Every issue is its own case which must be looked at individually, but for the most part I think that the more money you leave in people's pockets, the better off they are. There is a line where government spending is helpful and taxation is necessary, but where that line is remains a matter of debate. Democrats think it should be higher, Republicans think it should be lower, I'm more in alignment with the lower.
I don't believe that government is able to spend on behalf of the less fortunate as efficiently as the community. Social Security has an average rate of return of 2.74%. That's paltry by any investment standard. I recently did a lot of research on the subject which showed that after taking 7.65% of a person's paycheck, and matching funds from the company they work for (which is how Social Security and Medicare are funded), you would have to do terribly badly in any respectable fund to only receive 2.74% growth after all those years. Moreover, my research showed that taking that 7.65% out of a minimum wage worker's pocket to pay them back at only 2.74% of what they gave is damn near criminal given the alternatives of investment. Giving that money back to them would be over a $100/month raise. When you're only earning 15,912 a year that's a lot of money that they could use. Even better, if the worker only put half of that into a retirement fund with a 6% lifetime (conservative) return, and the business continued to put in 10% of that original contribution, you would give the average minimum wage worker another $309 per month over social security, all while reintroducing individual contributions by 50% and company contributions by 90%.
The private market simply does a better job providing for retirement among those who provide for themselves. If you don't want to save for your retirement then that's going to be really hard for you in your later life. But we've just shown how someone living and working on minimum wage is worse off on the current system if they are willing to adjust to the alternative of providing for their own retirement.
I don't know how much lower federal taxes need to go, but I know that I would prefer a flat tax with a credit for those not earning more than a certain amount. You earn less than the poverty level, you don't pay taxes. Everyone else pays the same amount. Pretty simple and fair. Nobody gets exemptions. The poor don't get screwed.
I want most spending left to the states. Romney would have done a lot better with me if he said, "Romney care is exactly like Obamacare, but in Massachusetts we decided as a state that's what we wanted. I don't think that's the same solution for the country."
But I want to be really clear, this is what the Republicans SAY they are going to do. In practice it's a lot different. If most spending in the government is done by Social Security and Medicare, there's an equally large section called Defense that the GOP has a huge hard-on for supporting. They can pretend it's not spending, or a lot of corporate welfare, but it is. No bones about it.