Yesterday was finally the end of the days this year when you were working to pay the government its exorbitant fees. That’s right, July 16 was Cost of Government Day for the average American. Grover Norquist , author of the recent book “Leave Us Alone,” has once again crunched the numbers and determined how long it takes most of us to finally pay off our own personal bloated government debt and begin, at last, to make money for ourselves.

This year Americans have worked until today, July 16, to pay for the total costs of federal, state and local government. This is 197 days of the year consuming 53.9 percent of national income. Over the past 22 years, in only four years (1982, 1983, 1991 and 1992) did Cost of Government Day fall later in the year.

Its simply outrageous that it takes 197 days of a year to finally pay off our government obligations and utterly criminal that more than half our income is consumed by bloated, needless bureaucracy.

Federal spending will consume 83.7 days. State and local spending will consume 50.5 days effort. Federal regulations cost 4l.7 days and State regulations cost 20.9 days. The spending data is precise, the regulatory burdens are understated.

And it is a singular failing of the Bush administration that we have added three more days of slaving to pay the government to this burden since he took office. But it is even worse that six days have been added by our own state and local governments.

And what do we have to show for this increased theft of our income? Not too damned much, that’s for sure. Many are quick to blame deficit Federal spending. But Norquist makes a more salient point.

But the deficit is the uninteresting and unimportant number that is the difference between two very interesting and important numbers: total government spending and total taxes raised. A government that costs one hundred dollars of spending where ninety dollars are taken in taxes and ten are borrowed is as expensive and burdensome as one where the government takes and spends all hundred. No money is freed up for the economy by taking an additional ten in taxes. The true cost of government, whether paid for today through taxation or borrowing, is total government spending plus the regulatory burden paid by consumers in higher prices.

And Norquist warns that if the next president doesn’t keep the relatively pro-growth tax policy that Bush has continued we will find major trouble. Since we have had “fifteen years without a legislated tax hike” we have lived a “unique” time with tax policy, says Norquist.

The pro-growth tax cut of 2003 created economic growth that by2008 increased the number of American jobs by eight million, real per capita income grew $2,887, the stock market increased by $3.7 trillion in value and federal revenues jumped by $785 billion. Those tax cuts lapse in January 2011 and already the markets are anticipating losing those gains.

The next president and Congress will not only need to maintain the relatively pro-growth lower tax rates on individual income and investments, but — as Cost of Government Day painfully reminds us – deal with the true costs of government: total government spending and the regulatory burden.

Reagan was right. Lower taxes means pro-growth. Let’s hope the next president does not torpedo the relatively good economic times we’ve had these last 15 years in favor of higher, economy killing taxes. The burden on the taxpayer is far too much and regulation is stifling to us all.

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Tags: Budget taxes