On April 15, U.S. taxpayers will pay the last installment on their duty to government for 2003. The bill for federal, state, and local government totaled a staggering $3.3 trillion, of which one out of every seven dollars was in the form of “buy now, pay later” deficits, principally the federal one.
Federal spending accounted for two thirds of the tax bill, nearly all of which was levied on incomes in the form of personal, corporate, and social-insurance income taxes. The remaining third, funding state and local spending, was raised primarily by indirect property and sales taxes, plus fees.
It is difficult to put this scale of government in perspective, since Gross National Product (GNP) accounting obfuscates both the size and the proportion of government spending. Using National Income, government takes $38 out of every $100 of income. Even this is misleading, however, because income thus defined includes unproductive transfer payments for welfare and social insurance. Corrected for this, government consumes $45 out of every $100 of productive national income.
The average working family pays through government confiscation the equivalent of the income it retains, as if supporting an additional indolent family. Such submission to government confiscation can only be properly described as serfdom.
How did a country founded on a tax revolt and constituted...