Here’s the quickest way to reduce government to the size that even libertarians might like: eliminate each and every tax deduction and tax break for individuals and businesses. Compel every person and organization to pay their share of taxes. Cut funding for war-making by 50%. Easy, huh?
No longer let the Pentagon fill in the sums on a blank check when they want to build bigger and better death machines. It should be obvious: you have to win hearts and minds, something that is rarely accomplished by carpet bombing. Trying to foster the next war to “bomb them into the stone age” would be enormously wasteful, like it is now, but with a 50% cut we would be less likely to launch such foolishness.
Compel all corporations and individuals to pay their share of taxes—not zero, as many have been paying for years. Take an import duty for every product sold in the US by corporations who have moved their headquarters overseas to avoid taxes. In other words, don’t allow them to play games with what they owe for the services and infrastructure they use.
Homeowners would suddenly be minus their favorite write-off, the mortgage interest deduction. Suddenly they would be like people in Canada and Europe. But their taxes would not increase. Most probably they would decrease, because nobody would be getting away with tax gamesmanship.
Who would scream the loudest? The ones with the most tax breaks, of course. And who might they be? Why, the ones with all the money, of course. But how did they get all the money, you might ask? Simple, they bought it. How is it possible to buy money?
Well, first you must have a lot of money to begin with. When you have accumulated money beyond any conceivable use, you invest in politicians. You give lots of money directly to the politicians most likely to pass laws that would give you more money. So they have plenty to assure their re-election. Getting re-elected is the most important thing most politicians do.
You give lots of money to lobbyists who explain to the politicians you own how to vote. That way the politicians you own will pass the laws you gently suggest would be “good for business”, meaning corporate capitalists, never the people. What is good for the population becomes irrelevant. What the corporations want always gets done, even when 90% of the population wants the opposite.
In the end, even with all tax breaks eliminated, everyone but the very rich would be happier for paying lower tax. This would come about because corporations and the wealthy would no longer be able to screw over the rest of us by owning the government.
It should be observed, though, that even with all the tax breaks for the rich and corporations, we already have lower actual taxes than every other advanced nation, and corporations never pay the maximum tax rate, if they pay any taxes at all. Why are our taxes so low? Because we underfund government services and benefits. Most notably, we have no national health care policy, even though 80% of us want it and our failure to have it costs us literally twice as much. Nor do we have adequate educational support, or retirement funding.
What we do have is a grossly bloated military budget, equal to the total of the next dozen or so countries, and famous for literally squandering billions. Billions were sent to Iraq, literally filling Air Force cargo planes with pallets of hundred dollar bills, most of which evaporated.
These things would not improve just because tax breaks were eliminated. We would have even lower taxes, but we still would not have the level of services that the civilized nations have. It would take positive steps to bring our personal security up to the level of the more advanced countries.
In the end it comes back to the purpose of government. Is it for the capitalists and corporations so they can become ever richer? Or is the actual reason for government to serve the interests and needs of the citizens, all of them? We know what the answer is at the moment.