By Lowell Ponte, Special for USDR
How much tax are you paying? How much is government taking out of your life?
These are trick questions because, truth be told, nobody can answer them with certainty.
The Tax Foundation calculates that “Tax Freedom Day,” the day you cease being a serf for Uncle Sam and begin working for yourself and your family, for the average American is April 21.
By this measure, just paying your taxes to federal, state, and local governments takes an average of 111 days — three days longer than last year, and more than 30 percent of your entire year.
This burden varies widely by state, the Tax Foundation calculates. In the lowest-taxed state, Louisiana, Tax Freedom Day arrived on March 30. In the highest-taxed states, Connecticut and New Jersey, taxpayers will labor until May 9, to pay what their politicians demand.
We pay in servitude for ever-larger government. As the Tax Foundation found, in 1900 Americans paid less than 6 percent of their income to the government, and the liberation of Tax Freedom Day for most was Jan. 22, just three weeks into the 52-week year.
The taxes we now see, however, are only a fraction of our total government bondage. The Tax Foundation estimates that if we include the delayed taxation of federal government borrowing, Tax Freedom Day slides to May 6. When John F. Kennedy was president, more than 50 cents of every tax dollar went for national defense. Today, more than 70 cents of every tax dollar go for “transfer payments,” taking money from the pockets of some to redistribute it into the pockets of others whom the politicians deem more worthy.
The group Americans for Tax Reform calculates the “Cost of Government Day,” taking into account the de facto taxation of mandates through which government simply commands companies and individuals to spend money on things the politicians want, such as the private health insurance policies under Obamacare. When people are required to spend their own money on things mandated by government, their earnings are confiscated as surely as taxes would do.
In 2013, Cost of Government Day in 2013 fell on July 13 for the average American, who worked more than half of the year just to pay for taxes plus government regulations. After more than 100 years on the progressive road to serfdom, the average American now labors more than half his or her working life just to pay what the political ruling elite demands.
In effect, we have created a new kind of slavery in pursuit of failed progressive ideology. This year marks the 50th anniversary of that vast wealth transfer program known as the war on poverty. Roughly $21 trillion has been transferred from the productive to the poor, who remain almost as large a fraction of society as before.
In January 2013, the Journal of Economic Growth featured a study by two economists calculating where we would be if the flood of liberal regulations begun in 1949 had never happened. Their conclusion: The median household income in America would not be today’s $53,000. Without regulatory red tape and taxes choking growth, the median household income today would be $330,000.
America’s gross domestic product in 2011 would not have been $15.1 trillion. It would instead have been $53.9 trillion, more than 3.5 times larger, with full employment and vast prosperity for all.
Americans are paying a terrible price for what, in our latest book “The Great Withdrawal: How the Progressives’ 100-Year Debasement of America and the Dollar Ends,”Craig R. Smith and I called this progressive “donkey drag” on our economy and lives. Even those who believe they pay no taxes are paying vast hidden taxes passed on in the higher prices of everything they buy.
It may be politically profitable to heap ever-higher taxes on the companies that make our products, and then use class warfare rhetoric and welfare to buy the votes of the ignorant and government-dependent.
Lowell Ponte is co-author, with Craig R. Smith, of “Crashing the Dollar: How to Survive a Global Currency Collapse”; “The Inflation Deception: Six Ways Government Tricks Us . . . And Seven Ways to Stop It”; and “Re-Making Money: Ways to Restore America’s Optimistic Golden Age.” His new book is “The Great Debasement: The 100-Year Dying of the Dollar and How to Get America’s Money Back.”
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