NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Tax Freedom Day?

April 12, 2011

Tax Freedom Day (TFD) will come April 12 this year.  TFD is the day when the nation as a whole has earned enough income to fund its annual tax burden -- theoretically.  Total taxes this year will cost Americans more than what they'll spend on food, shelter and clothing combined, says Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.

Taxes provided a relatively accurate measure of the burden of government when the budget was balanced -- most recently in 2001.  When you finished paying taxes, you were actually done paying for government.

No longer.

  • 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, that money will eventually have to be paid.

Unfortunately, there is little reason for optimism about the future.

  • The congressional Republicans originally proposed to cut $61 billion from this year's expenditures, about 1.6 percent.
  • Now they've settled for $22.5 billion less.

Source: Doug Bandow, "Tax Freedom Day -- Not," American Spectator, April 11, 2011.

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