Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Alternative Maximum Tax

Congressman Paul Ryan deserves a lot of credit for proposing the abolition of the Alternative Minimum Tax. Congress' persistent refusal to modify the AMT (which is unindexed or adjusted for changes in tax rates) has let it effectively increase taxes sub silentio and to do it in a way which largely penalizes middle-class households. It has a particularily pernicious effect on people who live in high tax states like Wisconsin and the relative silence of our congressional delegation on the issue has been a collossal failure of leadership.

But Ron Kind says that to close the AMT without raising other taxes would be "irresponsible." We are, it turns out, counting on the money. Rep. Kind would like to stop ripping off middle class taxpayers, but he's got a family full of programs to feed.

The AMT has resulted in tax increases that no one voted for. It ought to be repealed. If this leads to a hole in the budget, then it is incumbent upon Congress to close it. But it can't avoid that responsibility by continuing to impose a tax on people that no one intended to impose it upon. If I've got problems with my household budget, I don't get to continue to steal from my employer until I figure out how to fix it. Responsibility involves being accountable for your actions. Allowing the AMT to expand in the way that it has was a way of avoiding that.

1 comment:

Dad29 said...

Avoiding Responsibility happens to be the Second Necessary Attribute of a Congresscritter...after Re-Election Ability.