IT WAS a brilliant idea of Gabriel Stein, himself a part of the clever Lombard Street Research team, to compute that statistical mirage - the day when the average Brit starts to work for him or herself. That day is today.
The average Scottish taxpayer spends the first 155 days of the year - from Hogmanay through to 2 June - solely to pay off the demands of the tax authorities.
It is only from today we are really working for ourselves and our families. Until now, we have all been serfs to Gordon Brownâs grand illusion that he will deliver us "free" services if only we will work for him almost half the year.
What I fail to understand from Steinâs grim computations, in collaboration with the Adam Smith Institute, is why we lack any hint of a popular tax revolt. Our docility and law abiding habits are virtues but there comes a point when they look too servile and obedient.
We saw this phenomenon most clearly when there was a huge outrage against the price of petrol four years ago.
Simple souls that we are, we all believed this was a conspiracy by the oil corporations. We could not quite grasp that the bulk of what we pay at the forecourt goes to the Treasury; the retailer and the energy companies take only pennies - and make only farthings.
I admit I make the same mistake. If I go to my off licence, Iâm always stung by the price of alcohol. It feels it goes to the brewers or the vintners. Of course it goes to the insatiable Mr Brown.
There are many other taxes we do not see. National Insurance sounds virtuous, but it is simply a levy on employing people. The politicians like to pretend this