Conservatives Mark 'Cost Of Government Day'

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:27 PM EDT

( - Friday was dubbed "Cost of Government Day" on Capitol Hill, where several conservative groups proclaimed July 6 as the day at which Americans have earned enough gross income to gain "independence" from having to for the cost of federal, state and local government.

"When politicians control the purse-strings of American workers, they fatten government coffers at the expense of individual liberty," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. "This week, we celebrated the spirit of liberty and independence, but only two days before we began to work for ourselves."

Norquist also noted that according to calculations by ATR, a limited government group based in Washington, D.C., Americans worked "87 days to pay all federal taxes, 41 days to pay all state and local taxes, 35 days to pay the cost of federal regulations and 23 days to pay the cost of state regulations."

Capitalizing on the theme of this week's July 4th Holiday, Norquist said "the Founding Fathers fought long and hard to free us from the burdens of an obtrusive British government, but could they have imagined the day when citizens of the world's freest nation would have to work more than half of the year to comply with the costs of the state?"

Several organizations also used Friday's event to call on lawmakers and the Bush administration to take aggressive action to reduce taxes further, asking them to cut taxes deeper than the $1.35 trillion tax relief bill passed earlier this year.

Fueling the call for more tax relief, some say, is that Americans have worked more from year to year to pay for government programs.

"Cost of Government Day is three days later this year than in 2000," said Tom Schatz president of Citizens Against Government Waste, a Washington, D.C. group advocating lower taxes and greater fiscal discipline. "We're going in the wrong direction and taxpayers should be outraged by the government's ongoing waste of their hard-earned money."

Schatz added that both the House and the Senate are engaged in what he called a "massive porkfest."

"In a sign of their fiscal incontinence, members of the House couldn't even eliminate $200,000 for international asparagus competitiveness last year," Schatz said. "The massive porkfest on Capitol Hill clearly demonstrates that federal levies are too high."

Dan Mitchell, an economist with the Heritage Foundation, said federal taxes are the biggest tax burden on Americans, and accused politicians of not doing enough to reduce them.

"We should have more tax relief. We should have permanent tax relief," Mitchell said. "When you leave extra money sitting in Washington, politicians, Republicans and Democrats alike, act like sharks with blood in the water, they spend, they spend and they spend again.

"The best way to keep them from spending the money is to keep the money from coming to Washington in the first place," he said.

Mitchell added that Cost of Government Day should remind Americans of Ronald Reagan's quote, "government is the problem and not the solution."

"Too often in [Washington], whenever people see a problem, real or imagined, they say we need another program and we need more taxes and more regulations," Mitchell said. "Because politicians only want to look on the plus side of the ledger, they never look on the cost side.