of income taxes hit 30 percent in 1969 and hovered around the level for years. The tax burden did not fall below 29.1 percent until 2003. This year that percentage will be 27.7, a welcome but only marginal improvement.
Total taxes this year will cost Americans more than what they’ll spend on food, shelter, and clothing combined. Not all of these purchases will prove worthwhile for all people, obviously. But compare their value to what the government does with their money.
Taxpayers are bailing out virtually every interest known to man — plus a few not previously recognized. Banks get money. Auto companies get aid. Labor unions get benefits. Homeowners get help. Insurance companies get cash. Investment funds get guarantees. Property sellers get subsidies. Taxpayers get the bill.
But all this pales in comparison with the cost of last year’s health care legislation. Everyone knows that the administration and Congress, like the famed Isuzu salesman, were lying. Taxpayers soon will be paying off insurance companies, doctors, and pharmaceutical companies — just coincidentally all among the bill’s most avid supporters — as well as people forced to buy high-priced health insurance.
Americans also get the pleasure of subsidizing a gaggle of rich allies around the world, such as the Europeans, who are too busy supporting welfare states to maintain effective militaries. South Korea and Japan also are on the U.S. military dole, leaving the heavy lifting to Americans. Even corrupt Third World politicians, like Hamid Karzai, are on Washington’s military payroll. America’s ungrateful dependents now include the Libyan rebels, who blame the U.S. for the failure of their untrained, uncoordinated, and divided forces.
Taxpayers pay for domestic “welfare” too, which has done so much to destroy families and communities. Welfare reform in 1996 reduced the damage, but the so-called “stimulus” bill reversed course. The latter also wasted money without promoting long-term growth. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office figured that this legislation, after providing a short-term boost, will permanently reduce economic activity starting around 2015. Which means working families will earn less while paying higher federal interest payments on the borrowed funds.
There’s so much more. A crowd favorite is pork barrel projects, used by big spending politicians to generate political support. Yes, I’m a thief, the lawmaker admits, and I stole from you, but I’ll share a bit of the ill-gotten loot. Vote for me! Such is the appeal of democracy.
No wonder two-thirds of Americans believe they are overtaxed. Eight of ten mainstream voters believe that they pay too much. But not the political class. According to Rasmussen Reports, 87 percent of America’s governing elite, who decide how to spend everyone else’s earnings, disagree. They see a penny not taxed as a penny not spent, defeating their role in life.
More significantly, TFD doesn’t mean much anymore. Taxes provided a relatively accurate measure of the burden of government when the budget was balanced — most recently in 2001. (Guess which president was most responsible for that budget: It wasn’t a Republican.) When you finished paying taxes, you were actually done paying for government.
The federal budget this year will run about $3.8 trillion, give or take a few dozen billion dollars, which hardly counts anymore. Borrowing will account for between $1.5 trillion and $1.65 trillion, depending on who is doing the estimating. That is roughly 40 percent of total federal outlays. Unless Uncle Sam defaults on his obligations — a tempting thought, since it would cut taxpayers’ present obligations while making future borrowing much more difficult — that money will eventually have to be paid.
Although the borrowing binge is occurring during Barack Obama’s presidency, the Republicans also are responsible. George Bush and the GOP Congress turned a surplus into a big deficit.
They increased federal spending across-the-board. They created the Medicare drug benefit, with an unfunded liability of around $15 trillion. The president launched and Congress funded two unnecessary nation-building expeditions in distant Third World lands. And President Bush was the driving force behind TARP and assorted other bail-outs. Indeed, his officials admitted that they had no “metric” for the $700 billion TARP proposal; they just wanted a “big number.” And they got it.
In short, the GOP created a solid foundation for President Obama’s Big Government empire.
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.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?