Every tax reform in my lifetime has actually been a push for higher taxes in one form or another. And there are still other ways to raise taxes besides raising taxes, reducing deductions, capping deductions, and closing loopholes. You can raise tariffs, increase user fees, enact quotas, inflate the money supply, or outright confiscate people’s property through police state tactics. All these methods suck resources from the private economy into the government.The goal of every tax reform is to do this in the sneakiest way possible.The media are no help in clarifying language. When a politician proposes a cut in taxes, the reporter imagines that he or she is a clever and hard-hitting journalist by shooting back: “How are you go to pay for that?” Nonsense. If the thief decides not to take your wallet, he shouldn’t be asked how he is going to pay for his failure to steal.Of course, all of this is beside the point, really. The core problem is spending. If the government didn’t spend money, it wouldn’t need to tax anyone. The only real way to lower taxes over the long run is to cut spending, but again, this is not going to happen. Even those who talk about spending cuts are really talking about cutting the rate of increase in spending over five or 10 years in budget projections that have never panned out even one time in the history of the universe.
And another thing, politicians often mistake treating tax revenues as a constant function of tax rates, i.e. increasing tax rates equals increase in tax revenues. They forget that people respond to incentives, such that higher tax rates may drive economic activities underground. This means political goals will not be met because of the unintended consequences from ignoring human action and pretentious wisdom.