224 Days Later, Americans Finally Earn Enough to Cover Their Share of Federal Spending

Jerad McHenry | August 12, 2011 | 4:00am EDT
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(AP photo)

(CNSNews.com) - Friday, Aug. 12, is the day that the U.S. work force will have earned in gross income the equivalent of the year’s federal spending and regulatory burden, according to Americans for Tax Reform (ATR).  

This day, Cost of Government Day (COGD), is annually tracked by ATR.

It took 224 days for Americans to earn enough money to cover the cost of government this year, 226 days in 2009 and 2010.  Prior to 2009, Cost of Government Day never fell later than July 21.  In 2008, Cost of Government Day was July 16.

According to ATR, the cost of government is equivalent to 61.42 percent of the national annual income earned by the American workforce. 

The average American has to work 77 days alone to pay for his or her share of the U.S. regulatory burden.

Cost of Government Day is not to be confused with Tax Freedom Day, which only accounts for how long it takes Americans to earn enough to pay their federal, state, and local taxes for the calendar year. This year Tax Freedom Day fell on April 12.  

Accounting for deficit spending is key in Cost of Government Day calculations. Federal spending, at 103 days, is the largest component, according to ATR.  Since 2001, there has been a 91.4 percent increase in federal spending.  Obama’s spending has created the three largest deficits in American history, and the federal deficit is the largest percentage of GDP it has been since WWII.  

The Toxic Asset Relief Program (TARP) and President Obama’s economic stimulus added six days alone this year to COGD.  

If the 2012 House budget plan authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) had become law, ATR estimates that COGD would decrease by 18 days.

To address a forecasted climb in COGD, ATR suggests two possible remedies: repeal TARP and the stimulus plan – and pay federal employees at the private sector market rate. If both were adopted, ATR estimates federal spending would decrease enough to move COGD back to Aug. 3.  

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