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Published November 20, 2012 in Persuasion by Evan Hanson
by Sharon Harris
Holidays are a great time to share libertarian ideas with family and friends. Libertarians should gather a store of liberty-themed facts, figures and stories specific for each holiday. (I'll be doing that in this column as each major holiday nears.)
Thanksgiving is upon us. Below is a short report from the free-market Cost of Government Center that gives some genuinely shocking figures about how much government is adding to the cost of your family's celebration this year.
By the way, the Cost of Government Center is an affiliate of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), and the websites of both have been excellent sources of similar reports about the impact of taxes on holidays like Halloween and Christmas.
Share this information with your family, if the appropriate opportunity arises, and you'll surely open some minds to the liberty message. And that's something to be thankful for!
Thanksgiving is a time for reuniting with friends and family -- but the government wants to be part of your celebration, too. Whether you stay home or travel for the holiday, government is a significant contributor to the costs of the celebration.
Of an identified $10 billion in spending that occurs during Thanksgiving weekend on the wine and beer, the gas and plane tickets, and the meal itself, government taxation composes 35.86 percent of those expenses -- approximately $3.6 billion in revenues.
Many of these Thanksgiving items are subject to the increased costs of income taxes, payroll taxes, corporate income taxes, and other taxes on business activity.
Government then includes additional fees and excise taxes that further increase the cost of providing specific items or services.
According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, this year's Thanksgiving meal for ten increased in cost by $5.73 to a total of $49.20 -- mostly due to rising food prices. Despite the most significant increase in food costs since 1990, government taxation still gobbles up $13.68 of your meal preparations.
Unfortunately this measure still does not account for beer and wine consumption. Between football games and meals, nearly 53 million cases of beer are consumed. Government collects $219 million in taxes -- 44.33 percent of the cost of each case. Thanksgiving attendees will also find it hard to be grateful for the 32.77 percent increase in the cost of each bottle of wine thanks to government.
Whether you fly or drive to be with your loved ones this Thanksgiving season, government heavily taxes your preferred mode of transportation. Of the 94 percent of travelers driving their cars, government will raise an estimated $1.1 billion in tax revenue -- 45.33 percent of the gasoline price tag. Similarly, government also increases the cost of the average $376 Thanksgiving flight, making up 43.57 of each ticket's price.
The government hits taxpayers particularly hard during the holiday season, filling its plate with these taxes and fees.
As you gather with family and friends this Thanksgiving, remember that Uncle Sam is to thank for your smaller slice of pumpkin pie.
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Sharon Harris is president of the Advocates for Self-Government.