Why do Americans pay more in taxes than they really want to? Can they do anything about it? Americans must understand that their true tax burden is what the government spends, regardless of how that spending is financed. If government spending goes up faster than prices in general, the real tax burden increases. Simplifying the system is far from easy, but the real defect is not in the tax system anyway, but in the budget structure. Our only hope for tax reduction is in establishing constitutional provisions that will set limits on government spending.
Nonetheless, spending keeps increasing despite growing discontent from taxpayers. As Milton puts it, “How is it that if you were to conduct a poll among the people of the United States, if you were to ask them, each and every one of them, do you think you are getting your money’s worth for the 40 percent of your income that is being spent on your behalf by governmental bureaucrats, the number of people who would say yes to that would be very small, and all of those would be employees of the U.S. government.”
So is it possible to reform taxes? Hear for yourself in the podcast Milton Friedman Speaks – Is Tax Reform Possible?