One of the arguments I’ve always used in favor of the Fair Tax is that just the cost of compliance with our current tax system — never mind the actual taxes we pay — is enough to break our backs. But, of course, that’s not the only such burden, as the economy also has to fight to keep from being crushed by the cost of compliance with government regulations great and small.
A nonprofit think tank called the Competitive Enterprise Institute has just backed me up on that. (Too bad this study didn’t come out while I was on the presidential debate stage!) While the cost of compliance with corporate and individual income taxes comes in at a staggering $316 billion, and the actual tax burden is a whopping $1.82 trillion, the cost of compliance with ungodly new federal regulations is even greater than those taxes: $1.885 trillion. That works out to about $15,000 for every American household. Remember, this is the total cost of compliance — the overwhelming administrative costs, attorneys’ fees, court costs and everything else needed to make sure every bureaucrat in every office of every department of every federal bureau is satisfied.
Each one of those numbers is mind-boggling, but add them together and they form an anchor tied to every individual and business in this country, shrinking our wallets while raising the price of everything we buy. Just five of our government agencies generate 41 percent of this regulatory burden: the Departments of the Treasury, Commerce, Interior, Health and Human Services, and Transportation. In reality, it’s hard to separate the taxes we pay from the cost of bureaucracy, as “the federal government has become very savvy in hiding costs by expanding their reach beyond taxes into regulations,” according to lead author Wayne Crews.
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I just felt like thanking the Competitive Enterprise Institute for this information, because they’ve been in the news for another reason this week. I’ve already written about the problems they’re having with the attorney general of the Virgin Islands (and other attorneys general as well), simply because they’ve generated research that tends to support those pesky “climate change deniers.” Factually speaking, they’re in noncompliance. We can’t have cold, hard facts getting in the way of political correctness when it comes to global warming, now, can we?
Government agencies would love to be able to crank out their own “facts” and remain immune to challenge. Let’s hope the Competitive Enterprise Institute and other such groups can continue their work undaunted.
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