Tax (Disappearing) Freedom Day
"We Finally Have Our Lives Back" Day will come in July. (More at PJTV: The IRS/Tax Time Pop Quiz. Are 56FF Breast Implants Deductible?)
April 17, 2012 - 12:00 am
The foundation notes that “if the federal government raised taxes enough to close the budget deficit — an additional $1.014 trillion — Tax Freedom Day would come on May 14 instead of April 17.” This year’s deficit really appears more likely to come in at about $1.2 trillion — if we’re lucky. The reported deficits in February and March were both higher than the year-ago figures for the same months. In March, the federal government set an all-time single-month spending record; the $369 billion spent was over $30 billion higher than any other previous month. Recent employment-related news, with only 120,000 seasonally adjusted jobs added in March, and initial unemployment claims “unexpectedly” shooting back up again in recent weeks, may foreshadow yet another mediocre summer for the economy, and therefore for government tax collections. A $1.2 trillion deficit would move what could be called “Government Spending Freedom Day” to about May 19.
Not to criticize the foundation, which surely wanted to avoid working up a treatise on supply-side economics, but if the federal government ever tried to raise its collections through tax increases by the roughly 50% necessary to theoretically balance the budget without cutting spending, economic growth would disappear and more than likely go negative faster than you can say “class warfare.” The predicted increases in receipts would fall far short of expectations, and might not materialize at all.
It would also not be out of line to add the costs of government regulation to the TFD calendar, simply because you’re not working for yourself when you’re engaging in state-required busywork, paperwork, and other forms of compliance. The Competitive Enterprise Institute cited a paper in its 2011 “Ten Thousand Commandments” publication claiming that “an evaluation of the U.S. federal regulatory enterprise … (found that) annual regulatory compliance costs hit $1.752 trillion in 2008.” No one can possibly believe that these costs have gone down in the past three years. Add in the cost of state and local regs, and the current figure for the annual cost of all forms of regulatory compliance and subservience is surely at least $2 trillion. That tacks on another 53 days, taking us well past the half-year mark to about July 11, which perhaps should be tagged as “We Finally Have Our Lives Back” Day.
The proposition that we live in a genuinely free country becomes more questionable with each passing year.