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In 2008, the American people had to work 197 days - from Jan. 1 until July 16 - to pay the total cost of government, according to Americans for Tax Reform.

That calculation included federal, state and local government, plus higher prices for goods and services as a result of government regulation.

But if you think that figure is shocking, well, as they say, "You ain't seen nothing yet."

In 2010, Americans for Tax Reform said "Cost of Government Day" came more than a month later - on Aug. 19! It took 231 days this year for the American people to pay the cost of government from all levels!

"As a result of the bailouts, stimulus, and increased discretionary spending in the federal budget and new taxes for health care ... in two years, the American people have lost over a month of wages to the higher cost of government," wrote Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

He does not, of course, advocate abolishing all taxes and regulations. But is it not absurd that so much of your labor every year is spent on government programs and rules that often are wasteful, if not downright unconstitutional?

Americans for Tax Reform does not lay equal blame on federal, state and local governments for this state of affairs. Of the 231 days worked to pay the total cost of government this year, more than 150 days covered the cost of federal spending and regulations; fewer than 80 days were required to cover the cost of state and local government and regulations.

Although there is undoubtedly some waste and needless regulation at the state and local levels, the bigger problem is plainly the explosive growth of the federal government.

If we do not elect members of Congress in November who will reduce government borrowing, taxing and spending, we may look back two years from now and realize we have lost yet another month's pay to excessive government.

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