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Celebrate: Tax Freedom Day has arrived

If you work, you have reason to celebrate this week. On average, Georgians who work have earned enough money to pay off their share of the tax burden at the federal, state and local levels as of April 9. So, we celebrate Tax Freedom Day. Of course, nearly half the population does little or no work, choosing to live off those who do. For them, every day is Tax Freedom Day. Many scoff at you as they skate through life unencumbered by taxation ‘“ indeed, thriving off it ‘“ but that is another column for another day. The day the workers among us celebrate meeting our tax burden varies by state. The folks in Louisiana and Mississippi celebrated tax freedom March 29, the earliest in the country. Those in ultraliberal Connecticut are not free until May 13, the latest of all Americans. Tax Freedom Day is the brainchild of the Tax Foundation. It calculates Americans will work five days longer to meet the tax burden this year than last. Economist William H. McBride of the foundation notes, ‘The total tax bill at all levels comes to approximately $4.2 trillion, or 29.4% of (working Americans’) total income. That means Americans will pay more in taxes in 2013 than they will spend on food, clothing, and housing combined.’ That is a lot of money. The question is where does it go? Well, nobody really has a straight answer. The estimates are clouded by politics and biases but there are some numbers out there. In 2011, the feeder government spent $3.6 trillion or 24 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. Tax dollars funded $2.2 trillion of that total. Of those expenditures, $731 billion went for Social Security benefits to 35.6 million people who averaged $1,229 per month. Many ‘“ but, certainly, not all ‘“ of those recipients paid into the system. Whether those who did not buy in should receive benefits at all is, again, another debate. Another $718 billion went to defense spending and expenditures tagged ‘˜international security assistance’. The international spending supposedly helps our allies defend themselves against threats but it is becoming increasingly apparent that we fund many who hate America and Americans as well. Over 43 % of all tax dollars paid for health care (Medicare, Medicaid) and job and family security ‘“ government speak for entitlement programs that benefit those who don’t or won’t work. So celebrate tax freedom day. Your total earnings have surpassed what Washington imposes as your debt to society. You’ll still see those paycheck hits and freeloaders galore but it is good to think about. Enjoy it. Tax Freedom Day will come much later next year. We have Obamacare to fund.

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