Cost-benefit hard to assess with federal government

With the passing of April 15 and the annual ritual of tax filings, news pages are filled with discussion about the size of federal, state and local tax burdens.

This is ripe discussion at home as well. The Hicks household paid 16.3 percent of earnings in federal tax and 4.1 in state and local income tax. Of course, that doesn’t count property and sales taxes or Social Security and Medicare taxes that comprise more than 10 percent of our income.

Altogether, nearly one of every three dollars my household earned was paid in taxes last year. Clearly I could keep more of my money if I had a better financial planner, but I am not sure that would make me better off. Like most citizens, I am not so simple that the price of government is all I care about. Value matters also, and as with any value determination, the price (or tax rate) is only half the story.


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