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OPINION

Tax Revenue Hits Another Record as Families Struggle

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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Despite years of superimposed confidence and reassurance from our nation’s leaders, the American people are still feeling the angst of a sluggish recovery. And the economic meddling of our leaders may have left us worse off than we think.

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It is easy to think that the U.S. economy is on the path of recovery with the constant assurance from the Obama Administration. Yet the huge increase in the government’s involvement in our economy following the Great Recession is revealing the major barriers it poses to reaching a full and true recovery, and families outside of Washington are feeling the pain.

While the nation tries to recover, Americans have been forced to pay historically high taxes. Each taxpayer will pay record amounts to the government – $16,451 per worker on average. In the first 9 months of fiscal year 2015, Americans paid a whopping record $2,446,920,000,000 to the federal government.

The enormous tax burden on Americans continues to stall the recovery, with any chance of relief looking unlikely any time before President Obama leaves office

Unsurprisingly, record tax revenue comes with seemingly endless wasteful government spending. The dispensable programs and projects that the government pays for on the taxpayer dollar are shocking.

For example, highlighted in the 2014 Wastebook, the National Science Foundation (NSF) recently funded a project to teach mountain lions to use a treadmill, costing the taxpayer $856,000. This comes only 3 years after the NSF similarly funded shrimp to use a treadmill.

While such examples are miniscule in the grand scheme of federal largesse, they serve to highlight the larger problems in government that occur at the expense of the taxpayer, such as the IRS targeting conservative groups, pathetic care of veterans at the VA, and total ineptitude at the Secret Service and Office of Personnel Management.

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Evidently, the government likes to ignore the glaringly obvious fact that resources are scarce, and acts as if there is limitless time and taxpayer money to spend on superfluity and nonsense while it lags in its core functions.

It is even more shocking that the government takes little notice of its wastefulness as it speeds towards an impending fiscal crisis. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the share of U.S. debt will topple over 100 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) within 25 years.

This is a concerning outlook because, our government is being funded by a smaller and smaller proportion of the population, as labor force participation has hovered at its lowest point since the Carter Administration. More people are receiving government assistance than ever, with a staggering number of able-bodied Americans unable to rejoin the workforce.

Many businesses would prefer to hire more workers but are unable to do so because of massive government spending and over-regulation. As the government continues to grow to shocking proportions, the private sector is crowded out more than ever before.

As the federal government expands it reaches and borrows to finance its spending, it competes with private sector business also looking to grow. High public spending creates a vicious cycle of dependence on big government with a diminishing ability to pay for it.

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But perhaps the most unfortunate result is the way in which big government only helps big business – small businesses that are the true engine of our economy are left by the wayside when Big Government has so much control over the American economy.

Free enterprise and innovation are the only way for our economy to truly recover. Massive public spending stifles American innovation and prevents the upward mobility of Americans stuck in place, for who “hope” and “change” are little more than long-forgotten campaign slogans.

We must promote innovation – instead of stifle it – to truly recover and create tangible economic growth. Instead of the government deciding who will prosper, policies that limit the scope of government, reform the tax code, and encourage investment and work will promote the well-being of all Americans.

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