A couple days ago, George Osborne, who is the British equivalent of Secretary of the Treasury plus OMB, was asked whether he considered Britain overtaxed. His response:
I would like to reduce taxes - so, in that sense, it would be good if we could bring taxes down. But I’ve always believed the only way to do that is to have sound public finances. I am a fiscal Conservative, I’m not a Reaganite deficit-funded tax cutter. I am actually in that sense more the model that Margaret Thatcher and Nigel Lawson pursued. That means sorting out the public finances - and if there is a surplus, then use that to reduce taxes. That’s what he did in the late 80s.
Having the Cameron Tories around has definitely helped me stay sane this past year. They are actual conservatives, unlike the radicals posing as such in the US. On taxes, Osborne's view is the Tory one, inasmuch as it assumes that government is not something that can be done without. It matters. And there is a conservative art not just to politics and to debate and to ideology - but to governance. Massie applauds:
As a general rule it would be best if taxes could be lower; that doesn't mean every tax cut is a Good Thing far less that every tax cut will more than pay for itself. So, in the end you have a choice: which Bush are you with? The Elder or the Younger? The answer to that question is, and always will be, revealing.
Cutting taxes is good - and important! - but it does matter how and when you cut them. Also, which taxes you cut.(I'd like much flatter taxes and greatly simplified code too but am not holding out too much hope for that.)