For almost 200 years, April 15th was nothing more than just another date on the American calendar. Not until 1955, when the federal government moved the filing deadline for income taxes back a month from March 15th did the beauty of spring have to share itself with the bane of the Republic.
The brainchild of the father of the progressive left, President Woodrow Wilson, the 16th Amendment to the Constitution and the federal income tax that it ushered in, forever changed the balance of power between the people of the United States and the politicians of Washington, D.C. Never again would the federal government be without a steady flow of revenue upon which to gorge.
For the heroes of the left – Wilson, FDR, Obama – the rate is never high enough, the revenue never sufficient. And the buffet of pandering that fills misguided voters heads with the promise that their government sponsored utopia is just one more tax hike away is never ending.
College too expensive? The rich aren’t taxed enough. If they’d just pay their “fair share” everyone could enter academia a wide eyed teenager and exit the other end a fully indoctrinated soldier for political correctness. The federal student loan program that ensures universities are never held accountable for their products or their outcomes has absolutely nothing to do with a college education costing more than a home.
Healthcare too high? It’s the fault of evil insurance and pharmaceutical companies dodging their tax responsibilities. It has nothing to do with the mandates, regulations, and market distortions of an “Affordable Care Act” that has led to higher premiums, deductibles and copays while simultaneously reducing access. Oh no, there’s nothing wrong with the healthcare system that more tax revenue won’t solve.
Electric bill going through the roof? Don’t believe the lies of the utility companies. There’s nothing nefarious going on at the EPA. It’s not that they’re regulating too much, it’s that they can’t do more. Imagine if they could just hire a few thousand more of their like minded ideologues to spread out across the land. Why, we could mandate our way to prosperity in no time.
Beginning to see a pattern? To the followers of the Wilsonian philosophy, the only thing standing in the way of a perfect society is a government too small. Individual freedom is a nice catch phrase but in the end it’s only the collective that matters. Besides, what good is “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” without a cradle to grave government assistant to guide you through it?
Obviously, these people have never heard of the Tax Foundation. Founded in 1937 it is the nation’s oldest non-profit tax think tank and is perhaps best known by the rest of us for its annual report that identifies its “Tax Freedom day” that represents the date Americans stop working for taxes and start working for themselves.
The date this year is April 24th for current government but throw federal borrowing and it reaches all the way to May 10th this year. But as sad as that is, there’s another statistic that’s even more depressing. According to the report, we Americans will spend more on taxes this year than on our food, clothing and housing combined. And overall we will fork over almost 5 trillion in local, state and federal taxes amounting to roughly 31 percent of the national income.
America has been marching to the drum beat of Wilson’s “more government” for over a century now and all it’s achieved to date is a $19 trillion and counting debt piled on the backs of our grandchildren.
I think it’s about time we got ourselves a new drummer.
PUBLISHER NOTE: An edited version of this column appears in the April 17th print edition of the Joplin Globe.