Monday, April 23, 2007

AMT maneuverings

According to today's Washington Post, the Democrats are planning to provide AMT relief through a package that would exempt from the AMT people earning less than $250,000, reduce the bite in the $250,000 to $500,000 range, and reclaim the lost revenues from people earning more than $500,000. (Importantly. how this would be done is left unspecified.)

Talking points in hand, the Democrats speak of restoring the original focus of the AMT, providing tax relief on a more progressive (or "middle class") basis than did President Bush, and getting rid of the AMT's "parent penalty."

Republicans respond that taxing rich people is a "job killer" and that the AMT is too esoteric for anyone to care, especially as it hasn't really hit yet, etcetera.

This probably isn't a problem for the Democrats, however. If they are thinking strategically, as I would think they must be, the idea has to be to pass the AMT relief, let Bush veto it, and then blame Bush when the AMT tsunami really hits. Sounds like a feasible political strategy to me.

Unfortunately, it's just one more example of the decline of U.S. politics, from a system that could actually address problems to one simply based on blame-shifting and chicken games.

It's hard to blame the Democrats for this, as they really have no alternative with the Bush Administation in place. But if things don't get better under the next Administration, which depends on both parties, things could get pretty grim.

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