But Now You Know

The search for truth in human action

The Decline in Family is Caused by High Taxes


You may not realize exactly how much of your work is purely for Uncle Sam's profit.

Blame the Parents

Statistically, parents really do spend less time with their families, these days. Because of this:

  • Social conservatives, and some others who blame Hollywood, the music industry, and public schools for the decline in “family values”, condemn parents for not spending more time with their kids to offset those bad influences.
  • Teachers, in a dramatic demonstration of how to serve as an irresponsible role model, prefer to blame parents, not themselves, for the decline in public education’s results. Those parents just aren’t spending the time with their offspring that they once did.
  • Police like to blame parents for the trouble kids get in after school…they’re not spending enough time with them as role models.
  • Technophobes blame newfangled televisions, video games, the net, and mobile phones for, well, anything cultural or behavioral…and blame the parents for not screening such entertainment, not knowing what the kids are seeing.

Family Matters

And, statistically, there’s no question that there’s some strong correlation between the amount of time parents spend with kids, or families in general spend together, and many other things, like drug use and success later in life. The more family time, the better-off the kids are.

It isn’t clear which way the causal relationship goes, but there’s certainly something happening there.

Prosperity-haters therefore blame most of society’s problems on how Greedy Materialists in America spend all day working, both parents, therefore leaving the children in the hands of day care help that is luck to keep the kids healthy and sane, much less serve as good role models and teachers.

If only they were willing to do without many of the nice things in life, like a second car and TV, they’d raise better kids.

They’re halfway correct.

The problem isn’t that people are so greedy as to wish to have decent lifestyles for themselves.

Even your combined household income, after all government burdens, ends up being a fraction of what you earn

Even with your combined household income, after all government burdens, you end up keeping a fraction of what you earn

Working Man’s Burden

The actual cause of this decline in family time is taxes.

You thought the title was simply hyperbole to drag you in, didn’t you.

The typical main breadwinner in the US pays about 28% of his income in Federal taxes.

The typical second earner in the US brings in 27% of the first earner’s income, after taxes.

This means that the second parent is actually gone all day just to pay the first parent’s taxes.

And that’s only counting Federal taxes taken directly out of each earner’s check.

It doesn’t count the massive local tax burden they both pay for the public school that is failing their children, the state income taxes, and the many other tax and regulatory burdens we all shoulder outside of the direct hit on our paychecks.

But what it all adds up to is that, if not for high governmental costs, the second earner would not have to work at all, and yet the family would still have more money than it does now.

One of You Labors ONLY For Government

Toiling for the government's profit is not nearly this much fun in real life

Toiling for the ruler's profit is not nearly this much fun in real life

In fact, the second earner’s ENTIRE after-tax income is only a fraction of their household’s governmental burden.

Just cutting the tax and regulation-compliance burden in HALF would allow the second earner to stay home completely, or both earners to work far less than they currently are, and therefore spend more time with the kids…or even each other.

The greed is not on the part of the people who want to live better lives, but the government bureaucrats and the selfish people who support their massive spending (calling for expanded government, voting for politicians who bring home pork), therefore a tax burden so huge that people need to spend all day working, neglecting their families.

The death of the family is yet another problem caused by Big Brotherment, not simply bad parents.

Social conservatives, cops, teachers, and everyone else who is concerned about absent parents and family values should focus first on freeing parents to do something other than toil for the tax man.


October 1, 2009 - Posted by | Economy, Family, Politics, Society | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. I wrote a paper on this in College, had i had your capability to articulate my thoughts and research, I may have received a far better grade. Fantastic Job!

    Comment by odessa tx root canals | November 27, 2010 | Reply

  2. Good, counterintuitive wisdom: I’m from the UK, but we’re going to face this scenario soon no matter who wins the general election. I wonder if any of our leaders would be brave enough to say that cutting taxes might be the right path?

    Comment by Frugal Dougal | February 14, 2010 | Reply

  3. I am glad I found your site. You have hit the mark on this one. As a business owner, I fill out a schedule K every year to pay my taxes. If every American taxpayer had to do this, they would see how much they were really tossing into the black hole and tax revolt would come overnight.

    Withholding was the greatest con job a government has ever perpetrated on its people.

    Great post – I will be back.


    Comment by Chuck | October 25, 2009 | Reply

  4. […] provocative opinion on why we spend less time with our kids these days comes from And Now You Know: it’s taxes.  I’m still thinking about how much I agree with the post — could we instead be […]

    Pingback by On the Marque, 10/20/09 « Marque’s Letters | October 20, 2009 | Reply

  5. My suspicion is that the regulatory burden is a lot higher than 17%. Electric power costs could more than halve if a free market was allowed to build reactors. Housing cost could between halve & quarter, depending on state, if the planners would let people build & let them use modern off site manufactured housing techniques. Calculating it for Britain I came up with a figure of regulation matching the real economy. Possibly a bit less parasitic in the US but I doubt if it is that much less.

    Comment by Neil Craig | October 8, 2009 | Reply

    • Yes, if we consider how socialism cripples our economy, then of course it’s far worse. The greater access to resources and technology would all have us the equivalent of what are now millionaires, if not for regulation.

      Comment by kazvorpal | October 20, 2009 | Reply

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