From the August 2003 Idaho Observer:

Americans achieve 53% slave status in 2003

It takes until July 11 for taxpayers to pay for their government.

Back in 1995, “Independence Day” had a double meaning: The July 4th holiday commemorated our Founders' signing the Declaration of Independence and the day the average American could start working for himself. Seven years later, Americans have to work an additional week to pay the cost of maintaining government. When one factors in the price Americans will pay to fight the war on terrorism, we can expect that within about 35 years the average American will be working all year to pay government employees to protect his freedom.

by James W. Harris

July 11 was this year's “Cost of Government Day.” That's the date in the calendar year when the average American worker has finally earned enough money to pay off his or her share of the tax and regulatory burdens imposed by government at all levels.

Until July 11 Americans had been working to feed government. Beginning July 12, Americans could start working for themselves.

Think that's bad news? It gets worse. This year, Cost of Government Day came a lot later than in the past.

Each year, Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) releases a report which details the total cost of government to American taxpayers -- and calculates the date when the average American is finally done paying for those costs.

This year, Cost of Government Day comes a startling four and a half days later than last year -- the worst since 1993.

Now Americans must work on average 193 days out of the year just to meet all the costs imposed by government.

Any way you look at it

Americans will work 87 days to cover the cost of federal spending, 43 days to cover state and local spending, 39 days to shoulder the cost of federal regulation, and 24 days to pay for state regulation.

That's over four months (of five-day work weeks) to pay for government spending, and another two months to cover the burden of regulation.

Another way of looking at it: The average worker now puts in about 4.5 hours of each day to pay for government, and only 3.5 hours to earn money for himself.

To put it still another way: The cost of government now consumes nearly 53 percent of national income.

Govt spending on the rise

ATR points out that the cost of government has increased by nearly 10 percent since calendar year 2000, and government spending is mushrooming under the Bush administration.

In fact, this year is the third year in a row that Cost of Government Day has arrived later than the year before. The average American worker needed 17 additional days this year to pay for the cost of government than a worker did in 2000.

Ironically, Cost of Government Day declined during the Clinton era for eight straight years, 1992-2000.

But the increases of the past three years have nearly wiped out all the cost-declines achieved since 1992.

The growth in the cost of government has been driven largely by enormous increases in federal spending. Nearly 60 percent of the total cost-of-government increase since 2000 is due to the rise in federal spending.

In fact, more than three additional days were needed this year alone to pay for increases in federal spending -- 10 additional days since 2000.

While some of the costs are war-related, war and “homeland security” spending are only partly to blame. Federal and state domestic spending and regulation -- supported by both Democrats and Republicans -- have both increased tremendously and continue to rise.

No end in sight

And don't expect the politicians to stop spending your money at ever-higher rates. As Michael LaFaive, director of fiscal policy for the free-market Mackinac Center for Public Policy, puts it: “Next year the trend in federal spending growth is not expected to improve. Recent Congressional approval of a Medicare prescription drug entitlement is expected to cost taxpayers $400 billion over the next 10 years. This is a dark and portentious policy cloud that may explode into a thunderstorm of new federal spending. After all, government social programs do not have a history of costing less than advertised.”

Ed Crane, president of the libertarian Cato Institute, summed it up nicely in the conservative magazine Human Events: “[I]n 2000, we elected a president who has yet to criticize a single government program and believes you can solve problems by throwing money at them.”

At this rate, how long before “Cost of Government Day” ends December 31st?

(Source: Americans for Tax Reform (ATR): Mackinac Center for Public Policy

$ Total Cost of Government: $4.96 Trillion

$ Per Person Cost of Government: $17,017

$ Number Of Days to Pay for Gov't: 193


$ Total Government Spending: $3.34 Trillion

$ Total Government Regulation: $1.62 Trillion

$ Federal Cost of Government: $3.23 Trillion

$ State/Local Cost of Government: $1.73 Trillion

Cost of Government Change 2000-2003: 9.7% Increase

$ Federal Spending: 12.4% Increase

$ State/Local Spending: 6.6% Increase

$ Federal Regulations: 8.4% Increase

$ State Regulations: 8.5% Increase

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