(CNSNews.com) - The Americans for Tax Reform has declared today as 'Cost of Government Day'. According to ATR, this means that the average American worker has earned enough in gross income to pay off his or her federal, state and local government-imposed financial obligations.
"This year people worked till May 3rd just to pay their taxes on average. But you have to also add the cost of regulations to get the real cost of government. This year, it takes us till June 16th to work and to pay the taxes for the true cost of government, federal, state and local," according to Grover Norquist, President of ATR.
But the news on the 'Cost of Government Day' front is getting better, Norquist said.
"The Cost of Government day has been moving over the last several years. The good news is it's been getting a little bit better because the economy has been growing faster than the federal, state and local governments have been spending," Norquist told a Capitol Hill news conference.
In its report on the 'Cost of Government Day', ATR said the total cost of government in 2000 is estimated at $3.86 trillion, up from $3.72 trillion in 1999. That equates to a cost of $14,400 for the average American.
ATR also estimates that the average American will work 167 days to pay for his or her share of the government. That means the average American worker spends 46 percent of the calendar year working for the government.
Total government regulatory costs will take $1.1 trillion from taxpayers in 2000. That's $4,105 for every man, woman and child in America. Besides that, the average American will work 38 days to pay for the cost of federal regulations and 59 days to pay for their share of state and local spending and regulations.
Adding further to the cost of government, ATR says, "The federal government employs nearly 130 workers to issue and enforce federal regulations through more than 50 departments and agencies. This regulatory army costs taxpayers almost $20 billion per year."
'Cost of Government Day' last year fell on June 22. In 1998, it fell on June 21.
House Republican Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) told the news conference, "It is a disgrace that the cost of government eats up every penny that the American people earn for the first 167 days out of each year."
However, Armey says things are improving.
"When we (Republicans) became the majority in 1995, the 'Cost of Government Day' was July 2nd, now its June 16th. Why?: Because we Republicans are eliminating government waste. Maybe not enough soon enough, but at least enough so it's starting to show up in our lives as working Americans," Armey said.
Armey went on to say, "We (House Republicans) believe that if we continue to eliminate government waste, we will reduce the burden of bloated, wasteful and inefficient government on working Americans."
Peter Sperry, an economist with the Heritage Foundation, had some "bad news" for the American people on this 'Cost of Government Day'.
"Unfortunately, I'm sad to report that your tax overpayments are coming in even faster than the federal government can spend them. We did a study of the buildup in the cash accounts at the Treasury Department and found that they've reached record levels because they can't pay off the national debt as fast as the surplus revenue is coming in the door," Sperry told the news conference.
"They (the Treasury Department) are reaching the point," Sperry continued, "where they're going to have $60 billion in cash on hand. Now, most people, when the tub is overflowing, turn down the faucet. Nevertheless, Congress has tried their best, but the President continues to say that tax relief is "risky." But what we recognize as risky is leaving this amount of cash on the table, unobligated in a fashion where it's going to sooner or later get spent on something frivolous that will do the American people no good."
Sperry called on Congress to reform the nation's tax code so that people "would not be sending too much money to Washington to build up in these accounts which basically just sit there and don't even gather interest."
Steve Moore of the conservative political action group, "Club For Growth," thinks the figures that ATR found for 'Cost of Government Day' are grounds for the impeachment of both President Clinton and Vice President Gore.
"You look at these numbers, and you realize that Bill Clinton and Al Gore should be impeached. Impeached not because of obstruction of justice or perjury but because of violating the constitution. The role of the government and the constitution is supposed to be very small and defined, and yet, if you look at the Clinton-Gore budget proposal that came out in January, Bill Clinton and Al Gore proposed $10 trillion of new spending over the next five years," Moore said.
Moore went on to say, "We all know the television show 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire'. If you were on the show and won a million dollars every night, you'd have to be on that show for over 300 years before you accumulated $10 trillion."
Moore said, in order to move 'Cost of Government Day' earlier than June 16th in the future, Congress should eliminate the death tax (the bill is now before the Senate), reduce the capital gains tax and allow workers to put their payroll tax money into individual accounts.