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One-Third of a Year a Slave


This year Tax Freedom Day falls on April 22, three days later than last year.  By that date, Americans will have earned sufficient  income to pay the $3.0 trillion and $1.5 trillion they will be forced to pay this year in federal and state taxes, respectively. The total of $4.5 exceeds the amount they will spend this year  on food, clothing, and shelter.

So the total costs of Wall Street bank bailouts, military bases in 130 foreign countries,  maintaining 1 percent of the U.S. adult population in prison cages, most for nonviolent crimes, drones to kill foreign and U.S. citizens, subsidies to large agribusiness corporations, militarized and trigger-happy police forces, and all the other important "public goods" the government supplies now costs us more than the basic necessities for sustaining human life.  When government borrowing, which entails future taxation,  is included the Tax Freedom Day is pushed back 15 days to  May 6.  

In 1900, prior to the enactment of the federal income tax laws in 1913, U.S. citizens paid 6 percent of their income in taxes and Tax Freedom Day was January 22.

Joseph Salerno is academic vice president of the Mises Institute, professor of economics at Pace University, and editor of the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics.

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