Tax Freedom Day Clock Web Widget

Alert: (4/2/13) The Tax Foundation has just announced that in 2013, Tax Freedom Day will not occur until April 18 (five days later than last year).

John Gaver
April 2, 2013

John GaverSeveral years ago, to help draw attention to the excessive amount of taxes that Americans are forced to pay, ActionAmerica released its US Tax Freedom Day Clock, that continuously counts the months, days, hours, minutes and seconds till or since the current year's Tax Freedom Day, as determined by the Tax Foundation. Actually, we go a step further than them. We use their data to determine the exact second of Tax Freedom, so you can watch our clocks count down in seconds.

The original US Tax Freedom Day Clock was just a JavaScript clock, at the top of each page in our Tax and Economy section, like the one at the top of this page. But due to popular demand, we have since released the US version in two other formats and a UK version in each of the three formats. Both clocks now exist as a JavaScript clock on these pages, a downloadable Macintosh Dashboard widget and a very popular web widget, seen on many social networking sites and personal websites, including further down on this page.

What is Tax Freedom Day?

Each year, the Tax Foundation publishes a report, based on published US government data, in which they have calculated the date on which the average US taxpayer has worked long enough, to earn enough money, to pay all of his taxes for that year. For obvious reasons, the Tax Foundation refers to this date as, Tax Freedom Day.

The Tax Foundation has just reported that in 2013 Tax Freedom Day falls on April 18. In other words, most Americans will work for just two weeks shy of a third of this year, to earn enough money to pay all of their taxes for the whole year. But one of the most interesting and disturbing facts that Tax Freedom Day exposes is that the average America works 11 of those days in order to pay corporate income taxes that are passed along to the consumer. Those are the taxes that even affect those living below the poverty line.

But that's not the worst of it. The Tax Foundation points out that this date does not take into consideration the 1.014 trillion budget deficit which will have to eventually be paid. It is based only upon projected incomes and taxes for this year.

The deficit-included date for Tax Freedom, is when Americans would achieve Tax Freedom, if they were required to pay for all government spending this year, including the one trillion dollar federal budget deficit. If that were the case, then Tax Freedom Day would fall on May 9 (see the Tax Foundation chart). That will certainly push future Tax Freedom Days much further into the year.

The Tax Foundation further points out that, this Deficit Inclusive date is the 6th latest ever. But being a non-partisan group, they avoided mentioning that four or the six latest Deficit Inclusive Tax Freedom Days have come during the Obama Administration, with the other two occurring during World War II. Of course, as the tremendous costs associated with Obamacare kick in, the deficit will skyrocket, pushing both Tax Freedom Day and the Deficit Inclusive Tax Freedom Day even later in years to come. This is Obama's gift that keeps on giving. Paying these ever growing taxes will present an insurmountable threat to our children and their children. This should be a serious wake-up call for all Americans.

As previously mentioned, we began by releasing the Tax Freedom Day Clock simply as a JavaScript clock at the top of web pages in our Tax & Economy section, which is what you see at the top of this page. It quickly became very popular, generating lots of traffic and positive feedback, so a few years later, we introduced the Tax Freedom Day Clock Macintosh Dashboard widget. One thing led to another and today, the Tax Freedom Day clock exists in three formats (JavaScript on these pages, Mac Dashboard widget and a Flash web widget) and we have even introduced the UK Tax Freedom Day Clock, in all three formats.

As mentioned above, all of the US Tax Freedom Clocks are designed to calculate down to the second. To do that, we started with the Tax Foundation's calculation of 29.4% of our work and used that to calculate down to the second. By extending the calculation to seconds, it shows that his year, the exact moment of Tax Freedom will be April 18, at 7:26:24 AM.

The Flash version of the Tax Freedom Clock, shown below, can be used on a PC or Mac and can be easily inserted into web pages and blog posts, as a web widget.

It is a Flash applet, so it should work on any web site or blog that allows web widgets (object code or embed code) and display properly on all modern browsers.

Note for Mac users: Some Mac users who are using Mavericks may at first think that the widget is not working. That's because, as a way to preserve battery life (and possibly ly to drive developers away from Flash and toward HTML5), under Mavericks, Apple now puts Flash and other plugins to sleep, by default. This means that unless you have changed the default, as have I, you will have to roll over the widget and click on the icon that appears, in order to awaken flash, before the widget will begin to tick. Since Mac battery life is to long to begin with, I chose to turn that feature off in the Safari Preferences Advanced Tab. You can also specify which sites will turn on plugins automatically.

Sorry, but Flash doesn't work on iPhones. However, we are looking into the "possibility" of creating a future iPhone version. But that would require developing iPhone programming skills that we don't have in-house, at this time. In that regard, we just purchased an iPhone development course. Now all that will be required is to find the time to complete the course. Watch this page for an update for the iPhone.)

ActionAmerica.org encourages you to share this widget with your friends, by placing it on your own web site, on your Facebook and MySpace pages and other social networking sites and in the signature of your various forum postings.

To share this widget with others, just select all of the text in the following box and copy it (Ctrl–C on a PC or Cmd–C on a Mac). Then, paste it into the HTML code of your web site, blog or forum posting (Ctrl–V on a PC or Cmd–V on a Mac), where you want the Tax Freedom Day Clock to appear on that page. Look for a button on forums that say "HTML" or "CODE", to get to where you can paste this code. That's all there is to it. Note that some blogs and forums may not allow "object" or "embed" code, though most do.

This is the "object" code version that is most widely allowed on forum postings.

For those sites that do not allow "object" code, you might try the following "embed" code.

The Tax Freedom Day Clock web widget is a clock that counts down the months, days, hours, minutes and seconds till the next US Tax Freedom Day or, if Tax Freedom Day has passed, the months, days, hours, minutes and seconds that most Americans have actually been earning their own money, since Tax Freedom Day.

The underlying data that makes the US Tax Freedom Clock possible comes from annual calculations by the non-partisan Tax Foundation, who are the unofficial keepers of the US Tax Freedom Day.

The Tax Foundation uses the most unbiased method possible for calculating the national Tax Freedom Day. As you can see below, it is very straight forward:

Federal, state & local taxes x 365 (or 366) days = Tax Freedom Day

Total income

Dividing the total of federal, state and local taxes, by the total income of all Americans, gives us the percentage of our annual income that goes to taxes and likewise the percentage of the year that we have to work for the government to pay those taxes. Take that percentage and multiply it by the number of days in the year and you know how many days you have to work to pay your taxes for that year.

Note that all of our Tax Freedom Day Clocks convert that number of days to an exact date and time and counts down to that time. This allows us to count down not only to the day of Tax Freedom, but to the second, so you can watch the clock, as it ticks down to or up from Tax Freedom Day.

Each year, all of our Tax Freedom Day Clocks are adjusted, as soon as the Tax Foundation announces the new date. That usually occurs some time near the end of March or the first of April. The text on this page will also be updated to reflect the new date, when it is announced. However, any such change in the date is usually nominal, as only five times since 1970 has the year to year change been more than four days and 26 times the year to year change was two days or less (see chart for 1967 to 2009 or download spreadsheet for 1900 to 2010, from the Tax Foundation).

In actuality, Tax Freedom Day is different for each state, depending upon the various tax rates that may be in effect in each state, for that tax year. In that case, the formula changes slightly, using only federal, state and local taxes for each state and only the total income for each state.

Individual state Tax Freedom Days for 2012 range from March 31, in low-tax Tennessee, to May 5, in high-tax Connecticut. That means that residents of Connecticut work more than a third of the year, just to pay taxes. To learn when Tax Freedom Day falls in your state, visit the Tax Foundation web site.

For our Tax Freedom Day Clock, we use the National Tax Freedom Day, which, as mentioned above, falls on April 18, in 2012. As mentioned above, for the first few months of each year, the Tax Freedom Day Clock will use the previous year's date, until the data becomes available for the new year - usually in late March or early April.

The important thing to remember is that in all but four states, at least a quarter of your days at work each year, go to pay your taxes. Only Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, and South Carolina come in under a quarter and only by two days, at best. In the most of the worst states, that number rises to just under a third of your work year. But Connecticut workers actually work for more than a third of the year, just to pay their taxes. Converting that to hours, in an eight hour work day, the average American works at least the first two hours just to pay the government. The people in Connecticut work the first two hours and 44 minutes to pay the government.

Or think of it another way. That's like working two or more hours of every day, for which you will NOT get paid.

Modern politicians call that work that you do for them, without getting paid, "patriotic." However, Abraham Lincoln had a much better term for it. He called it by its proper name - "slavery."

Or think of it as reducing your salary by 25% to 34%, because that's how much of your pay check goes to pay taxes.

So the question that you must ask yourself is, "Are the services that I receive from the government worth a quarter to a third of my work days, each year?"

Or, to put it another way, "Are the services that I receive from the government worth a quarter to a third of my working life?"

How many of those lost days at work went to give incentives to a "green energy" company that promptly went bankrupt, to create an electric car that nobody wants to buy, or to provide other pork for FOO (Friends Of Obama)? How many of those lost days went to bail out billion-dollar banks that made bad loans, but the money went to perks for the executives at those banks? How many of those lost days do you think were spent to line the pockets of a bureaucrat or government contractor?

Would you have spent any of your hard-earned money on any of those pork projects or bailouts? Couldn't you provide or purchase many of those government services for yourself, for much less money and have far more left over to improve your lifestyle? Are you getting a fair return in services, from the government, for all that work that you do for them? Think about it...

Tax Freedom Day is exactly what the name implies. It's the day on which the money that you earn actually begins to benefit you and not the government.

There are a few detractors of Tax Freedom Day. But those detractors are almost exclusively, those who support big government. They try to convince folks that Tax Freedom Day is not representative of the average American, since the rich pay a much larger percentage of the taxes that are actually collected. Interestingly, those detractors conveniently ignore certain facts that more than offset their arguments. For example, the Tax Foundation reports that in 2006, approximately 43 million federal tax returns, representing 91 million taxpayers, claimed zero taxes owed and another 15 million households (retired, disabled and those who live on welfare) don't even file. In fact, the Wall Street Journal reported that 47% of Americans pay no income tax whatsoever or get all of their taxes rebated.

What about all of them? Tax Freedom Day detractors, who want us to think that a wealthy few skew the Tax Freedom Day data, go well out of their way to try to insure that the public doesn't even think about the millions who pay no tax at all.

Certainly, the detractors of Tax Freedom Day are correct in pointing out that the rich pay significantly more of the tax load. But they conveniently ignore other more important facts like, the fact that the rich also earn significantly more of the income and the fact that over 120 million Americans pay no tax at all (based upon federal income tax records - also, these people usually pay no state income or property taxes either and pay an insignificant amount of other taxes, such as sales taxes). In fact, some will soon be getting rebates for taxes that they never paid.

The 120+ million poor Americans, who pay NO tax, more than offset the effect of the less than seven million rich taxpayers (earning over $155,000 per year - if you consider that rich), who pay almost 60% of the taxes actually collected. That means that Tax Freedom Day actually comes closer to representing the average middle-class, working American than either the rich or the poor. If the numbers are skewed at all, the huge numbers of non-taxpayers skew the data to favor an even later Tax Freedom Day, rather than the earlier date that the detractors would have us believe.

This is just one example of how the detractors of Tax Freedom Day, ignore facts that conflict with their spin. But to make matters worse, they're generating more and more spin, every year, to try to hide the problem exposed by Tax Freedom Day. Just remember that those detractors are almost exclusively folks who want more government and higher taxes, rather than less government and lowere taxes. Worse yet, some of those folks actually benefit from higher taxes.

For example, the most vocal detractor of Tax Freedom Day, is the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). They "claim" that they are non-partisan. OK. I suppose that you could consider them to be loosely non-partisan, but only if you consider RINOs to be Republicans. In fact, it takes less than a minute of looking at their web site, to determine that they are very decidedly partisan and dedicated to a very BIG Government agenda - the kind supported by the Democrats and RINOs.

When you start browsing around the CBPP web site, you will find that the CBPP is opposed to anything that even resembles a Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Furthermore, in their feature article titled, A Framework for Deficit Reduction: Principles and Cautions, they state, "policymakers should aim to balance the primary budget — the budget other than interest payments on the debt" (emphasis added). Did you get that? Well if you didn't, they wanted to make sure that you understand that they don't want to pay down the debt, in the very next sentence, stating, "stabilizing the debt ... is the key, not balancing the total budget (i.e., the budget including interest payments)" (emphasis added).

With those kinds of ridiculous, Big Government positions, we are left to conclude that the CBPP's detraction of Tax Freedom Day is actually a good thing for Tax Freedom Day, as it provides additional proof that Tax Freedom Day is representative of the tax load of average Americans. While the CBPP is the most vocal detractor of Tax Freedom Day, there are others. But like the CBPP, they are universally on the side of Big Government or they are people or organizations, who stand to gain from higher taxes.

We want to thank our friends at the Tax Foundation for their annual efforts to bring us this information. If you have not visited their site, we encourage you to do so. You may be surprised at what you'll learn.

Now that you are suitably depressed over how much of your hard work goes to support the government (that is, if you are an American), I will toss you a bone, to make you feel not quite so bad.

If you were in the United Kingdom, Tax Freedom Day wouldn't occur till June 2, based upon data from the Adam Smith Institute. Of course, if you include government borrowing, the UK's Tax Freedom Day moves further back to June 14, 2008. Either way, for almost half a year, Brits work to support Her Majesty's Government.

Some Brits will try to justify this, by telling you that they get free health care. But, as someone who has lived there, I can assure you that the quality of health care that they get is not even a faint shadow of what even our poor people get, in the USA. In actuality, they don't get "free" health care. They pay dearly for it, working almost half of each year, for Her Majesty's government and because it is government run, the quality of their health care is pathetic. Even though I paid for my own health care, while I lived there, I had to come back to the USA to get a proper diagnosis and treatment for a very common ailment.

Although England's excruciating tax level doesn't forgive our own government, for forcing us to work so long for them each year, it does give us reason to be glad that we don't live in Europe. On the other hand, now that Obamacare has been signed into law and the new GOP leadership is determined to not de-fund it, in the budget, it appears that is exactly where we're headed.


Note 1: The Tax Freedom Day Clock at the top of this page uses JavaScript to effect the countdown, so your browser must support JavaScript and JavaScript support must be turned on. If you don't see the days to Tax Freedom above, it's probably because either you, someone else who uses your computer or a piece of software has disabled JavaScript in your browser or although it's very unlikely, you may be using a very old browser that does not support JavaScript. Although Action America is designed to be easily used and navigated without JavaScript functionality, several features such as this one will not show up, if JavaScript is not enabled.

Note 2: We have occasionally had people contact us, early in the year, telling us that our Tax Freedom Day Clock is off by one hour. The clock has, in each case, been accurate. We want to remind our readers, who might want to check our calculations, not to forget that there is a one hour time change, between January 1 and Tax Freedom Day. Our clock counts down actual hours, rather than adjusted hours. However, if you do think that you see an error in the clock, please don't hesitate to contact us. After all, although we have tested it extensively, a minor glitch might have slipped through our testing.

Note 3: After some effort, we developed a work-around for a bug in Internet Explorer (IE), that had initially kept IE users from seeing the above clock. We tested this clock on eleven major browsers, on Windows, Mac and Linux platforms and IE was the only one that was affected. Although IE users can now see this clock, it is partially because of many standards adherence issues like this and myriad security issues in Internet Explorer, that we strongly recommend that IE users download and use either the Firefox of Safari browser. Note too, that both also load complex pages much faster than IE.

 

Copyright 2013 John Gaver
All rights reserved


See related articles and supporting documents:

1986-2008 IRS Collections Data by Income Category
Obama agenda drives record expatriation
Tick - Tick - Tick / The Economy Bomb
Tax Freedom Day Builds Case for FairTax
US Tax Freedom Day Clock Web Widget
UK Tax Freedom Day Clock Web Widget
US Tax Freedom Day Clock
US Tax Freedom Day Clock Widget (for Mac)
UK Tax Freedom Day Clock Widget (for Mac)
The Privacy Factor
More Attacks on the Wealthy
US Taxpatriates List
2000 Statistical Yearbook of the Immigration & Naturalization Service (6.2mb PDF)
2003 World Wealth Report (Press Release)
American Citizens Residing Abroad (US Bureau of Consular Affairs)
Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996 (26 USC 877(a)(1))
Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (8 USC 1182(a)(10)(E))
Heroes Earnings Assistance & Relief Tax Act (Public Law 110-245) (8 USC 1182(a)(10)(E))
The Economic Impact of Replacing Federal Income Taxes
      with a Sales Tax (CATO)
Fair Tax Act of 2011 (H.R. 25)
Americans for Fair Taxation
National Retail Sales Tax Alliance

Recommended Books:

The Rich Don't Pay Tax …Or Do They?
The Fair Tax Book
Fair Tax: The Truth
How to Hide Your A$$et$ and Disappear
Escape From America

See Expatriate sites:

The Sovereign Society
Escape Artist
Expat World
Second Passports

Contact your Congressman here.

 

Would you like to have John Gaver speak at your meeting or public function?
 

 

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