Some Americans - including groups here in the Ohio Valley - plan to express their outrage over government spending through "Tax Day Tea Party" events today.
"Tea Party" rallies have been scheduled at more than 300 sites throughout the country, on the day set by the Internal Revenue Service as the deadline for most Americans to file tax returns for 2008.
Government officials use techniques such as the income tax withholding system to keep taxpayers from noticing how much of their hard-earned wages is taken by the government before working men and women ever lay hands on the money. And when income tax returns are filed each year, the IRS emphasizes "refunds" - not the bottom line of taxes paid.
Last year the IRS collected about $2.7 trillion. In 2004, collections totaled about $2 trillion. That is an increase of 36 percent in just five years.
According to a study by the Heritage Foundation, the average annual income tax burden on American households has reached $22,100.
Members of Congress, presidents and federal bureaucrats also hope we will not factor into our tax equations the amounts taken through other levies, ranging from taxes on gasoline to those on some imports. Washington also counts on us not noticing the indirect taxes we pay in higher prices businesses must charge in order to comply with federal regulations on energy, food and other necessities.
Especially annoying to many taxpayers is the fact that many of our neighbors do not pay taxes - yet get "refunds" from the government. Those amount to nothing more than a transfer of money out of our bank accounts. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that about 40 percent of those who earn wages do not pay taxes.
Yet even with the onerous tax rates paid by many Americans, the government never seems to have enough. The federal budget deficit already has topped $10 trillion. There are indications that at least $5 trillion more will be added to it before President Barack Obama's first term ends.
No wonder so many Americans are upset about government spending. It is driving us as a nation into the poorhouse. It is sucking the financial life out of many families.
We encourage you, then, to attend one of the "Tax Day Tea Party" events to learn more about the problem - and to express your displeasure with government's failure to get spending under control.