Tax freedom day gets later and later

April 15, tax day, was Monday of this week.

We all are aware of that day, although we should become more familiar with tax “freedom” day. It was April 16 this year, according to The Tax Foundation, which means all the money you have earned since the first of the year will go to the government.

In 2009, tax freedom day was April 8. In the last 10 years, we have added an extra week to the time we must work for Uncle Sam and his cousins at the state and local level. In 1910, tax freedom day was Jan. 19. That’s right, you worked less than three weeks to cover the price of government. Now, it has more than quadrupled.

How long will this trend continue. Will we soon be working through May, then June, just to fund our government? At what point do the people say enough is enough? Learn to live on less, Uncle Sam. That is what you are forcing us to do.

Here’s a question. Do you work more days to pay for your housing or your federal taxes? The average citizen works 68 days to pay their federal taxes and 62 days to pay for housing. And to think, the colonies went to war with Great Britain over a tax on tea.

Here’s another. Do you work more days to pay for state and local taxes or for your food? The answer is state and local taxes. You work 41 days to pay those and only 30 days to pay for food. In 1930, tax freedom day was Feb. 12. Work until then and you would have earned enough to pay all your taxes.

Today, it doesn’t even cover the state and local tax.

Want another? How many days do you have to work to pay for clothes and accessories? How many days do you have to work to pay sales tax? It’s 16 days on the job to pay a year’s worth of sales tax and 13 days to buy your clothes. By 1940, tax freedom day had moved out to March 7.

Year after year, the growth of government grows faster than personal income. As this continues, people must work more days to pay for it. Right now, the State of Michigan is in the process of raising our gasoline tax again. If Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gets her way, it will increase by 45 cents per gallon, making the total tax over a dollar a gallon, by far the highest in the nation, and adding another day or two you will have to work to pay it.

What’s another day or two we have to work to pay this new tax? The problem is that every governmental body thinks the same thing. It’s not that much, yet they keep piling it on.

Here’s a quick breakdown of how many days you work to pay your taxes:

∫ Personal Income tax: 42 days

∫ Social Security and payroll tax: 26

∫ Sales tax: 15

∫ Property tax: 11

∫ Corporate taxes (remember, corporations get their money from you): 5

∫ Other taxes: 6

All together, that’s 105 days, or 840 hours out of an average 2,080 hours a person works every year. The time has come for our governments to slow their growth, improve efficiency, and cut waste. Maybe we are asking too much of our government, but, then again, maybe government is asking too much from us.

Thomas Jefferson said, “I predict future happiness for Americans, if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”

Speaking of happiness, I recently read in The Alpena News that the U.S. just dropped from 18th to 19th on the global happiness index. Seems Jefferson maybe have had it right. In America, happiness seems to decline as taxes increase. Makes perfect sense to me!

What are your thoughts? More government and more taxes, or less government and fewer taxes? Let me know at

Greg Awtry is the former publisher of the Scottsbluff (Neb.) Star-Herald and Nebraska’s York News-Times. He is now retired and living in Hubbard Lake. Greg can be contacted at