Re: @Tim Worstall
"Were it efficient and focussed, we would only need to collect about a third of the level of taxes we currently do."
Nice assertion. But it really needs a few little things, like evidence.
As I understand it, around 1/3 of the Government's expenditure is on Health Care. By your argument, privatising that would make it more efficient. Fortunately, there are a number of privatised healthcare systems around the world (both publicly and privately funded) and we know from looking at them that the more private you make healthcare, the more expensive it gets. So, yes, you could cut one third of the budget by cutting health care. But that would - if the US is anything to go by - massively increase the burden on the economy.
Another third goes on pensions. Here, it's hard to compare, because private pension funds are contribution-based, while public pensions are usually either mixed or funded in the current period.
Putting those two together, you realise that well over half of all Government spending goes on the elderly (something like 3/4 of all health spending is on the over 65s. Less than 20% covers you from 5-65). So any meaningful, order of magnitude cut to Government spending is going to involve substantially cutting funding provided to the elderly.
You have implied that these cuts could be achieved without any loss to services (i.e. the money is wasted).
What I want to know is, "how?"