The Washington Times - August 11, 2009, 07:22PM

Americans for Tax Reform, the anti-tax group headed by Grover Norquist, is releasing an annual report Wednesday on what it has dubbed “Cost of Government Day.”

The report estimates that Aug. 12 is the day that the average American will have finally worked enough to pay — in productivity — for the total amount of government spending and regulation at the federal, state and local level.

It’s a little bit of a nebulous paradigm — the methodology says ATR calculates the cost of government by adding government spending and regulation and dividing “by an estimated Net National Product to detemine the percentage of national income consumed by government.”


But it took 225 days to reach COGD this year, compared to 199 days last year. It’s ATR’s way of illustrating the growth of government spending and they say this has never been more needed than now.

The 47-page ATR report is a handy resource on the size of government as well as on the major spending programs of the last several months, most notably the $750 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) program from last fall and the $787 billion stimulus bill pushed through by the Obama administration.

ATR details how much of the TARP, which was passed to help troubled financial institutions deemed “too big to fail,” has gone to specific institutions but also to auto makers.

American International Group, Inc. (AIG) has been the biggest recipient of taxpayer funds through TARP, getting $69.8 billion on top of the $85 billion emergency infusion it received in September 2008, according to the report.

The second largest amount of TARP funds — $68.7 billion — has gone to General Motors.

Citigroup has received $50 billion, Bank of America $45 billion, JPMorgan Chase/Wells Fargo $25 billion, Chrysler $17 billion, Goldman Sachs Group $10 billion, Morgan Stanley $10 billion, and PNC Financial Group $7.6 billion, according to the report.

ATR documents an alphabet soup of 10 acronym-laden subsidiary programs — CPP, TALF, PPIP, SSFI, MHA, AIFP, and others — that have received money through TARP. The report states that there is $109.5 billion in TARP funds remaining.

None of this information is necessarily new but it’s nice to have it all in one place.

The report also has updated statistics on the number of federal government workers, and the number of state and local employees by state. ATR says there are currently 4.2 federal employees, including 1.4 million military personnel.

ATR will unveil the report Wednesday morning at the National Press Club.

— Jon Ward, White House reporter, The Washington Times

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