Comprehensive tax reform will not be easy, and it will not be popular. Politically powerful constituencies will protest as their deductions are rescinded. Yet it is imperative that the country move towards an impartial tax code that does not incentivize (or punish) behavior. This tax reorganization shouldn't be a stealth way to increase taxes. Rates should be lowered as loopholes are closed. We cannot burden individuals or businesses further with larger tax bills.
That's why spending reform needs to be a top priority for this Administration and Congress. Simply “freezing” spending at prior levels is lazy; after all, the government has doubled in size over the past 10 years. We shouldn't lock in this bloat. Instead, we must eliminate programs. We must scale back the size and scope of government. All programs must be on the table – including the “Big Four” – Medicare, Medicaid, defense, and Social Security. State and local governments must learn to stand on their own, and pay for their own programs with their own revenue. Bad management should not be rewarded; we cannot bail out the states.
As South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said in her inaugural speech two weeks ago, “we will not reach prosperity by increasing [the] government's share of our economy.” Now is the time for humility – to admit that our knowledge is not all encompassing, and that our government is not all-powerful. Only then will we will be able to restore our nation to greatness.