Congratulations, America: Cost of Government Day Finally Arrives for 2013!
Every year, the Cost of Government Center, in partnership with Americans for Tax Reform Foundation, calculates the Cost of Government Day. This is the day on which the average American has earned enough income to pay off his or her share of the spending and regulatory burdens imposed by government at the federal, state and local levels.
In 2013, Cost of Government Day (COGD) falls on Saturday, July 13. Working people must toil 194 days out of the year just to meet all the costs imposed by government. This year marks the fifth consecutive year COGD has fallen in July. Prior to the Obama Administration, the latest Cost of Government Day recorded was June 27.
Compared to the size of the economy, the cost of government makes up 53 percent of annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2013.
Cost of Government Day falls three days earlier in 2013 than in the previous year. This reflects a very slow trend of earlier Cost of Government Days following notable victories for taxpayers in battles over federal spending these last three years.
Unfortunately, taxpayers in many states will have to work past the national COGD to pay for the costs of their state governments. Notoriously high-tax, big-spending states such as California, Illinois and New York have some of the latest Cost of Government Days in the nation. However, the last COGD of the year will once again be celebrated in Connecticut on August 31.
But an earlier national Cost of Government Day illustrates the importance of recent federal budget battles. Starting in 2010 when Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, significant reductions have been made to discretionary spending. Following the implementation of the Budget Control Act of 2011, discretionary spending is now projected to be lower than it has ever been in the modern era.
This means policymakers have their work cut out for them. Unemployment remains near 8 percent, employers are paralyzed by the uncertainty of cascading taxes and regulations, Americans families are facing higher taxes and entitlement programs are barreling towards bankruptcy. Washington is once again facing a debt limit showdown this fall; another critical moment for institutionalizing lasting spending reform. If lawmakers fail to seize this opportunity, taxpayers may once again be facing later Cost of Government Days in the future.