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'Cost of Government Day' gets later, later

August 24, 2010 - Lee Smith

The average American, I suspect, doesn't mind receiving value for his or her tax payments. Most people drive and like nice streets and roads. We like our sewers to work. We like knowing there are police, firefighters, prosecutors and soldiers to protect us.
When we move beyond these basics, government becomes not a provider of general services, but a tool of special interests. They line up at the public trough and often do not even have to compete for government handouts. Every "worthy" cause has its patron saint in the form of a politician. The politicians scratch each other's backs to fund all their pet projects and programs.
This has a horrendous cost that is largely hidden.
Thankfully, entities like the Americans for Tax Reform Foundation shine light on the fiasco. The foundation is a Washington-based tax watchdog group that offers an annual "Cost of Government Day" report. It calculates the day on which the average American has paid off his or her share of the costs of government (local, state and federal) spending and regulations.
This year, the date was Aug. 19. (My birthday, thanks so much.) The date is eight days later than last year, and is the latest Cost of Government Day ever recorded. It is a 34-day jump from two years ago.
The effect of free spending and onerous regulation is that our economy is wounded. More people could be working, and those who are could be enjoying higher standards of living. We all could be freer to enjoy our lives. Freer to take risks and start new businesses. Freer to take action, to control our destinies.
The next time you hear politicians talking about giving you something, or securing you something, or creating a fairer society, remember that the price you pay is in freedom. And the cost is high.


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