Americans frequently complain about the amount of income taxes they have to pay every year, and understandably so. Income taxes average between 20-30% for most middle- and upper-class Americans. However, US citizens hardly pay the most when compared to the rest of the world. Belgium, for instance, has the highest income tax rate for average wage earners, at 42.8%.
But where these statistics get tricky, is when it comes to hidden taxes. The ones that don’t show up on your tax form. For that, the United States takes the cake, or is at least paying more than most countries. A new report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute found that Americans are collectively paying $1.88 trillion due to federal regulations. When a new regulation is enforced on a particular industry, those costs are passed down to the consumer, so the things we buy and the services we use have a hidden tax that doesn’t show up on the price tag.
“Federal regulation and intervention cost American consumers and businesses an estimated $1.88 trillion in 2014 in lost economic productivity and higher prices,” amounting to roughly $15,000 per household, the report said.
The report found that the federal bureaucracy—made up of 60 agencies, departments, and commissions—has 3,415 regulations in the process of being finalized, meaning that the number of regulations far surpasses the number of laws passed by Congress.
“In 2014, agencies issued 16 new regulations for every law—that’s 3,554 new regulations compared to 224 new laws,” the report said.
CEI, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, found that the Departments of the Treasury, Commerce, Interior, Health and Human Services (HHS), Transportation (DOT), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) account for 48 percent of all federal regulations.
The EPA issued 539 final rules in the Federal Register last year, up 12.5 percent in five years.
Enforcing regulations alone cost the government $59.5 billion in 2014.
While it’s safe to assume that some regulations are reasonable, doesn’t this just boil your blood? You’re paying thousands of dollars every year for regulations that you didn’t vote for. There’s no oversight. We vote for politicians that vote to create bureaucracies that are given the authority to create crippling regulations without any input from us. Talk about taxation without representation.
And what is it all for? It’s certainly not doing a damn thing to pay down our national debt, which continues to balloon to unprecedented levels. So not only are they taxing us dry with every dollar earned and spent, those tax dollars are paying for institutions that are so careless with our money, that they’re practically turning us into debt slaves.
And as you might have guessed already, these taxes hurt job creation. The cost of doing business in America now averages out to about $10,000 per employee, per year. That means fewer income earners to pay those taxes, which down the road will probably mean…you guessed it! More taxes and arbitrary regulations.
But at the end of the day you can only squeeze so much blood out of a turnip. Dozens of states are already practically bankrupt, and the vast majority of Americans are pretty much living paycheck to paycheck, as they continue to saddle themselves up with trillions of dollars in private debts. Don’t believe for a second that our economy is on the road to recovery, as so many talking heads would have you believe. The coming economic collapse is just on a temporary hiatus, and will return with a vengeance as soon as it becomes impossible for everyone to ignore the obvious; that these taxes and debts will never be paid down.
Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple, where this article first appeared. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger.