Question: Who Cares?

I know that sounds flippant and perhaps even naive. Plus, the article certainly answers the question of who stands to gain the most from repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax.

This being the case, I'll be more specific and relevant in repeating; who amongst the few (incredibly awesome {-:) but politically astute readers of this silly li'l blog thinks this is a worthy priority for our newly elected, Democratically controlled Congress?

Alternative Minimum Tax Targeted
Democrats Seek Fix For Middle-Class* Families

By Lori Montgomery

Washington Post Staff Writer

Saturday, November 11, 2006; Page A01

Democratic leaders this week vowed to make the alternative minimum tax a centerpiece of next year's budget debate, saying the levy threatens to unfairly increase tax bills for millions of middle-class families by the end of the decade.

The complex and expensive tax was designed to prevent the super-rich from using deductions, credits and other shelters to avoid paying the Internal Revenue Service. But because of rising incomes, the tax is expected to expand to more than 30 million taxpayers in 2010 from 3.8 million mostly well-off households in 2006.

Fixing the AMT has long been a top priority for Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who is in line to head the Senate Finance Committee. Last year, Baucus co-authored a bill to repeal the tax with Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa).

Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.), the presumptive chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, this week put fixing the AMT at the top of his agenda, calling it far more urgent than dealing with President Bush's request to extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, which are scheduled to expire in 2010.

Read the rest . . . ]
Rep. Rangel's evaluation** not-with-standing, do you care? If so, and other than for the votes it'll unquestionably garner in the neigh but two years off Presidential election, what great good will repealing this particularly targeted element of our country's still somewhat grotesquely bloated tax code achieve?

Whilst the presentation of my question makes readily apparent what
I think about its rank on the priorities of the 110th Congress, I assure you all that I am serious in my desire to indentify any fiscally responsible reason to support such an exorbitant expenditure of political energies.
By 2010, "the AMT will become the de facto tax system for filers in the $200,000 to $500,000 income range, 94 percent of whom will face the tax," according to a report by the Tax Policy Center. About half of tax filers making $75,000 to $100,000 will have to pay the tax, including 89 percent of married couples in that income bracket who have at least two children.
Wouldn't it make more political and economic sense to go in and fix whatever functionality within the code is going to cause it to include even lower income families? The idea of a basement tax rate for the majority of high income earners is an empirically sound one. Why does this implementation need to expand the definition of "high income" so drastically downwards?

I don't know. Maybe it's just my minor oppositional disorder acting up, but it seems to me the Democrats are truly being jackasses for making this piece of the tax code a high priority.

* Again with the possibility of it just being my minor OD, but I think that, statistically speaking, that should really read Upper Middle Class. "Class Warfare" has always been hyperbole for the real phenomenon of interclass competition, so I'll dismiss with confidence any accusations of my perpetrating the former which may arise over this asteriskical.

Isn't competition a good thing for Capitalism?

** Does anyone really think those economically indefensible tax cuts will be extended by this Congress?


  1. I'd say our incoming Dems have done a good job delegating the plans to turn this country around. In the area of budget, and it will come up, the minimum tax will surely go a long way in undoing our giant debt and might save us from a recession where the dollar is valued at .50 cents on the market.

  2. .. the minimum tax will surely go a long way in undoing our giant debt and might save us from a recession...

    That's the kind o' thing I'm getting at, Mary.

    As the 2nd quote from the story notes, it's not a simple matter of individual import. Can dual income families in which the lesser earner is still making 20% more than the median for the nation, really not be expected to contribute a minimum amount towards their nation's budget for Anything other than reasons of political expediency?

    It's not economically, nor morally IMO, rational to assume that folks who can afford to pay more should not be expected to pay as much of a percentage.

    Of course, this point leads us back to there being some very logical reasons to finally give some serious consideration to the Flat Tax concept.

    I don't know where I'd come out on that topic after an extended discussion. There ARE a lot of pros and cons which I think only an extended and intense debate can make more clear how efficacious and effective such a Tax system would be in our current society.

  3. If their mortgage is about twice what it would be if they lived anywhere else in the country, then it does matter as an equity issue. I owe a 300K on a condo, for heaven's sake. This condo would be 100K in Iowa.

    The important part of addressing this piece is that it allows political cover to make a deal with the GOP on some other items. Note well that the Democrats do respond to their donor base as much as the GOP does, they are just less obvious about it.

    Until you get campaign finance under control, and maybe make it public, you will get both parties looking out for their donors.

  4. I have mixed emotions on this subject. I'd need some time to consider it after whatever it is that they decide. Hopefully it will be done well. Crossing fingers.

  5. It seems to me that one of the concerns for the Blue team is to make sure everyone knows they are against a tax increase. It reminds of how early in the Clinton administration there was a lot of saber rattling to show Clinton could be tough.

  6. Until you get campaign finance under control, and maybe make it public, you will get both parties looking out for their donors.

    With the concept of Universal Health Care still carrying such a {-ahem-} Socialist stigma here in Capitalism Central, Campaign Finance is what I consider to be Issue #1 for any halfway astute observer of American politics.

    As effective and, in the marketplace of goods and services, just and fair as capitalism unequivocally is, a person's vote should never be for sale to the highest financial bidder. Speech (and the ideas it represents) must be protected from such coercion in order to be truly Free and, to borrow a term from the Capitalist lexicon, Liquid (3c and 4.)

    Thanks a lot for contributing here, Michael. That's some Good Stuff for the conversation!

    Hey now, Sumo! "Crossing fingers" still does to be helping me relax before researching such concepts in order to get a better "handle" on them. Take yer time m'lady and, as long as you keep at your wonderfully fierce and humorous approach to bloggin' 'bout it, 'twill all be to the good!

    Dig it, Steve! Imagine, if you will, how the issue of Gay Marriage may have evolved if, instead of attempting to force the Military to open acknowledge homosexuality in its ranks, they'd have slowly and steadily built up the platform of Equal Rights for all folks, regardless of sexual orientation, in our Civil Society.

    I think they (the Clint Admin) wanted the issue to stay one of State's Rights and figured the military was the only place the Executive had any compelling interest. What they failed to understand is that military Men(!) will accept just about any individual differences from their personnel, as long as they don't have to think about them. {sigh}

    I firmly believe we'd have none of this Legally Binding Bigotry in the form of amendments to any of the several state's constitutions if Clinton's agenda had been more oriented towards Civil Rights within our greater society than within the military in particular.

    Live and learn, one can hope. Eh...


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