Wednesday, December 14, 2005

creeping tax hikes are okay, says frist

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist says Congress only has time to handle one tax issue -- so instead of getting rid of the Alternative Minimum Tax, passed nearly 40 years ago to make sure the very wealthy didn't pay zero for income taxes, Frist wants to pass more cuts on dividends and capital gains.

Not rolling back the AMT (foolishly written without taking inflation into account, which is why it is applied far more broadly now than intended) could cost millions of somewhat-better-off-than-average Americans thousands of dollars each. But that's OK, because Frist, a member of the investor class himself, wants to make sure the fat cats can keep a little bit more of their cream.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer had it right: the delay of the AMT measure was "a punch in the gut to the middle class." The minimum-tax fix, he said, "should have been our number one tax priority and instead, because of right wing ideological objectives, the middle and upper middle class will suffer and only the very, very wealthy will benefit."