In a letter written by Benjamin Franklin to Jean-Baptiste Leroy, Franklin said: “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Taxes may be a certainty for every American, but high taxes shouldn’t be. As you know, lower taxes put more money in the hands of consumers and are fundamental to economic growth. I believe Americans know better how to put their hard-earned money to use than the federal government.
Earlier this week, on April 23, we marked Tax Freedom Day 2008. This is the day on which Americans have earned enough money to pay all their federal, state and local taxes for the year. That means that Americans had to work nearly a third of the year just to pay taxes. This year Americans will work longer to pay for taxes than they will to pay for food, clothing and housing combined.
By comparison, Tax Freedom Day in 1910 was January 19, when taxes were just 5 percent of a person’s income. Today taxes are nearly 31 percent of an average person’s income, and it takes nearly 115 days for Americans to earn enough to pay the government before they can start keeping their hard-earned paychecks for themselves and their families.
Since arriving in Congress, I have been a strong supporter of policies that lower the tax burden on hardworking folks. Lower taxes are fundamental to economic growth. When we lower the tax burden on America’s families, we encourage investment, savings and job creation. Nothing proves this more than the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, which helped create one of the strongest economies in American history, including 8.3 million new jobs and real growth in gross domestic product averaging more than 3 percent per year.
Now with economic growth in jeopardy, extending these provisions, which includes ending the unfair marriage-tax penalty, phasing out the death tax, doubling the child tax credit, decreasing the tax rates on capital gains and dividends, and lowering the tax rate including a new low tax bracket of 10 percent, is simply common sense. For this reason I have joined 140 other members of Congress in supporting legislation that would make permanent all of the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, as well as the state and local sales tax deduction and the tuition deduction. Without this important legislation millions of Americans will be faced with higher tax bills in the future.
Anytime we can establish fairer and lower taxes on working families then we are assisting the national economy, creating jobs and increasing opportunity across the country. It is both unwise and unfair to punish hardworking Americans for their hard work with excessive taxation.
Bob Goodlatte represents Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District in the United States Congress. Contact him at www.house.gov/goodlatte/emailbob.htm.