Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Buying (My) Votes

LLPoN has been uncharistically quiet on the one political issue my GOP lovin' wife and I can discuss and agree on - the alternative minimum tax.

Now, I'm not saying I'm not willing to pay taxes, but to avoid raising them dramatically in a single year is enough to get my vote.

I don't care if you believe there are WMD's in Canada and want to invade. I don't care if you tell Europe to suck your nuts. I don't care if all the interns in the world have blue dresses with stains - if there is a $5,000 swing in it for me - that is where my vote is going.

Before kids, house, and dogs, I might have said, "Well, the moose in Alaska must be saved, I will pay more at the pump." Now, its a lot more black and white. I know this will garner a collective boo from crew, but I gots ta keep it real.


Otto Man said...


You've changed man. Now I don't believe in nuthin'. i'm goin' to law school.

Otto Man said...

As Oliver Wendell Holmes put it, taxes are the price we pay for civilized society. No one likes paying taxes, but they're how people (at least the ones without obsessive dog-rearing costs) contribute to the maintenance and furtherance of national needs.

Promising a tax cut is the oldest political trick in the book and, in my mind, a sign that a politician is just looking to get elected and not serious about actual competent governance. (See Bush, George W.) And at its basest form, like when Dubya sent $300 checks to every American with a little note attached reminding them it came from him, it seems like a simple straight-up bribe.

I'm all for simplifying the tax code and making it more progressive. But I have qualms about the AMT, especially since it seems to be targeting not the super rich as it was intended, but rather middle class folks. (This
piece hits on some of it.)

S.W. Anderson said...

AMT is not any kind of ordinary progressive taxation. It's the zombie remains of a patch-fix applied many years ago. The patch has been altered and repatched repeatedly, only to stagger back, threatening people who were never supposed to have to deal with it. I assume that includes StudioDave.

Congress could eliminate the AMT and replace potential revenue losses in less than a week. I suspect the reason it's not happening is that GOP types haven't figured out an unobtrusive way to make doing that the occasion for vacuuming more money from middle-class taxpayers so they can pass more and bigger tax breaks for their six- and seven-figure-income pals.

Mr Furious said...

The AMT is a straight-up con now. The Republicans are using it to continue to scoop money out of people it was never intended to effect, while using it as an example of how unfair and overtaxed everybody is, AND to demonstrate how overly complex the tax code is. It's ALL bullshit. All that needs to be done is re-index the AMT for inflation. Problem solved.

Vote with your wallet if you want Dave, I won't hold it against you (too much), but remember, what gets said during a campaign will have little to do with what occurs after the election. Especially now. People are going to be paying more taxes one of these days—it's simply unavoidable. And unless you are a millionaire, the smart move is to go with the Democrats. Otherwise, watch your mailbox for your $300 bribe, while the Republicans slip another few grand out of your back pocket.

It wasn't on the AMT, specifically, but I had a post on taxes last week at my place. A little on taxing capital gains, the estate tax, flat taxes and more! Even used the classic Monopoly guy clip art! And since no one commented it was the ol' tree falling in the forest...

Ra_wiggum said...

Can I ask a question? What kind of moron would create a tax like the AMT but not build in a provision for inflation? Someone who assumes incomes are at the same level they they were several decades ago?

"Back then we called a nickel a bee. Give me 5 bees for a quarter we'd say."

Otto Man said...

What kind of moron would create a tax like the AMT but not build in a provision for inflation? Someone who assumes incomes are at the same level they they were several decades ago?

The same people who think the minimum wage only needs changing once a decade. We've had the current rate ($5.15) since 1997.

This is what happens when campaign finance laws make it more and more likely that our representatives are all millionaires.

Mr Furious said...

What kind of moron?

"A Grade-A moron, Jimmy..."

Thrillhous said...

Ah, 5 bees for a quarter. To be young again!

I'm with Mr. F: the AMT is a perfectly legitimate tax, it just has to be indexed to inflation. David Cay Johnston covers the AMT in detail in "Perfectly Legal." What a great book!

I think Mr. F's got it right about why it's still around in its crappy form, too. It gives the GOP another "unfair" tax to rail about. And there ain't no way they're going to do the right thing and make sure AMT just applies to rich people.

Mr Furious said...

I swear I was just yping out of my ass last night with my comments, but John Cole just posted this.

The House passed three separate tax cuts yesterday and plans to approve a fourth today, trimming the federal revenue by $94.5 billion over five years—nearly double the budget savings that Republicans muscled through the House last month.

GOP leaders portray the tax bills—for the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast, affluent investors, U.S. troops serving in Iraq and taxpayers who otherwise would be hit by the alternative minimum tax—as vital to keeping the economy rolling.

“Our economic policies have done the trick,” said Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio). “We are in the middle of one of the strongest economies this country has ever seen.”

Just wait for the conflation that military families are being unfairly targetted by the AMT. Sort of like the new "family farms decimated by the death tax"...

Any ideas for a name for my psychic hotline?

Mr Furious said...

That's "typing." Not "yping," I'm not sure what the hell that is.