Confessions of Spendaholic?

Tax Freedom Day lands on May 30th this year, a full four weeks after it landed in 1966. Think about that...

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On 30 May 2013 01:59

The government is Rebecca Bloomwood. I am Suze. And this is the denouement of Confessions of a Shopaholic.

Well, sort of.

It's actually Tax Freedom Day in the United Kingdom, which means that from this point forward until the end of the year, you no longer work for the taxman, but rather, for yourself.

Well, sort of.

Dr. Eamonn Butler explains it over at the Adam Smith blog. He writes: 

"Add up all the taxes paid by people in the UK – income tax, national insurance, VAT, fuel duty, taxes on alcohol and tobacco, council tax and all the rest. Then work out how long it takes us to earn enough to pay for all these taxes. Then you find that in 2013 the average UK citizen will be forced to hand over to the government everything they earn between New Year's Day and 30th May!"

But it probably isn't time to crack out the good bottle of Bollinger just yet. You see, Tax Freedom Day seems to get later every year. Hold on, I'll just check. Yep. It broadly does. It's May 30th this year. It was May 24th in 2009.

But from today, you're not really free. I mean, obviously you don't pay a certain amount of tax for a bit of the year and then pay no tax for the rest - but that's not what I'm getting at either.

No, instead, as Dr. Butler points out, all this taxing that government does doesn't actually pay for all that government does (deep breath, now).

Remember the deficit? Of course you do. We're spending more than we can afford. The national debt keeps rising as a result of profligate government spending and the borrowing that must come with it, and we're all lumped that secondary burden, too. 

Factor that into the year, and Mr. Taxman will continue knocking at your door (though you won't answer until some point in the future) until July 13th at best. Dr. Butler explains it as follows: 

"Governments spend everything they raise in taxes from us – and then borrow as much more as they can get away with. The trouble is that is it we taxpayers, or our children, who will have to pay back that debt. When you work out the total – what we call Cost of Government Day – we don't start enjoying the fruits of our own labour until 13 July!"

The Cost of Government Day is the day in the year that government stops spending. See how that doesn't add up? Government stops "earning" (government never earns, it just steals from our earnings) on May 30th, and keeps spending until July 13th. Will someone rent George Osborne a copy of Confessions of a Shopaholic? It's a personal favourite. And it's the reason that I am Suze and government is Rebecca.

Because government actually gives us advice on spending, while racking up over a trillion quid in debt? Ha. Suze said it best, "Don't you think it's ironic that Rebecca Bloomwood is advising people on how to handle money?" Oh Suze... you're the best. 

But since basically everyone gets confused about our labryinthine tax code, how about we measure the health of our economy and our country on where Tax Freedom Day and the Cost of Government Day fall on the calendar?

We all know, more or less, that government is spending too much. If it wasn't we wouldn't have our deficit, and we certainly wouldn't be over £1,000,000,000,000 in debt. Argue as the deficit deniers might, it's a fact of life that the public broadly accepts. Rebecca epitomises government spending philosophies in a sentence: "When I shop, the world gets better, and the world is better, but then it's not, and I need to do it again."

But if we use Tax Freedom Day as a measure, and it shifts to earlier in the year, then that means we're being taxed less, which means government aims to spend less.

The question that the Left simply is unable or unwilling to deal with, is how does one reduce the deficit without pushing Tax Freedom Day the wrong way down the calendar (taxing more)? 

The answer, to you, to me, to Rebecca and to Suze, is rather simple: cut spending, cut borrowing, cut government.

Well, either that or I'll have to stop turning the pages of my Isla Fisher calendar in April.

What? I really liked that movie, okay!?

Raheem Kassam is the Executive Editor of TheCommentator.com and tweets at @RaheemJKassam

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