In a recent National Review article, Iain Murray complains that:
Every year we are reminded how much money the government filches from us on Tax Day. However, there is no equivalent ‘Regulation Day’ to remind us the extra cost government imposes on us through pettifogging regulation. The fact is that federal regulations (never mind state and local) cost even more than the skyrocketing federal budget deficit, and help bring the federal government’s share of the economy to over 35 percent.
However, Americans for Tax Reform does calculate a “total cost of government” day each year. Here is a summary of what they found for last year:
In 2010, Cost of Government Day falls on August 19. Working people must toil 231 days out of the year just to meet all costs imposed by government -8 days later than last year and a full 32 days longer than 2008. In other words, in 2010 the cost of government consumes 63.41 percent of national income.
Many lower-income people pay little or no national income tax. Some pay very little state income tax. Of course, there are many other taxes that everyone pays, regardless of income. When you try to catalog all these, a database is required.
But beyond all the taxes – and they are legion – there is the cost of government imposed on everyone via regulations. These regulations simply (?) makes many things much more expensive than they would otherwise be.
But these regulations certainly make many things unavailable to us. Of course, “things that might have been” are difficult to imagine sometimes. But when regulations inhibit human creative activity, it is inevitable that those regulations also preclude the development of many ideas that might have been useful things.
But these things remain forever unseen – which is exactly what purveyors of government regulation want. So last we were slaves of the state, on average, for 231 of the 365 days available to us. Not only that, but we slaves of the state worked in a world missing some amazing things that might have been.