Monday, December 13, 2010

Who benefits?

After a decade of demonizing the "Bush tax cuts for the rich" the NYTimes has finally discovered that the middle class has been the primary beneficiary all along.
But a hefty portion of the $858 billion tax package will benefit middle- and upper-middle-income Americans — precisely the demographic that felt neglected the last two years as the White House and Congress focused on the major health care law and on helping the unemployed and people facing foreclosure. 
 Better late than never.

Still, the stimulative effect of this bill will be far smaller than projected.  Fully $137 billion consists of not imposing a tax that has never yet been imposed.  That's right, the AMT on households with income below $75,000.  An accounting gimmick is not a tax cut!   No one except the Congress has ever counted future inflation-unadjusted AMT revenues in their planning.  

If this is so good, let's first triple the AMT, and then not impose it.  Triple the stimulus at no added cost!

A tremendous amount of pork was added to the bill in the Senate—Christmas came early!  Passage today seems likely, though I suspect that there will some Republican defectors joining the liberals in a protest vote.  Some in the House want to "test" Republican resolve on the new estate tax numbers, but I don't expect them to change.

Conventional wisdom after the Sunday morning news shows is that the bill passes this week.

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