AMT Relief: What Does the White House Advocate?

As I was mulling over my tax return for 2006, it hit that I might get nailed by AMT. Sarah Lueck notes that Congress may be thinking of giving folks like me some relief in 2007:

The new Democratic-controlled Congress is looking to rein in looming tax increases on the middle class, possibly covering the cost by raising taxes on upper-income households. And the Bush administration may not stand in the way. The possible bargain centers on the Alternative Minimum Tax, a kind of parallel income tax that hit 3.5 million U.S. taxpayers in the 2006 tax year. Congressional Democrats are eager to keep the AMT from ensnaring millions more middle-class taxpayers. They also must find a way to cover the estimated $50 billion cost of scaling back the tax this year.

This send shocks waves threw the veins of Lawrence Kudlow who reports on an email from an unnamed “senior White House official”:

“Larry—just wanted to touch base with you on this story in the WSJ. I don’t know who those “officials” are, but let me be very clear: they are not representing the President’s views. The story is dead wrong. The President proposed a balanced budget while making tax relief permanent and is firmly committed to keeping marginal tax rates low. The President supports the proposal in his budget. President Bush has proven that he’s a tax cutter, not a tax raiser.”

The phrase “the President proposed a balanced budget while making tax relief permanent AND is firmly committed to keeping marginal tax rates low” is a lie unless AND is replaced by OR. But why couldn’t Kudlow tell us the name of his source? Is tax policy classified material? Kudlow continues with this oddly worded passage:

why not abolish the 10 percent bottom tax rate? It’s scored as a $40 billion dollar revenue loss, even though no one pays it. $40 billion dollars is 80 percent of the estimated $50 billion cost of a one year AMT patch fix-up. If I may be so bold, with ka-gillions of revenues pouring into Treasury coffers, it looks to me like the Bush marginal rate tax cuts are paying for themselves.

Let me try to follow Kudlow’s Krazy logic. AMT relief will mean a loss of revenues, which he claims is $50 billion. So Kudlow wants to pay for that by reducing revenues by another $40 billion. Uh Larry: 50 plus 40 does not equal 10. But no one pays taxes at the bottom rate? They are no poor people in the United States? Or is Kudlow trying to say the revenue-maximizing rate equal to zero?

Given how scatter-brained Kudlow’s thinking is, I may regret the following suggestion. But couldn’t someone teach this bubbling fool how to write clearly?