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Oh, freedom! (freedom!)

Freedom! (freedom!)

Oh, freedom! Freedom!

--Aretha Franklin

What a coincidence, this. Just yesterday was April 15, and We the Procrastinating People went to the post office to send Uncle Sam his cut of our hard work. That is, those of us who didn't give him an interest-free loan for a year, thus getting back refunds.

T.S. Eliot called April the cruelest month, mixing memory and desire. But throw in Tax Day on April 15, and the month is expensive, too.

Today is April 16, and what a coincidence, it's also Tax Freedom Day as calculated by The Tax Foundation.

Today is the day when Americans as a whole have earned enough to pay their taxes for the year--federal, state and local. Nearly a third of the way through the year, Americans will finally begin working for themselves. A third of the year! God only asks for 10 percent.

For those of us lucky enough to live in Arkansas, Tax Freedom Day came a little earlier, on April 8. Be thankful for that. In New York state, folks will be working into May before they've paid off the government.

Now imagine how long we'd have to work if we really wanted to pay the government for what it spends in our name. That is, if we included this year's federal borrowing, too. It's strange how the Republican Party will complain about government spending, and claim to be the party of deficit scolds, when it's only the opposition party. But give it control of the government, and its leaders spend like good Democrats.

This year, the federal government is running a deficit 15 percent higher than last year. The Treasury projects the deficit will go over a trillion dollars this year. That's the deficit, not the debt. Gosh, we may have to work until summer to catch up with what the government actually spends.

But that's an editorial for another day. Today we celebrate.

Sort of.

It's doubtful there'll be many fireworks today. Because if today is a day of freedom, we've still had the cuffs on much too long.

Go back to 1900, and Tax Freedom Day came on Jan. 22. And the way things are going, this day might come much, much later. Just look at those who are applying for President Donald Trump's job:

Bernie Sanders wants to make college tuition-free and debt-free, which is impossible. There's one lesson the Vermont senator has yet to learn: There is no free lunch. "Tuition-free" and "debt-free" means taxpayer-funded. Somebody is going to pay. College will never be free as long as professors are paid, books are sold and students still eat.

He's also pushing Medicare for All, a plan that would cost anywhere from $25 trillion to $35 trillion over a decade. Guess who'd pay for that?

Kamala Harris wants to reverse the Trump tax cuts and supports Medicare for All, too. Cory Booker wants reparations for slavery, or at least a government study of it. And who knows what idea Elizabeth Warren will want to "have a conversation about" tomorrow.

And now the candidates for the 2020 Democratic nomination have to walk across this minefield concerning the Green New Deal--which, if actually implemented, would cost the economy trillions more. If they want the progressive vote, and every Democrat does, they might have to talk a good game about the GND, else be considered too moderate.

This year, Americans will pay $3.4 trillion in federal taxes alone. And nearly $2 trillion more in local and state taxes. We will pay more in taxes than we will on food, clothing and housing combined.

Today, however, we can start putting money back into our own food and housing. And into life. Maybe Americans will figure out a way to celebrate this one day. Maybe we can send flowers to ourselves.

So enjoy your drive to work this morning, y'all. The next paycheck you bring home will be yours. After withholding, of course.

Editorial on 04/16/2019

Print Headline: Tax Freedom Day

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