DownsizeDC.org
April 23, 2008
Is today really Tax Freedom Day?
By Perry Willis

Quote of the Day:

"If we run into such debts, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our callings and our creeds, as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, give the earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses; and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they now do, on oatmeal and potatoes; have no time to think, no means of calling the mismanagers to account; but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers." -- Thomas Jefferson

Subject: Is this really Tax Freedom Day?

Congratulations, you're now working for yourself. The Tax Foundation declares that today is Tax Freedom Day. From January 1 to today you were working for the government. From today through the end of the year, you'll be working for yourself.

Maybe.

Tax Freedom Day is three days earlier this year than last year, and well down from its peak of May 3 in 2000, but don't get too excited. The Tax Foundation attributes this year's change to slow economic growth and the "stimulus" rebate check you'll be getting soon. To our way of thinking this kind of throws the idea that today is Tax Freedom Day into doubt, because . . .

  • We think economic slow-downs are primarily the result of bad government policies -- and this too is a cost you're paying
  • And borrowing money from our children and grandchildren, which is the source of the "stimulus" check, seems shady to us

Plus, what about the rising prices for food and energy? We believe these increases can be laid partially, or entirely, at the feet of the government . . .

  • The Federal Reserve's "easy money" policy may be driving price inflation
  • The federal government's dubious "strategic petroleum reserve" is increasing the demand for oil above what it would otherwise be
  • Ethanol mandates and subsidies place pressure on the prices for both food and energy

Aren't these things taxes too?

And what about all the time and money you just spent filing your tax returns? Or, if you run a business, what about all the money you spend complying with dubious regulations? I personally spend a lot of my time complying with federal regulations that aren't EVEN dubious -- they're just bad. And surely these costs are taxes too.

But don't blame the Tax Foundation for not including these costs. Many government taxes are well hidden, to make calculations like this nearly impossible. If we could easily see and feel all the taxes we pay then there might well be hell to pay, for the politicians. But the politicians are clever thieves, and have arranged things so that we can neither see nor feel what we really pay for government.

But things are bad enough in terms of the visible taxes. The Tax Foundation also informs us that we will spend more on these visible taxes than on the combined costs of food, clothing, and housing. Are you getting your money's worth?

Does the government provide you with things that you value more than they cost? I don't know about you, but for me the answer is a clear NO. There's very little the government does that I value at all. Even worse, I would actually pay to get the government to stop doing many things. In other words . . .

I consider much of what the government does to be positively harmful, to me, my family, and the world at large. I firmly believe that were it not for all that the government wastes and destroys nearly all of us would be wealthy beyond our wildest dreams . . .

  • The economy would be vastly larger and vastly more efficient
  • Prices would be lower, and the quality and variety of what we buy would be greater
  • We would earn more, save more, and retire earlier at a greater level of affluence
  • And society would be better equipped to handle large numbers of retirees, unlike today

I can't prove all of this in the space I have here, but I believe the evidence is abundant and easily found. Consider just two examples . . .

  • I would rather give money to the Habitat for Humanity than to the Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • And I would rather be able to rely on Underwriters Laboratory for drug safety than on the FDA

Similar determinations could be made for nearly every area of government activity, especially if one were to do a little research before making a judgement. I believe this is very telling.

This is why we do what we do. We want to Downsize DC for progressive reasons. Governments constantly achieve less and less while spending more and more, compared to voluntary efforts that do more and more while spending less and less.

We want to foster that part of society that gives us more by using less.

If you don't think you're getting your money's worth from government, let Congress know about it. Tell them that Tax Freedom Day doesn't come soon enough. Use our "Unfunded Liabilities" campaign to send your message.

And then, please follow-up that action by contributing as much as you can, even if it's just a few dollars per month. This is a voluntary effort, competing to reduce government. Government can steal your income in taxes, but we cannot combat government, we cannot continue to grow and succeed without, voluntary support from people like you.

Please start a monthly credit card pledge of $5, $10, $15, $20, or $25, to make us grow. All of those amounts are less than a dollar a day.

Or make a one-time donation to help us make budget for April. We're thousands of dollars short of our goal right now. And we still need just one more $100 donation to earn Jack Mullen's $1,000 matching commitment. You can contribute here.

Jim Babka, President, DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

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