Economy, Regs, & Taxes

Emancipation Day, or Income Redistribution Day?

The only thing being emancipated these days is the money from our wallets.

Nate Jackson · Apr. 15, 2016

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.” Well, sort of. The Internal Revenue Service has moved the official filing deadline to Monday, April 18. Is that good news, or does it just belabor the pain?

Just in case you were tempted to thank our benevolent overlords for the extra time to wade through the 74,608-page tax code, Jason Russell of the Washington Examiner explains the change: “[Washington, DC] celebrates Emancipation Day every April 16 to recognize the day President Lincoln signed the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act, freeing more than 3,000 slaves in the district. But since April 16 is a Saturday, the Emancipation Day celebration gets moved up to Friday, April 15. Almost no one other than city employees gets the day off, but that’s enough of a reason for the IRS to move Tax Day.”

The only thing being emancipated these days is the money from our wallets.

Unfortunately, tax filing day doesn’t mean you’re actually done working to pay your taxes. As we noted last week, the Tax Foundation says Tax Freedom Day will arrive on April 24 this year. That’s just about the same amount of time Americans had to work last year in order to fill the government maw. Tax Freedom Day marks when the whole nation has worked long enough to pay off all federal, state and local taxes — 114 days for a collective 31% tax rate. After that, the fruits of our labor are ours to keep. And statists think they’re being generous to “give” you that much.

It’s worth remembering too that 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 thanks to those in the higher brackets. What was that about a “fair share” again?

Yet it’s never enough for Democrats. Socialist Bernie Sanders wants to raise taxes by a staggering $20 trillion over 10 years. He’d like you to believe that’s just on the “rich,” but such a massive hike would hit everyone hard.

One silver lining: Despite actual and proposed income redistribution, generosity thrives in America. Our fellow citizens are the most generous in the world.

Straight up wealth transfer is the main reason we call it “Income Redistribution Day,” but plain old government waste is another. Citizens Against Government Waste puts out an annual “Pig Book” listing the crazy ways in which our “representatives” spend our money.

In but one example of waste, this year’s edition notes that the government spent “$3,000,000 for the Delta Regional Authority (DRA), which also received a $3 million earmark in the Agriculture Appropriations bill in FYs 2014 and 2015. However, in FY 2016, the DRA received an additional earmark costing $10,064,000 in the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, for a combined total of $13,064,000, an increase of 335.5 percent over the past earmarks.”

Worse, the Pig Book continues, “According to the Republican Study Committee’s FY 2016 budget, funding for the DRA should be terminated because such regional commissions are duplicative of other federal programs and support mostly local projects. Support for cutting DRA funds is bipartisan, as President Obama’s FY 2017 version of Cuts, Consolidations, and Savings recommended reducing the agency’s budget by $3 million annually.”

Today is a day to ponder how a government that sees itself as providing everything for its citizens can become so oppressive. It’s not just financial, either; these are issues 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.”

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