April 15, 2014

Income Redistribution Day — How Much, Where It Goes and Who Collects It

Today is that most mirthless of days, April 15, tax filing day, or as we’ve long dubbed it, “Income Redistribution Day.”

Today is that most mirthless of days, April 15, tax filing day, or as we in our humble shop have long dubbed it, “Income Redistribution Day.” It’s the day each year when government confiscates money from about half the nation’s citizens, and gives that money to the other half. (That’s an over-generalization, but you get the idea.) But at least they didn’t choose April 19 – Patriots’ Day – for tax filing. In honor of today, here are a few things to remember about taxes and the IRS.

It will take Americans 111 days this year to fully pay for the burden of government. In other words, when you pay your taxes today you’ll still have to work another six days just to actually pay them off.

Where did your tax money go? Just shy of half of all federal tax revenue goes to major entitlements – Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other health care programs. (Before we move on, to be crystal clear, some government benefits are “earned,” like Social Security or military benefits. These stand in contrast to “unearned” benefits of welfare, food stamps and the like.) Another 20% goes to various wealth transfer programs like unemployment benefits and food stamps. That’s more than two-thirds of the federal budget that goes from your pocket to someone else’s. See why we call it “Income Redistribution Day”?

National defense takes 18% of federal spending, but it’s one of the few things the federal government is currently doing that’s actually enumerated in the Constitution. Meanwhile, interest on the debt consumes 6% of the budget. And finally, the Heritage Foundation’s Amy Payne writes, “Your 2013 tax dollars covered only 80 cents of every dollar spent by the federal government. The other 20 cents were borrowed from younger generations.”

Speaking of borrowing from younger generations, and also going back to our point about half the nation paying taxes, consider this: Some 80% of Americans pay more in payroll taxes than they do in income taxes. Payroll taxes “fund” the two biggest federal entitlements – Social Security and Medicare. For those who don’t think Social Security is an entitlement because you’re entitled to the money you paid in, please note that today’s workers are paying for today’s retirees, and there are fewer workers per retiree now than ever. There is no trust fund. If you’re retired, we’re shocked – shocked – to say that politicians lied to you and spent your money a long time ago. Social Security is quickly headed for insolvency.

No amount of revenue is ever enough to quench Democrats’ thirst for Big Government. In fact, while Barack “Tax Man” Obama likes to talk a good game about getting the “wealthy” to pay their “fair share” and sparing the middle class and the poor from a big tax burden, he has sought 442 tax increases since occupying the Oval Office. Fortunately, most of those never made it into law. He did, however, successfully raise taxes substantially on the top two income tax brackets, while at the same time ending the temporary payroll tax break, beginning in January 2013. The latter tax hike hit the middle class and especially the poor, while the former nailed small businesses, which in turn don’t then hire workers. And ObamaCare, of course, is one of the largest tax increases ever foisted on the nation, Obama’s lies to the contrary notwithstanding.

The agency collecting your tax dollars, the IRS, has been guilty of serious malfeasance ever since Obama took office. Despite Obama’s insistence that there’s not a “smidgen of corruption” at the IRS, former official Lois Lerner admitted last May that the IRS was targeting Tea Party and Patriot groups for additional scrutiny – all to aid in Obama’s re-election. In fact, it just recently came to light that IRS employees were urging taxpayers to re-elect Obama. The whole episode has completely undermined any confidence citizens might have had in the impartiality of the agency charged with collecting federal revenue.

In related news, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen announced Monday that the IRS will re-propose its rule change for tax-exempt groups after hearing withering criticism from both Right and Left. The change drew a record 150,000 comments. But does anyone think criticism from the Right alone would have done the trick? Koskinen then had the gall to complain about the agency’s funding being “cut” by the sequester. What about the economic hit created by the higher taxes that his corrupt agency is collecting?

All told, today is a day to take stock of how a government that provides everything for its citizens can become a massive burden. It’s not just financial, either – it’s an issue of trust, power and the future of our great nation.

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