How about we get rid of subsidies? To keep it real simple, look for actual subsidies– not “tax write offs,” but actual grants, money transfers, requirements to buy a specific product, etc. We can get rid of the tax BS later– it’ll take a lot of arguing, since gov’t likes taxing people on what they own, and people don’t like being taxed on the original value of a 30 year old hunk of machinery.
How about we make taxes more visible? No more payroll taxes– employees pay the same taxes as the self-employed. (Yes, much pain. Upside: employers might actually hire more people when it’s cheaper to do so.)
Along the same lines, having to actually set up withholding for taxes. Money doesn’t just magically disappear.
To balance out the bother of the “no automatic withholding/deduction” thing, how about getting rid of property depreciation…via getting rid of taxes on equipment? I’d suggest taxing people on what they sell something for, rather than what it’s bought for– although we could go straight along the automotive tax lines, put taxes on the value of what you just bought and tax you on the income when you sell it.
Get rid of property appraising for tax purposes– your property is worth what you bought it for, not what it’d be worth if it was chopped up and resold as parcels. (To draw from a local controversy that doesn’t seem to have hit the web.)
See about getting rid of targeted laws. Maybe there are some that are a good idea, but others…. why is a monopoly on workers good, but on anything else that’s for sale bad? Why are there multi-business unions like the grocery workers’ union at all? (Yeah, I’m still harping on their protest out front of Winco…which isn’t union, because it’s worker owned.)
Require high justification for requiring licensing. Where possible, make gov’t licensing a certification, rather than a requirement. (Why, yes, I do read Coyote Blog… how did you guess? And, in keeping with that….) If licensing or inspection is required, then it is required to be offered. If the government requires something impossible, the requirement is suspended. No banning pub signs and requiring that all pubs have signs, you have to actually ban pubs.
Privatize gov’t services where possible. Government sucks at customer service, making a profit, etc. As a bonus, since they’re not gov’t workers, employees– say, at a campground managed by a private firm for the gov’t?– aren’t government workers, and realize they can be fired.
Fix government websites. I have NO IDEA how to get this done, I just know it’s ludicrous how expensive their sites are, and how poorly the do their job. I don’t care if they’re bare bones, simple and ugly– I’d actually rather favor it over the pretty, shiny ones that just don’t work. When possible, consolidate sites.
I’d LOVE to see something like “FederalGovernment.gov” with sub-sites “FederalGovernment.gov/Executive”, “FederalGovernment.gov/Judicial/Docket”, “FederalGovernment.gov/Legislative/House/GOP” and “FederalGovernment.gov/Legislative/Bills”.
Restrict the ability to make regulations to the legislative branch. No “the secretary shall determine” or shoving regulation-making off on departments. No forcing the destruction of heaven-knows-how-many dollars worth of inventory because they were declared out of bounds.
Another one I have no idea of how to do:
get rid of as many of the stupid regulations as possible. Why on earth does the Federal Government waste time telling me how much water my toilet can put out in a flush?!?
Hold bureaucrats legally accountable for their actions. Klamath Falls was horribly hurt when the EPA shut down the water rights of farmers in the area to protect the local suckerfish. Small problem: everyone who knows anything about suckerfish knows they thrive in warm, shallow water, like the irrigation ditches, and that they don’t like cold, deep water…that the EPA shut off said ditches to create…for several years in a row. According to my family down in the area (they didn’t work in ag, they were actually local gov’t) a suspicious number of the bankrupted farms were bought up by relatives of the guy who made these choices. These kind of stories aren’t all that unusual. Oh, side note? The suckerfish were so “endangered” that you could scoop them out of some areas with a pitchfork. They are a known issue for those folks too silly to put wire around their pump intakes, because they’re big enough to block it and “shove” each other enough that some can get sucked in to unprotected pumps.
Stop paying people to sue us. While we’re at it, allow counter-suits along the lines of “using the law for harassment or personal enrichment.”
Hear about Cali’s don’t-work-don’t-get-paid idea? Can we adopt that? And/or make it so states pay for their own legislators and support staff.
Austerity measures for DC. With big justifications for any gov’t expenditures for trips, parties, etc.– at LEAST as strong as that currently required for business trips to be tax write-offs, and I’d want it to be stronger. Is it required for gov’t to function? No? Then don’t buy it.
Clean up gov’t contracts. There is no reason that the Navy should be paying several hundred dollars for a standard out-of-the-box 20g hard drive.
Change how gov’t budgets work– maybe go to a multi-year cycle, so that the infamous “spend it so we don’t loose it” factor doesn’t kick in.