Tax Freedom Day

Apparently today is tax freedom day. According to the Adam Smith Institute the typical person has to work for 149 days to pay all their taxes, and so today is the first day in the year in which our money is our “own”. The Adam Smith Institute’s own rhetoric is “Slaves to the state until 30 May”. I don’t dispute their analysis. I do, however, dispute their interpretation. We live in a country where healthcare is free, education is largely free (apart from HE in England from next year), we have reasonably good roads, a reasonably effective police force, a fairly impressive military (who are able to rescue stranded oil workers from the Libyan desert at short notice).

If someone has not benefited in any way from the resources available in this country, then maybe they can feel justifiably annoyed. If, however, your kids go to the local school, you’ve been to the doctor, driven on roads, had your rubbish collected, etc., then what you’ve paid during the first 149 days of the year has not simply gone to the state. It has been spent providing services for the people of this country. If anything, it seems quite reasonable that it takes 40% of the income generated to provide the services that are provided. I’m not suggesting that things are perfect and couldn’t be improved, but I’d much rather live in a country that attempted to provide healthcare, education and basic services to the whole population than one in which we have to fend for ourselves.

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