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Editorial: The Cost of Government Day

13 August 2011  
It took 224 days for the average American just to pay the costs imposed by the government.

cogdDo you know what event August 12 marked?

It was the national Cost of Government Day.

According to Americans for Tax Reform's Center for Fiscal Acountability website, August 12 is the day which, "...the average American has earned enough gross income to pay off his or her share of the spending and regulatory burdens imposed by government at the federal, state, and local levels."

That is 224 days of work, just to pay for the costs imposed by the government.

In 2008, the Cost of Government Day fell on July 16, about 27 days earlier than this year's.

In Arizona, we're actually a little better off than most states in the nation. Our own Cost of Government Day (COGD) falls on July 29. Folks that live in Connecticut don't 'celebrate' their COGD until September 10. Mississippi beats Arizona, however, by 10 days; their COGD falls on July 19.

If Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's budget were to be adopted, it would shave 18 days off the COGD by the end of a decade.

A couple of thoughts, here. With the state budget in the condition it was in, our legislators could have simply raised taxes to try to solve the problems - and then the COGD for Arizona would have been much later in the year than it is now.

Also, if you recall, as soon as Governor Jan Brewer took office, she declared a moratorium on regulations. According to the Fiscal Accountability website, "The Phoenix Center found that decreasing the power of regulators by shrinking their budgets by 5 percent would increase GDP by $376 billion and increase employment by 6.2 million over five years."

Over the last couple of years, our legislators and governor made tough choices - probably not perfect choices, but tough ones, as they worked hard to balance the budget without raising taxes or interfering with our lives any more than necessary.

But that means we must be self-sufficient, self-reliant. We must not rely on the government to fix everything for us, to pay our bills, to put food on our tables, to be our babysitters. We must do for ourselves and take care of our own needs.

That also might mean that we too, must make tough choices in our personal lives. We might eat out less, or have a Christmas that's a little more austere. We might have to simplify.

If we can do that, maybe Arizona's 2012 COGD will be the earliest in the year.

Download the entire Cost of Government Day 2011 Report

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Lynne LaMaster