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April 15 2014

Tax Day: Where Does All the Money Go?

Gayle Trotter

Today, Americans will file approximately 143,600,000 federal individual income tax returns to comply with federal law and pay approximately one trillion real, hard-earned dollars to the U.S. Treasury. 

Despite the checks Americans will painfully send to the IRS today, the government will spend more than it takes in. Added to prior years' deficits, this year spending will create a projected $17.9 trillion federal debt by the end of 2014. The government spends more than 22.9 percent of our entire economy.

Much of this money goes for our vast outlay on entitlements. The Obama administration uses the poor and struggling Americans as justification for this vast federal overreach and unsustainable expenditures. Under President Obama dependency has grown by leaps and bounds.

We currently face a record high number of people receiving food assistance through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.  In 2012, 46 million individuals received food assistance, meaning 15 percent of our country’s population (almost 47 million individuals) received benefits under the program. Previously, children and seniors primarily received assistance. Now, most participants are working-age adults.

Under President Obama’s latest budget proposal, by 2020 the U.S. will spend more on interest payments on debt — not including principal payments — than on the entire defense budget.  Paying more to debt service than protecting our nation threatens our security.  Being highly leveraged necessarily means that paying for entitlements, rather than our national interest apart from these encumbrances, will drive foreign policy decisions.

 Who doesn’t want hungry people to eat? Unfortunately, this administration has created an economy that makes it less likely that they will be able to take care of their economic needs and makes government dependency attractive.  

President Obama, based on the number of tax hikes he has proposed (many of which fortunately were blocked, but we are still over-taxed) would rather raise taxes on working Americans, run up the balance on federal credit cards, and expand a vast bureaucracy of soul-sucking forms, lines, and even humiliation, than embrace policies that promote prosperity. He could begin by approving the Keystone XL pipeline, lift the export ban on crude oil and open up opportunities such as $80,000 per year jobs driving trucks (as is happening in energy boom state Texas) or $17 per hour jobs working at an entry level job at Wal-Mart (as is happening in energy boom state North Dakota)?

But for the current administration raising taxes in the name of the poor, who would benefit far more from prosperity and a job-rich economy, is the only game it seems to know.

“I’m all for helping those in need,” said one frustrated Democratic voter after realizing what she owes in taxes this year, “But now I’m getting screwed.”

Of course, we want to help the poor and struggling Americans, but the way to do that isn’t ever higher taxes. A thriving economy, ironically, brings in more tax revenue than raising taxes in a sluggish economy. So, as Americans send in money today, we have every right to wonder if the tax system is helping or hurting the country.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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