Starving the Beast: Using Tax Policy and Governmental Budgeting to Drive Social Policy

45 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2007

See all articles by Amy Hageman

Amy Hageman

University of Central Florida - Kenneth G. Dixon School of Accounting

Vicky Arnold

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH); University of Central Florida

Steve G. Sutton

University of Central Florida; NHH Norwegian School of Economics

Date Written: June 2007

Abstract

This study explores the philosophical and theoretical bases underlying U.S. tax and social policy for over 25 years in order to develop a comprehensive framework from which to evaluate the intended and actual effects on wealth distribution and social policy overall. The framework provides a basis for understanding the overarching social agenda of neoconservative leadership as it advocates what has become known as Starve the Beast (STB). The STB strategy focuses on altering taxation structures in order to facilitate desired reallocations in government budgets to effect change in social policy. This study explores the roots of STB beginning with the political philosophy of Leo Strauss, followed by the adaptation of Strauss's philosophy by Irving Kristol (the godfather of neoconservatism) in establishing the basic tenets of neoconservative political theory, and the marriage of neo-conservatism with supply-side economics to increase popular support. Through this anthropological study, 11 propositions evolve during the development of a comprehensive view of a complex social policy underlying STB strategies designed to promote wealth retention, less progressive tax rate structures, less spending on social programs, and greater national focus on defense, security, and patriotism.

Keywords: U.S. tax policy, governmental budgeting, neoconservatism, Leo Strauss, political accountability, Starve the Beast

JEL Classification: M49, H20, H50, H60

Suggested Citation

Hageman, Amy and Arnold, Vicky and Sutton, Steve G. and Sutton, Steve G., Starving the Beast: Using Tax Policy and Governmental Budgeting to Drive Social Policy (June 2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=997637 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.997637

Amy Hageman

University of Central Florida - Kenneth G. Dixon School of Accounting ( email )

University of Central Florida
P.O. Box 161400
Orlando, FL 32816-1400
United States

Vicky Arnold (Contact Author)

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) ( email )

Helleveien 30
Bergen, NO-5045
Norway

University of Central Florida ( email )

University of Central Florida
P.O. Box 161400
Orlando, FL 32816-1400
United States
3217455000 (Phone)
32127 (Fax)

Steve G. Sutton

NHH Norwegian School of Economics ( email )

Helleveien 30
Bergen, NO-5045
Norway

University of Central Florida ( email )

4000 Central Florida Blvd
Orlando, FL 32816
United States

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