Mike Whalen is the president and CEO of Heart of America Group and a member of the Job Creators Alliance.
This week, millions of Americans were painfully reminded of just how much of their hard-earned money goes to fund Uncle Sam's spending addiction. Tax Day was on Tuesday, April 17, the deadline for filing taxes for 2012. As the Heritage Foundation points out, April 17 was also Tax Freedom Day: the day when Americans finally earn enough income to pay off the bill for all federal, state, and local taxes for the year. It was four days later than last year, due to higher taxes, according to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation.
Tax Day (and the weeks and months leading up to it) reminds most Americans just how broken, complicated, and burdensome the current tax code is. According to the National Taxpayer Advocate, U.S. taxpayers and businesses spend about 6.1 billion hours a year to comply with the tax code. Further, the National Federation of Independent Business estimates that it costs between $18 and $19 billion every year for small business owners to comply—think of the jobs that could've been created or enterprises that could've been improved with those resources!
Compounding the frustration exponentially is the way the federal government spends our money once they have it. Our national debt is now over $15.6 trillion. If an American family earning the U.S. median income of $49,445 spent their money the way Uncle Sam spends ours, they would be in $29,572 of debt…in just one year. That's over half their income. Can you imagine what that would be like in over five years? Or 10?
The reality is, no working family or small business would ever conduct their fiscal affairs the way our government does. If I ran my business that way, I wouldn't have one. If I handled my family's finances that way, we'd be living on the street.
And yet, in spite of the recklessness that has defined the federal government, they want to make the next Tax Day even more painful than this year's by raising taxes. It's not enough, apparently, that we have the highest corporate tax rate in the world, while the president wants to raise taxes in the years to come—in particular, on the job creators like me. And as I've said before, higher taxes mean less revenue for companies like mine to invest in growing their business and hiring more employees.
The last thing we need are higher taxes—for anyone, but especially on the businesses in our society who do the hiring. I'll know that government has gotten its house in order when Tax Days start getting less painful, not more—but I'm not holding my breath.