Holidays can be a great time to share libertarian ideas with family and friends, so be sure to gather liberty-themed facts, figures and stories specific for each holiday. (The Liberator Online is a good source for such information. We frequently share it in this column, or elsewere in the issue, as major holidays near.)
This month the scariest holiday of the year is approaching. In a few days bloodsuckers, devils and demons will roam the streets, demanding we hand over goodies or face retaliation. No, it’s not tax time or election season — I’m talking about Halloween!
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 Halloween celebration this year.
The Cost of Government Center is an affiliate of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), and its website has excellent similar reports about the impact of taxes and regulations on major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Share this information with your family and friends, if the appropriate opportunity arises, and you’ll surely open some minds about the scariest spook house of them all — the voracious federal government! Happy Halloween!
Trick or Treat? The Frightening Cost of Halloween – Courtesy of Government by the Cost of Government Center, October 27, 2011
Think Halloween is scary? Ha! It’s nothing compared to the Frightfest of taxes and hidden costs government adds to this beloved holiday.
Each year, parents spend $1 billion on kid costumes for Halloween. On average, for the estimated 41 million trick-or-treaters, each kid wears a costume costing almost $25 — a hefty sum for parents who know this annual investment is only going to get a few hours of use.
Taxes make up a shocking amount of that cost.
Kids’ costumes are almost all made of heavily taxed synthetic fibers. On top of the state sales tax paid at the register, the government increases the cost of buying these costumes by imposing a 17 percent tariff on many of these imported costumes. Businesses not only have to absorb these costs, but also those imposed by income taxes, payroll taxes, corporate taxes, property taxes, capital gains taxes, unemployment insurance taxes, workmen’s compensation taxes, and other payments to federal, state, and local forms of government.
When all is said and done, government taxes compose a terrifying 47.82 percent of the cost of the average kid’s costume — $11.66 of the average price. Boo!
But the government’s tricks don’t end there. The Halloween season brings with it $2 billion in candy purchases. Due to excise taxation on sweets in addition to the burden of taxes placed on the confectionery industry, the government takes a 30.81 percent bite out of the average trick-or-treaters’ candy haul. Ouch!
Altogether, the cost of celebrating our scariest holiday is made all the more frightening by the costs imposed by government: hidden taxes and other costs constitute 40.91 percent of your Halloween celebration.
This amounts to a burden of $688 million — or $16.80 per kid. The remaining $1.3 billion of candy not distributed during trick-or-treating represents another $406 million in taxes. Finally, after including taxes on adults for decorations and costumes the total Halloween tax bite comes to… a bloody and bruising $2.7 billion.
And the cost is even higher if you attend a spooky party with alcoholic beverages. Wine, distilled spirits and beer are all subject to more hidden taxes. Going out to dinner instead of trick-or-treating also carries higher government costs. And if you have to drive your kids to trick-or-treat, the government bite of gasoline also takes a hefty bite out of your wallet.
Wherever you turn, wherever you go, you can’t escape the bloodsucking horror of… the federal government.
Hey, if you’re still searching for a truly bone-chilling costume idea, may we suggest you dress up as… Uncle Sam.
(Please note: The Cost of Government Center posted this on October 27, 2011. You might check their excellent website as Halloween nears to see if they’ve published an updated 2013 version. If you use these figures, especially outside of casual conversation, you might want to point out the date, i.e., “as the Cost of Government Center noted on Halloween two years ago…”)