Today (17 April) is Tax Freedom Day in the United States. Today, average Americans, who have been working every day for the sole benefit of the tax authorities, can finally have a beer and rejoice that, for the rest of the year they are working for themselves. It means Americans have to work 107 days of the year to earn enough money to pay this year's federal, state and local taxes.
Lucky them. Tax Freedom Day in the Britain, calculated annually by the Adam Smith Institute, does not come round for another six weeks – not until the 29th of May, to be precise. That means the average person in the UK will spend 149 days this year working for Chancellor George Osborne's tax gatherers. Including the extra Leap Year day, that is two whole days more slave labour than last year, when Tax Freedom Day fell on the 28th of May. (According to the Treasury's adjusted figures.)
And things here are actually even worse than that. As well as taking money off us in taxation, the government is also borrowing at record levels. And that debt will all have to be paid for eventually – by current and future taxpayers, of course. That, says the Adam Smith Institute, pushes the real cost-of-government day – when we have worked long enough to pay for both the government's taxes and its borrowing – out to 23 June.
ASI's Director, Dr Eamonn Butler, says "Tax Freedom Day, which we have been calculating for the last 25 years, is the plainest way to show what the tax burden really is. That is why the Treasury hates it. They of course want to conceal how much tax we pay, which is why they are so keen on stealth taxes."
"But we put in every tax, including stealth taxes – income tax, national insurance, council tax, excise duties, air passenger taxes, fuel and vehicle taxes and all the rest – and show just how long the average person has to work to pay their share of them all. The stark truth is that this burden costs us all XXX days of hard labour every year. That's not how long a rich person has to work – it is the time the average person must labour for the tax collectors."
"An increasing number of economists believe that Britain's taxes are too high and are choking off recovery. Some politicians say they need to keep taxes high in order to balance the government's books. But the trouble with governments is that they always spend everything they raise in tax – and then as much more as they can get away with borrowing. Just as the rest of us have had to cut back, so should the government. The UK economy would be a lot healthier for it."
Note to editors: Tax Freedom Day in the United States is calculated by The Tax Foundation, which uses the same methodology as the Adam Smith Institute in the UK. The UK figures have been compiled for the Adam Smith Institute by the award-winning City analyst, Miles Saltiel.