Economy, Regs, & Taxes

Go File Those Taxes — It's Income Redistribution Day

Confiscating money from half the nation's citizens and giving it to the other half.

Nate Jackson · Apr. 15, 2015

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 a lot of it to the other half. (That’s an over-generalization, but you get the idea.) 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 114 days this year to fully pay for the burden of all the levels of government — three more days than last year. In other words, when you pay your taxes today you’ll still have to work another nine days just to actually pay them off.

Then again, not everyone pays income taxes. The top 20% of earners bring in 51.3% of all income and yet pay 83.9% of all federal income taxes. By contrast, the bottom 20% of earners actually receive money from Washington those in higher brackets. What was that about a “fair share” again?

Americans of all tax brackets spend 6.1 billion hours filing individual and business taxes — hours that could otherwise be spent producing wealth rather than redistributing it. The Mercatus Center estimates the cost of filing to be anywhere from $215 billion per year to nearly $1 trillion. Perhaps that’s because there are nearly 75,000 pages in the tax code.

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”?

Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t note that ObamaCare subsidies factored into millions of returns for the first time this year. And that’s going to mean a lot of, er, adjustments. According to Investor’s Business Daily’s Betsy McCaughey, “If you enrolled in ObamaCare in 2014 and got a subsidy to pay for it, you’re at risk of losing your refund. Surprise: You may even owe Uncle Sam money. Only 4% of people who signed up for ObamaCare got the correct subsidy, so a whopping 96% will see their tax bill adjusted, some up and others down. Who would design a system that’s right only 4% of the time?” Democrats, that’s who.

Oh, and some 800,000 customers got the wrong tax form, and some may have to wait months to sort out their tax returns.

All the while, the IRS is essentially rewriting ObamaCare provisions regarding tax credit eligibility. The Supreme Court will settle part of that problem in June (subsidies on federal vs. state exchanges), but the IRS is rewriting other provisions, too. Remember: You can trust the IRS!

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.

We close with the immortal words of Will Rogers: “The income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf has. Even when you make a tax form out on the level, you don’t know when it’s through if you are a crook or a martyr.”

Post script: Today, April 15th, Barack Obama has decreed that all flags are to be flown at half mast “as a Day of Remembrance for President Abraham Lincoln,” who was assassinated 150 years ago yesterday. We can think of other reasons to fly them at half mast, like the fact today is “Forced Income Redistribution Day,” or that Barack Obama is president.

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