Smith: Tax freedom: Working for government

Smith: Tax freedom: Working for government

April 7th, 2014 in Opinion Columns

Robin Smith

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

There is an absolute dishonesty when a government official, agency or politician speaks of "revenue" for any local, state or federal government.

Government revenue is a casserole of taxes assessed and collected on income, property, transactions (such as sales of goods), investments and profits.

This is a fact that has been ignored by many in an effort to focus on the services and entitlements that are awarded and controlled by governments as political enticements.

Without a working population in an economy that supports employment, savings, investing, and spending by individuals, the government is not funded.

In 2013, the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan research and policy think tank, announced "Tax Freedom Day" as April 18. Nationally, all income earned by individuals until April 19, 2013 would total the sum collected in taxes by U.S. and state governments.

That number? A tidy little $4.22 trillion was sent to government agencies as "revenue."

In 2012, this date was five days earlier. Meaning, in one calendar year the taxes assessed on its citizens consumed five additional days of the earning power of the labor force. Translation: Taxes were raised in 2012.

In Tennessee, the "Tax Freedom Day" was designated as April 2, the third best nationally, due to the lack of a personal income tax levied on workers' incomes.

Due to increased taxes and the impact of (as the Supreme Court ruled) the tax called Obamacare making its mark in 2014, Tax Freedom Day had not been announced as of April 3, 2014.

What's the big deal? Why do you complain about paying your "fair share" for services to support the government?

The big deal is the notion that those who were employed in 2013 worked 108 days to fund the spending of politicians who use our money to pay for more than the essential services of government.

The big deal is that the federal government has become one of the most hostile entities to small businesses that are credited with 55 percent of all jobs in America and 66 percent of new jobs created since 1970, according to the Small Business Administration.

The big deal is that while families have to scrimp, pinch and save to think about a vacation, buy a new home appliance or save a little for a financial cushion, the malignant spending of government agencies took more than three months' wages from American workers.

The tax burden is only growing on the working population as thousands seek disability insurance and exit the labor force. The current participation rate of the American labor force of 63 percent of able-bodied adults is the same as it was in April 1978.

In April 1978, I had my learner's permit, looking forward to my 16th birthday, Jimmy Carter was president, the first microchip was patented by Texas Instruments, the minimum wage was $2.65, a postage stamp cost 15 cents, and a gallon of milk averaged $1.44.

Bottom line, the government entities absolutely must curb the spending that occurs on the backs of men and women who rise every day, work, try to have their bank balance stretch to the end of the month, raise their families and try to live as responsible citizens.

Guess what the Tax Freedom Day was in 1910? Jan. 19. In 1950? March 31. In 2000? May 1. In 2008? April 16.

Hey, employed Americans, your government does not work for you. It's now time that our elected officials hear from all partisans, all ages, all citizens -- stop spending on those non-essential services!

Robin Smith served as chairwoman of the Tennessee Republican Party, 2007 to 2009. She is a partner at the SmithWaterhouse Strategies business development and strategic planning firm and serves on Tennessee's Economic Council on Women.