I can't wait. Tax Freedom Day is just three weeks away. Add up all the taxes paid by people in the UK – income tax, national insurance, VAT, fuel duty, taxes on alcohol and tobacco, council tax and all the rest. Then work out how long it takes us to earn enough to pay for all these taxes. Then you find that in 2013 the average UK citizen will be forced to hand over to the government everything they earn between New Year's Day and 30th May!
That's five months of the year working for the government, and only seven months of the year working for ourselves. Things don't seem to have moved on much from the feudal system, where the oppressed vassals were expected to work three days a week for the benefit of their lord. We have to work about the same for the benefit of the Chancellor.
The Adam Smith Institute has calculated Tax Freedom Day going back to the mid-1960s, and has published the figures annually since 1992. When England won the World Cup back in 1996, Tax Freedom Day fell on 2 May. That is a whole four weeks earlier than it will be this year. Another four weeks of indentured service to the state.
If you think that's bad, it gets worse. Governments spend everything they raise in taxes from us – and then borrow as much more as they can get away with. The trouble is that is it we taxpayers, or our children, who will have to pay back that debt. When you work out the total – what we call Cost of Government Day – we don't start enjoying the fruits ofour own labour until 13 July!
When people joke that they spend as much time working for the tax collector as they do working for themselves, they are spot on. They work slightly less than half their time to pay taxes, but slightly more in order to bail out the government's over-spending as well.
And it is no joke. High tax and government borrowing drains resources from productive uses, chokes off people's entrepreneurial spirit and reduces UK competitiveness. It really is time, Chancellor, to move Tax Freedom Day a lot earlier.