Democratic leaders this week vowed to make the alternative minimum tax a centerpiece of next year's budget debate, saying the levy threatens to unfairly increase tax bills for millions of middle-class families by the end of the decade.But now:
The House voted on Friday to pull the shadowy tradition of Congressional earmarking into the daylight, requiring lawmakers to attach their names to the pet items they slip into spending or tax bills and certify that they have no financial interest in the provisions....Of course, I support reforming the earmarks procedure. But they just took away the tax cut they promised! The earmarks change is supposed to leave more money in the budget, so why does it provide the occasion for reneging on the AMT promise?
The vote on the new earmark measure was linked to a rule known as “pay as you go” that would prohibit the House from increasing the deficit by passing any new tax cuts or entitlement spending programs without offsetting them with spending cuts or tax increases....
[T]he rules will make it more difficult to repair the alternative minimum tax, which, thanks to inflation, penalizes millions of middle-class households as well as its original targets, the rich. Repairing the tax is estimated to cost as much as $1 trillion in lost revenue over 10 years.