K. Lloyd Billingsley - Contributor
[Courtesty of Pacific Research
Billingsley is Editorial Director for the Pacific
Research Institute and has been widely published on topics
including on popular culture, defense policy, education reform,
and many other current policy issues. [go to Billingsley index]
Tax freedom day can't come soon enough...
[K. Lloyd Billingsley] 4/15/04
This year, tax freedom day, the day Americans cease
working for the government and begin working for themselves,
came on April 11, the earliest it has been since 1967. While
a welcome change, that is still not early enough.
"America has one of the most imperialistic tax codes in
the world," says the current issue of The Economist, referring
to the severe tax bite on American corporations that operate
abroad, something few other nations attempt. But things are also
bad stateside for individuals. Consider the self-employed.
15, they will have to pay whatever they owe the government
from last year, along with their first quarterly
payment for the current year. Also about this time, the second
installment of last year's property taxes come due, a triple
whammy. Many discover that the tax code is not only imperialistic
If the self-employed person has a good year, he or she is taxed
at a higher rate than those who were less productive. But though
they pay more taxes, they can't participate in programs they
are forced to fund, such as MediCal, California's government
health-care system. Their role is simply to pay for it. They
must buy health care with their own after-tax dollars. Those
who work for someone else get health care with before-tax dollars.
Those who work not at all get it paid for by other people's tax
are not self-employed, but they are not out of the woods. The
same sharply rising punitive ("progressive" in
government-speak) rates apply to them, and the government gets
its money even before workers do in the form of withholding.
This practice dates from World War II and was supposedly temporary
but it became permanent, and politicians now believe they have
a prior claim to what people earn. The media and the workers
assume this is the way it must be and forget that their vaunted
tax refund is simply their own money.
Don't forget the state income tax, nearly 10 percent in California
with, count'em, six tax brackets. The state sales tax alone is
nearly eight percent. Factor in property taxes, capital-gains
taxes, and the multiple fees and assessments for everything from
telephones to gasoline. The result is that, for many American
families, taxes remain their biggest expenditure, more than such
bourgeois trifles as food, shelter, transportation, college tuition,
and the like.
in general and Californians in particular remain severely overtaxed,
insulted to boot. Those who simply want to retain
more of what they earn through their own efforts get tagged as "greedy" or "the
rich." Those who want to take more of what people earn fancy
themselves enlightened. This is backwards.
The greedy are those who want to take more of what people earn,
without offering anything in return or simply to cover their
own incompetence. The current hearings on September 11 show that
the billions taxpayers send to the government have not made the
populace more secure, a clear example of how the government does
less with more.
government has colonized too much of our lives. We need a tax
code that is less imperialistic, and a tax freedom
day that comes a lot sooner than April 11. CRO
2004 Pacific Research Institute