This was the horrible week in which millions of Americans paid their taxes to the ever increasing and intrusive federal government. This year, the tax burden has grown with Tax Freedom Day appearing on April 24, meaning that Americans will spend approximately one third of the year working for government before they can provide for their families.
Taxes are certainly oppressive in this country. Compared to last year, tax revenue increased 4.3% to $1.478 trillion in the first 6½ months of the 2015 fiscal year. Even worse, the insatiable federal government continues to spend money with reckless abandon. Through April 1 of this year, the budget deficit was an astounding $439 billion, a significant increase from 2014.
Not only are taxes and deficits increasing, but the actual size of the federal tax code is exploding. When the income tax was created in 1913, the tax code was only 400 pages. It increased to 26,000 pages by 1984 and has tripled in size in the last 30 years. Since the implementation of Obamacare in 2010, the federal tax code has increased another 3,300 pages, resulting in more rules and regulations for Americans to decipher. Today, the federal tax code is over 74,000 pages of bureaucratic nonsense, making it impossible for the average American to complete their own tax return. It is no surprise that 94% of Americans need professional assistance in finishing their tax return.
According to the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, Americans spend $32 billion to prepare ever more complicated tax forms and in the process waste 6.1 billion hours annually. This costs our economy $234 billion in lost productivity. Americans should be using their time and money on more fruitful pursuits, such as providing for the needs of their families.
In the shaky Obama economy, Americans need to be as industrious as possible. While the federal government is expanding and creating massive budget deficits, leading to a national debt exceeding $18.1 trillion, it is a much different situation for average Americans. For the 119 million Americans who are working, most are seeing minimal increase in wages, and, in March, the Labor Department reported that their average work week declined to 34.5 hours, below what many need to live comfortably. Thus, it is no surprise that there are 6.7 million Americans who have to work multiple jobs just to pay their household bills.
While the unemployment rate is supposedly at 5.5%, the real situation is reflected in the number of people who have left the workforce. There are over 93 million eligible Americans who are not employed, an all-time high, resulting in a labor force participation rate of 62.7%, the lowest in almost four decades. These unemployed Americans are not paying income taxes, increasing the burden on those in the labor force, who must pay oppressive taxes to pay for our constantly expanding government.
In this country, the tax man cometh in life and death as we currently impose a draconian 40% estate tax. Fortunately, House Republicans just passed a bill to eliminate this immoral tax, but when it moves to the Senate it faces an uncertain future. Not surprisingly, Democrats claim that eliminating the estate tax will only help the “wealthy.” In reality, it will allow the survival of many small family businesses, and the continued employment of Americans who need those jobs.
Our unfair tax burden should be a primary issue in the upcoming presidential campaign. One candidate, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), has offered a particularly bold solution: close down the IRS and allow Americans to complete their taxes on a postcard. This plan offers tax reduction and simplification, just what America needs after six years of President Barack Obama.