A short history of fiscal responsibility

by Michael Smith.

Since 1938, the Tax Foundation has calculated how long Americans must work to earn enough to pay each year’s federal, state and local taxes. The result of that calculation is “Tax Freedom Day.” If you’re an average worker, you hit your quota on the 99th day of 2010, and your money became yours on April 10. Had you paid for what government is actually spending this year, you would have labored an additional 38 days, until May 17.

Who can you thank for giving you your freedom early? Check the picture at the top of this page.

That child is carrying her share of our accumulated federal deficits: over $38,000, and growing by the hour. By the time she’s a veteran of the workforce, you can bet no one will be moving her Tax Freedom Day backward on the calendar. It will come later in the year than it ever has for us. She’ll live with fewer resources and fewer options because of it.

Our generation demanded the freedom to consume more than we produce, and with the help of our politicians, we got it. The trick is to find taxpayers who can’t vote: once you accomplish that, the rest is like taking candy from a baby.

Low blow? Isn’t our poster girl displaying the total of deficits stretching back through the nation’s history?

She is. But here’s some perspective: I was born in 1954. My share of the national debt at her age was around $1600. And get this: some people were starting to worry about robbing from the nation’s future.

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