As Americans rush today to meet the deadline for filing their federal and state income tax returns, they should take some consolation in the fact that at least their collective tax burden isn't nearly as bad as it was four years ago.
"Tax Freedom Day," as calculated by the Tax Foundation, was celebrated this year on April 11, compared to May 2 in 2000 when the tax burden peaked at 33 percent of national income.
The "Tax Freedom Day" calculation is based on the number of days each year Americans as a whole must work just to pay for government at all levels. This year that figure is 101 days, the lowest number since 1967.
The Tax Foundation's numbers include all taxes that Americans pay: federal, state and local income taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes, property taxes and sales and excise taxes. The Foundation makes some interesting comparisons between what Americans pay in taxes and what they pay for other items.