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 neoconservatism 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. The resulting framework has implications for future tax policy research, as well as enhancing our understanding of the influence of the neoconservative movement on the greater accounting environment.

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