Tax Freedom Day: There's Nothing Free About It

tax definitionTax Freedom Day arrives on April 17 this year, which coincidentally is also the last day you can file your 2011 tax returns without an extension. Every year, the Tax Foundation calculates exactly how long the average American must work to pay their share of the tax burden, before they can start keeping their earnings. 

In 1900, Tax Freedom Day was January 22.


Of course, this is isn’t a perfect calculation, considering that 47% of households pay no federal income tax at all. I’d hardly call that a fair share. If nearly half of America isn’t paying into the pot, then the higher income earners are picking up the slack. The top 10 percent of income earners pay a hefty 70 percent of the federal tax burden.

How did we get to this point as a nation? When did we get so comfortable handing over such a large portion of the money we earn ourselves to the government, which then decides how it should be spent? What if I don’t want to contribute to crack monkey research?

Taxes are a necessary evil, because government is a necessary evil. We need infrastructure and public safety entities. We need the military. We don’t need the government to decide what schools our kids should go to, what kind of cars we should drive, or tell us how to manage our own retirement accounts or health care.

Obamacare will absolutely raise our tax burden, while it simultaneously lowers our quality of care. $500 million of our tax dollars has been handed over to the IRS for the enforcement of purchasing health insurance. Not only is our money going to pay other people’s medical bills, we have the privilege paying to police the system. Is this the American dream? To trust the government, the people that brought us the DMV, with our health care needs?

A century ago, the majority of the taxes a person paid went to his or her local government. It wasn’t until WWII that the federal tax burden overcame local taxes, and it’s been that way ever since. What does the federal government know about our community needs? Why do we trust them more than our local municipalities? 

High taxes for entitlement programs are not patriotic. President Calvin Coolidge said it best: 

Under this republic, the rewards of industry belong to those who earn them. The only constitutional tax is the tax which ministers to public necessity. The property of the country belongs to the people of the country. Their title is absolute … I am opposed to extremely high rates because they produce little or no revenue, because they are bad for the country, and, finally, because they are wrong.

The average American worked 107 days this year to cover their portion of the tax bill. What did we get in return? Shrimp on treadmills. Your tax dollars at work, America.


Image via Alan Cleaver/Flickr

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