by Daniel Gardner
When was the last time you read the U.S. Tax Code? How about the Affordable Care Act with its 17,000-plus pages of bureaucratic regulations? Never? Me neither. And yet, we are legally required to abide by these laws and regulations under penalty of law. Big brother is smothering us under a growing avalanche of paperwork.
This year we celebrate 100 years of income taxes. In 1913, political progressives finally achieved institution of income taxes to grow the federal government. You know politicians. 'We won't tax the little guy…just the fat cats, those who can afford to put a little money into the pot for the common good.'
The first year the government collected income taxes, only those making $463,826 (in 2013 dollars) or more paid income taxes. Tax brackets ranged from 1-percent to 7-percent for the highest earners, those making more than $11,595,657 (in 2013 dollars). Since then our elected representatives have created thousands of pages of tax forms for all kinds of income and deductions and caveats. Does anybody really know what's in all those pages? No more than anybody really knows what's in Obamacare and its attending 17,000-plus pages of regulations.
You realize, of course, Obamacare not only adds more taxes for us all, but simultaneously grows the federal bureaucracy increasing deficits and our national debt which has increased about 70-percent under President Obama's leadership. Has your personal debt increased that much in the past four-and-a-half years? What would you do personally if your credit card debt had almost doubled and you were struggling to pay just the interest?
Well, Washington's approach is to print more money and to raise taxes while adding new bureaucracies making government even bigger.
Federal bureaucracies' jobs are to create regulations, and they're very good at what they do. For example, the Small Business Administration estimated businesses in America paid $1.752 trillion in 2008 to comply with federal regulations. In 2012 alone, President Obama added $236 billion more in new regulations on businesses annually.
The Federal Register documents all regulations coming out of Washington. The past three years have seen nearly quarter million pages of new regulations with 77,000 pages in 2012, 81,247 pages in 2011, and 81,405 pages in 2010. In other words Washington is crushing businesses and our economy under the weight of all these regulations. And some still wonder why our economy is struggling under the Obama administration?
Five years ago we saw the collapse of the banking, market, and housing industries. George W. Bush bailed out financial institutions, and in the spring of 2009 Barack Obama stimulated "shovel-ready" jobs with nearly $1 trillion. We rose out of recession officially in June 2009, with a remarkable 4-percent growth in GDP. Since then GDP has languished below 2-percent and unemployment has remained at historically high levels.
In the next few weeks Washington will fight over raising the debt ceiling, passing a continuing resolution, shutting down the government, and triggering another national credit downgrade…oh, and blaming "the other side" for all of this carnage.
Taxpayers can't afford Washington to fix any more problems. The federal bureaucracy is killing us under hundreds of thousands of pages nobody has ever read. The only change in Washington we've seen under President Obama is change for the worse.