Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Presidential Candidates Avoid AMT Discussion

Interesting front page story in the Dallas Morning News:  Tax Bomb Keeps Ticking; Even as AMT Barges Into Middle Class, Few Candidates Discuss It, by Todd J. Gillman:

Nineteen million middle-class American households will get socked with very costly bills April 15 unless Congress acts soon. But presidential contenders in both parties would rather not talk about this tax time bomb called the AMT ...

While presidential contenders in both parties denounce the AMT, few offer even a cursory explanation of how they would pay to scrap it or keep it from spreading. And that's the rub, because federal budget projections rely on bulging AMT revenues. Without spending cuts or new taxes, freezing the AMT at current levels would trigger a $50 billion shortfall next year, and bigger problems later. ...

Many political strategists see tax policy emerging as a central issue in the 2008 campaign. The Democrats generally favor scaling back the tax cuts enacted under President Bush. The Republicans want to extend them. But when it comes to the impending AMT explosion, the candidates demur, leaving the hard choices to Congress, where the chief tax-writer, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., has proposed abolishing it and recouping lost revenue by raising taxes on Wall Street investment managers and other high-income taxpayers.

(Hat Tip:  David Elkins.)

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