Overview of Results


Cost of Government Day (COGD) is the date of the calendar year on which the average American worker has earned enough gross income to pay off his or her share of the spending and regulatory burden imposed by government at the federal, state and local levels.

Cost of Government Day 2012

The Cost of Government Day for 2012 is July 15. On average, workers must labor 197 days out of the year to pay for all the costs imposed by the government. From a different perspective, the cost of government makes up 54.0 percent of annual gross domestic product (GDP).

Cost of Government Day Trends

Cost of Government Day falls three days earlier than last year’s revised date of July 18. In 2012, the average American will have to work an additional 29 days to pay off his or her share of the cost of government compared to ten years ago in 2002, when COGD was June 16.
In fact, between 1977 and 2008, COGD had never fallen later than June 26. 2012 marks the fourth consecutive year COGD has fallen in July. The difference between 2008 and 2009—from June 23 to July 17—was a full 24 days. The increase was spurred by massive government intervention in the form of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA) that created the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).
While 2012 marks the second consecutive year of an earlier COGD, this trend will only be temporary absent lasting and institutionalized spending reform. The start of the 2012 fiscal year came and went once again without a federal budget in place and the threat of bankrupt entitlement spending continues to loom large. What’s more, the largest tax hike in the nation’s history is scheduled to take place at the end of 2012 unless Congress acts to protect taxpayers. If this tax increase is allowed to hit, COGD could permanently be pushed back into August and beyond.

2012 Report

Case Studies

Chart Room
COGD Launch Event: Sin Tax Party
Media Coverage
2011 Report