Is it naive to assume that a simple formula for a healthy federal economy involves just two concepts:
1) Taxes should be at a rate that does not stifle an individual's ability to accrue wealth.
2) Spending should be less than tax receipts; simply prioritize and chop.
Stick to those rules, and much of the rest of what bugs us here will probably melt away.
You would be very correct IF the following parameters were not present.
1. Overburdening National Debt with $600Billion in Annual Interest
2. Byzantine tax structure that allows gross inequality of tax responsibility
3. Current Health and Welfare budget issues
Basically, if you were to go back to 1913 and rewrite the 16th Amendment and put strict rules on implementation of new taxes AND strict regulations on businesses to keep inflation from defeating budgets you would have an opportunity to have such a simple and working system.
With that rewritten 16th Amendment you would implement a savings plan to insure that people had retirement money so the government did not have to be responsible and you would have to institute some governance of healthcare to insure that the government did not have the responsibility of helping take care of folks who were not able to afford health coverage.
You would also have to demand a balanced budget with no exceptions, only x% increase in taxes per year and penalties to the Congress for failure to comply.
I doubt it still would work but it would be a start.