Tax Freedom Day

May 17, 1999

I'm usually pretty good with birthdays and anniversaries, but I missed a date last week. Last Tuesday (May 11) was Tax Freedom Day. If you don't know what that is, it's the date selected by the Tax Foundation to demonstrate to the average American how many days he or she works for the government. From January 1 to May 11, you have been working to pay government taxes. Now you are working for you and your family.

By the way, do you know that May 11 is the latest day on record for Tax Freedom Day? Consider that during the Reagan years, Tax Freedom Day was on April 27. It gives you a little indication of how various taxes (federal, state, and local) continue to climb.

How are we taxed? Well, to paraphrase a famous poet, let me count the ways. First, there are individual income taxes. This is the largest component of Americans' tax bill. Americans have to work 49 days to pay those bills. Then there are payroll taxes such as Social Security and Medicare. Americans have to work 37 days to pay those.

The prices of nearly all goods and services are raised by sales and excise taxes. Americans work another 17 days to pay those taxes in the form of higher prices. And Americans work another 11 days to pay property taxes levied by state and local governments. Add to that an additional 12 days to pay for their share of corporate income taxes. Various other taxes add a final 5 days to the total.

Tax Freedom Day is a sobering reminder that we spend more than a third of our year working for the government rather than for ourselves. I don't know about you, but I'm ready for a tax cut.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.