The Wall Street Journal reports that efforts to pass an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts have failed in the Senate.
If these politicians are serious about getting rid of “tax uncertainty” and reducing tax liabilities on the vast majority of Americans, then they should be dealing with a relatively simple and uncontroversial thing – patching the AMT tax exemption. Otherwise, more than 21 million families will see their tax bills go up next year. But like the estate tax, these are for the most part great stealth taxes. No one has to go on the record about voting for higher taxes because it just will happen.
As a nation we cannot even afford to extend the Bush-era cuts temporarily much less permanently if we are serious about tackling the deficit. And the tax cuts are far from being stimulative in this economic environment.
More stimulative options would include payroll tax holidays and extensions to unemployment benefits.
Instead we will be left with the “tax uncertainty” of the AMT and the estate tax. And every other thing that is the serious province of government will be held hostage.
On second thought, there really is no tax uncertainty. The Congress has had nearly nine years to come up with solutions for the estate and Bush tax cuts. We know that the rates on both will be going up on January 1. And we know that AMT will, too.
So now that we have certainty, can we please move forward and do some other stuff that really needs doing?