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April 15: What Does Your Government Owe You?

Updated on March 7, 2014

If you look ahead of you, you can see that you're fast approaching the exit ramp that takes you to April 15, that day in the American calendar when you find out what you owe the government. But have you ever wondered whether your government is making good on its debt to you, the taxpayer?

Carla Howell of the Center for Small Government proposes that government needs to shrink in order for the United States to function as it was intended, if America is going to function as the Founding Fathers planned and in order to serve the greater good of the citizens. In her article "Everything You Need to Know about Big Government, But Were Afraid to Ask," she warns readers that if they suffer from heart disease, or clinical depression, or merely frustration from problems that won't be quickly solved, they might want to avoid reading what she's written. But assuming that you're either in perfect health or you're taking your medication as ordered, you'll want to read what she's written about the size of the government that claims to represent your interests because, as you gather your receipts and make your appointment to have your income tax prepared, you should be aware of just what you're paying for.

Did you know...

"Regulations force individuals, businesses, political organizations, and charities to satisfy thousands upon thousands of government mandates — at our expense.

Big Government Regulations directly cost Americans at least $1.5 trillion, and possibly $3 trillion — or more — every year.

The indirect cost is immeasurable. These regulations force you to pay higher prices for the goods and services you buy. They take away many of your choices. They cost you a lot of precious time." Carla Howell

According to Howell, approximately half of every dollar that you earn goes to federal, state, and local government. That's around $4.8 trillion dollars. In addition to the dollars, Americans spend six billion hours every year in the process of preparing their taxes--filing, saving and sorting their receipts, meeting with lawyers and tax accountants, not to mention being audited. Maybe you're okay with that, figuring that it's the price you pay for being a citizen of the most powerful country the world has ever known. But have you thought about the other things that you pay for, and what they cost you, in terms of both money and time? Carla Howell has, and after you read her list, you might want to join the growing movement to reclaim your freedom by making government smaller. You pay taxes on soft drinks, you pay turnpike tolls, and you’re taxed for everything in between from alcohol to airline tickets. As Howell puts it, the cost of food, utilities, housing, prescription drugs, college tuition, and nearly everything that Americans pay for costs more, not only because of taxes, but because of fees and regulation that add to the expense.

And what do taxpayers receive in exchange? According to the Center for Small Government, your dollars and time are funding a Big Government that fails to perform effectively and productively and simply doesn't work. The programs that are created to solve problems, such as welfare and government subsidies for businesses, fail to enable the recipients--whether human or corporate--to become self-supporting. Programs that were created by the government evolve into new problems. For example, the government funding for medical care meant that health care facilities and staff became accountable not to the patients that they treated, but to the government that funded the coverage. While government-funded programs work with billions of tax dollars, charities and service organizations have to make every dollar, which is given voluntarily, do as much as it can, in order to satisfy both the needs of the recipients and the expectations of the donors, to whom the organizations are directly accountable.

Partial List of Taxes - Can you think of other ways we are taxed? Leave a message and I will add to the chart.

As its name implies, the Center for Small Government believes that big government is the problem, and small government is the solution. Small government can run efficiently and with thrift, while encouraging the self-sufficiency of its citizens and trusting to the charitable organizations whose mission is to serve to provide help for those in need. If you believe that small government is the answer, you may want to take the small government pledge. Doing that might lower your blood pressure and elevate your mood as you get ready to pay the bill that Uncle Sam has sent to you. You answer to the government every year in April, but every other year in November, the government answers to you.

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    • profile image

      Jayfort 

      4 years ago

      And that is my point with the Fair Tax. It is not implemented until the 16th Amendment and all other subsequent taxes are done away with.

    • dragonflyfla profile imageAUTHOR

      dragonflyfla 

      4 years ago from South Florida

      What concerns me about the flat tax is that we could end up with a flat tax and a income tax, aka VAT in Europe!

    • profile image

      Jayfort 

      4 years ago

      You are most welcome, Dragon! Just trying to spread the word. Both a flat tax and the Fair Tax have pluses and minuses but overall, the Fair Tax is preferable.

    • dragonflyfla profile imageAUTHOR

      dragonflyfla 

      4 years ago from South Florida

      Hi Jay:

      You are right! It is the Fair Tax I am for. Thank you so much for making re-look into the differences! I won't forget this time. Anybody else that is interested may see a comparison of the two tax proposals here: http://hub.me/agktS

    • dragonflyfla profile imageAUTHOR

      dragonflyfla 

      4 years ago from South Florida

      I am going to have to re- research the differences. I know both of them are very similar! As far as covering all essential government functions - that is always open to hot debates! :-)

    • profile image

      Jayfort 

      4 years ago

      Critics of the Fair Tax always claim that it will supplement existing taxes. Explicit in the Fair Tax law it that the 16th Amendment and business taxes must be repealed first then replaced with the Fair Tax. At 23%, all essential government functions are covered while putting all funding into the open for public oversight.

      Additionally, it is only on NEW products and services. Buy a NEW car, pay the tax. Buy a USED car, uh uh! With the existing tax structure, business pass along their tax costs within the cost of their products/services. A $1.o0 item has approximately $0.26 in taxes built into the cost. With the business taxes repealed, you would still pay roughly the same $1.00 and that's it. No, additional taxes passed along to you or paid by you.

      I love that it basically guts the IRS and the billions spent each year in getting tax forms completed. The new tax form would be about the size of a post card and ask your name and address, how many people live in your household, and how much you make. Biff bam boom! Mail it in!

      If you get a chance, read the two books on the subject by Neal Boortz and John Linder. They spell out the Fair Tax very well without being boring about it!

    • dragonflyfla profile imageAUTHOR

      dragonflyfla 

      4 years ago from South Florida

      I agree with repealing the 16th amendment. It is unconstitutional and should have never been passed.

      The fair tax and the flat tax are very similar, but I believe the fair tax has a higher risk of not repealing the 16th amendment and leaving us with the tax system we currently have and a national tax on top of it like many European countries have done.

      23% seems awfully high - how about no higher than 10%!

    • profile image

      Jayfort 

      4 years ago

      I would prefer the Fair Tax. I've done significant research about it and it is a solid plan. Repeal the 16th Amendment (doing away with all income taxes), repeal the heavy tax burdens on business and industry (to encourage them to bring the $13 Trillion they have stashed overseas back to invest in new infrastructure, products, and JOBS!), institute a 23% tax on the sales of all new products and services (to REPLACE not supplement existing taxes), drastically downsize the IRS (can I get an AMEN to that?), and reduce the costs of filing taxes dramatically (you can fill it out yourself on something the size of a postcard!). It's finally gaining some traction in Congress!

    • profile image

      retief2000 

      4 years ago

      That too, or the Fair Tax Plan, either way it would greatly diminish the power of the central government and return it to the people and the states - where it belongs.

    • dragonflyfla profile imageAUTHOR

      dragonflyfla 

      4 years ago from South Florida

      Hi Retief200 - I would feel better if it were a flat tax instead of the political loops hole our politicians are able to use to their benefit with our current tax system.

    • profile image

      retief2000 

      4 years ago

      I would feel better about paying taxes if I was presented with an itemized bill for services received rather than being forced to justify keeping what I earned through my own hard work.

    • dragonflyfla profile imageAUTHOR

      dragonflyfla 

      4 years ago from South Florida

      They sure have expanded their responsibilities and have too many people believing it is constitutional!

    • profile image

      Jayfort 

      4 years ago

      The Founding Fathers felt the role of the Federal government was to:

      1) Provide for the common defense from outside threats.

      2) Resolve issues involving multiple states.

      3) Forge treaties with foreign governments.

      4) Regulate commerce between the states.

      5) Deliver the mail.

      Everything else was the responsibility of the States or the Individuals.

      The only thing I'd like from the government is the one thing I'll probably never get to collect which is my Social Security monies contributed by my employers and me over the years.

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