America’s 2015 Tax Bill? It’s 31% of the Work Year

By Kathryn HickokCascadeNewLogo

Tax Freedom Day arrives this year on April 24, six days later than it was two years ago. Tax Freedom Day is a calendar-based measure of Americans’ cumulative tax bill. It is calculated as the day on which Americans have worked long enough to pay all their taxes. Americans will have worked 114 days to earn enough money to pay this year’s combined federal, state, and local taxes. These taxes include personal income taxes, payroll taxes, corporate income taxes, and property and sales taxes.

However, this is only what Americans actually pay, not what government spends. According to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, “Since 2002, federal expenses have surpassed federal revenues, with the budget deficit exceeding $1 trillion annually from 2009 to 2012 and over $800 billion in 2013….If we include…annual federal borrowing, which represents future taxes owed, Tax Freedom Day would occur on May 8….”

Americans currently pay more in taxes ($4.85 trillion) than they do on food, clothing, and housing combined. The saying goes, you should “work to live, not live to work.” But the more government grows, the more Americans are working less to live and more to pay for runaway government spending. That leaves fewer resources to invest in the real engines of economic growth: private sector businesses that create jobs and produce goods and services for a market fueled by Americans’ hard-earned purchasing power.

Kathryn Hickok is Publications Director at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Economy, Employment, Federal Budget, Federal Government, Government Spending, Government Waste, Jobs, Taxes | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Bob Clark

    31% maybe doesn’t sound excessive, except for the fact the marginal income tax rate for some folks and endeavors is nearly 60% in some states and cities. Then, too, the marginal benefit loss/tax rate averages over 50% now because of the Affordable Care Act.

    So, overall, it is more about the creep towards an economic system which diminishes work and investment ethic (in a free market setting) through diminished monetary reward for applying oneself that needs reform. Work ethic is good for the soul and enriches our culture, rather than the apathy of a growing welfare state.

    • conservativley speaking


    • Eric Blair

      Which states and cities have a 60% marginal income tax rate?

    • MrBill

      Historically it’s kind of been in the 29-33% range since the 1960s, so it’s not out of the range of what’s been paid in the past. But it has been ratcheting up significantly over the past few years. Where it seems to be heading concerns me.

      The scarey thing is how longer we need to work to cover what our gov’t actually spends.

  • thevillageidiot

    This is a very good way to look at the tax burden. it pretty much removes the issue of how much you earn. whether it is in millions or thousands. everybody works the same amount of time to pay for government. This number basically removes the deductions, and credits from and to taxpayers. now the interesting thing about this is that up until about 1913 only the first month of each year was needed to pay the tax burden and this was mostly local and state taxes. after 1913 the number of days working to pay taxes has on average increased annually. Does anyone know why 1913 is significant? and was it coincidence?

    • Eric Blair

      16th Amendment to the Constitution which granted Congress the power to collect a federal income tax — on a regular basis.

      • thevillageidiot

        what else, even important also directly responsible for the current state of the economy? The primary reason for the implementation of the income tax?

        • redbean

          Federal Reserve Act of 1913, creating the government-chartered, privately owned banking cartel that has caused the US dollar to lose 97% of it purchasing power since then. But for the politicians, it has allowed credit expansion far beyond anything the free market would have tolerated. Primary reason for the income tax and the Fed? Warfare.

  • Jack Lord God

    Taxes are less about revenue and more about keeping people beholden to the government. It works two ways. On the bottom are the takers – those who have their needs fulfilled through redistribution, you pay, they play. On the other side of the spectrum are the productive, the tax code is used to coerce them into seeking favorable treatment essentially through graft. Is it any wonder income inequality tends to soar, as it has under Obama, whenever government increases its scope and heavy handedness?

    How does this work? As government gets more powerful, and especially as taxation increases, people make the logical choice – become a taker. Less become productive either because they don’t know how, or are unable to fund the graft required for favorable treatment. Small business gets hammered yet GE pays nothing in taxes, well connected cronies start solar and wind farm scams whose tax advantage is their only real asset, GM gets special exemption from lawsuits and the like. The perfect recipe for a society of have and have nots.

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