Tax Freedom Day: A Different Kind of Labor Day

September 1, 2007

As Americans prepare to celebrate the Labor Day and enjoy their day away from work, it is worth reflecting on how we spend the fruits of our labor—in particular, how much we spend on government in the form of taxes.

Of course, Labor Day is not intended to have anything to do with reelection on tax burdens (click here for a history of the holiday from the Department of Labor). But any serous discussion of Americans’ work should take into account the benefits we gain from working, including the ability to support ourselves and the ability to support our government—with the latter sometimes interfering with the former.

Every year we calculate Tax Freedom Day, the day on which the nation has earned enough income to pay its total tax bill—federal, state and local. This year, Americans worked until April 30—32.7% of the year—just to pay taxes. That equals two hours and 35 minutes out of every eight-hour workday. That’s longer than we worked to pay for food, clothing and housing combined.

One important question we should consider this Labor Day is: Are the government services that taxpayers receive worth this amount of labor? And are the fruits of our labor used efficiently by federal, state and local lawmakers?

How Long America Works to Pay Taxes in Days Compared to
Other Major Spending Categories
(click image to enlarge)

Click here for the full Tax Freedom Day report. Click here for a recent Tax Foundation/ Harris Interactive® opinion poll on taxes.


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