Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links, and to our pals over at The Daley Gator for the linkback!

If this doesn’t piss you off, I don’t know what will; Americans spend more on taxes than on health care, food and clothing.  Combined.  Excerpt:

Americans on average spent more on taxes in 2018 than they did on the basic necessities of food, clothing and health care combined, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey.

The survey’s recently published Table R-1 for 2018 lists the average “detailed expenditures” of what the BLS calls “consumer units.”

“Consumer units,” says BLS, “include families, single persons living alone or sharing a household with others but who are financially independent, or two or more persons living together who share major expenses.”

In 2018, according to Table R-1, American consumer units spent an average of $9,031.93 on federal income taxes; $5,023.73 on Social Security taxes (which the table calls “deductions”); $2,284.62 on state and local income taxes; $2,199.80 on property taxes; and $77.85 on what BLS calls “other taxes.”

The combined payments the average American consumer unit made for these five categories of taxes was $18,617.93.

At the same time the average American consumer unit was paying these taxes, it was spending $7,923.19 on food; $4,968.44 on health care; and $1,866.48 on “apparel and services.”

These combined expenditures equaled $14,758.11.

So, the $14,758.11 that the average American consumer unit paid for food, clothing and health care was $3,859.82 less than the $18,617.93 it paid in federal, state and local income taxes, property taxes, Social Security taxes and “other taxes.”

And here’s the kicker; you can choose what clothing and food to buy, and even in our increasingly-controlled health care market you still have some leeway as to what coverage you want to pay for.  But taxes?  No.  That is money that is taken from you by force; if you don’t pay up, the government will send men with guns out to compel you to pay.

That’s because businesses can only persuade you to conduct a transaction.  Government can force you, and they damn well will.

And the genesis of this?  As I noted recently, until early in the 20th century the Imperial government only consumed about 3% of GDP.  Now that figure is about 20%, and it’s still going up.  We have passed 22 trillion in debt, counting unfunded liabilities, and that is almost certainly past the point of no return.  But the government continues to confiscate our resources and, increasingly, to interfere with our affairs.  The tax code is so complex that an entire industry has sprung up to help the citizens navigate the torturous and twisted paths of taxation.

I’d like to think that, eventually, some semblance of fiscal sanity will return to the Imperial City, but honestly, I’ve given up hope.  That ratchet only goes one way, True Believers, and that way ain’t in our favor.