Robert Rubin on Tax Revenues & the AMT

AB reader Steve brings out attention to an article by Lori Montgomery who quotes some wisdom from Robert Rubin:

You cannot solve this nation’s fiscal problems without increased revenue

So why are some of the leaders of the Democratic Party shying away from this rather obvious statement? Montgomery’s story starts with:

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. The complex and expensive tax was designed to prevent the super-rich from using deductions, credits and other shelters to avoid paying the Internal Revenue Service. But because of rising incomes, the tax is expected to expand to more than 30 million taxpayers in 2010 from 3.8 million mostly well-off households in 2006.

Look – I’m not in favor of another sock to the middle class, but read further down:

Getting rid of the tax altogether would be even more expensive: more than $1 trillion over the next decade, by various estimates. Budget experts doubt that Democrats can do it without reneging on their promise to reduce the budget deficit or winning an agreement from Republicans to raise taxes elsewhere.

Someone in Washington has to lead on this issue – and for the past quarter of a century, it would appear that the GOP does little but pander with promises of free lunches. Let’s end with some mumblings from a Democratic tax counsel named John Buckley:

“The real story on the AMT is how it takes back the Bush tax cuts,” Buckley said. “For people who are married with children or live in states with income taxes, the tax cuts are temporary unless you fix the AMT.”

No! The real story is that Federal spending has not declined so we never had tax cuts – just tax deferrals. The real issue is whether we are going to have a tax shift away from the rich and towards the middle class and the working poor.