Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cost of Government Day was Months Ago.

I ran into this page the other day claiming that the "cost of government" day was August 12th. By this they mean that Americans work until this day to pay for the cost of government.

This claim is absolutely bogus. I was tipped off by the fact that they were not only including the cost of the government, but the cost of the "regulatory burden" imposed by government. By this they mean they have a giant fudge factor that they can manipulate at will(if say they disagree with the party in power).

On top of this they include the costs, but they don't include the benefits. Surely Americans benefit from our road system. We would waste days of our lives if it wasn't as good as it is. There are many of these benefits we get from the government. An honest calculation would try to include time the government saves us in the equation to give an actual cost of government. Every day of work government saves you from doing would be subtracted, and every day they make you work to pay taxes or sit in line at DMV would be added to it.

Pretending we can calculate the balance of costs and benefits is silly though. It is too easy to manipulate numbers political gain. The only intellectually honest way of calculating "cost of government" day is to simply look at what percentage of the GDP is government spending. That is the percentage of our work that goes to supporting the government. In 2009 this was 45.2%. Which works out to "cost of government" day being June 4th. Still rather scary in how late in the year it is, but it is more than two months earlier than the Americans for Tax Reform Center would have you believe(they claim it is 224 days, the real number is 164 days).

No comments: