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Senate Passes One-Year AMT Fix, Drops PAYGO

By Da King Published: December 8, 2007

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The Senate, in an 88-5 vote, passed a one year temporary fix for the Alternative Minimum Tax, resulting in a $50 billion tax cut, since it was not offset by spending cuts or other tax increases, as the Democrat PAYGO rules were suspended. PAYGO, passed by the incoming 2006 Democratic congress, mandates that tax cuts or spending increases are paid for so as not to add more to the federal deficit. Under PAYGO, either $50 billion of spending cuts or $50 billion in other tax increases would have had to be made to offset the 'cost' of the AMT fix.

Okay, so what was the point of PAYGO if, when they need to implement it, Congress just says 'ah, never mind' ? Answer - no point at all. Now, nobody is for tax cuts and shrinking the federal government more than I am, but firstly, I'm for fiscal conservatism. Driving up the debt is NOT fiscal conservatism. The Associated Press article states the situation this way:

The Senate bill, passed 88-5, provides a one-year fix for the alternative minimum tax but without matching the cost of the tax relief with new tax revenues. Without the fix, an estimated 25 million people would be subject to the higher AMT tax, up from 4 million in 2006.

The Senate vote puts it at odds with the House, where Democratic leaders, under a principle of not adding to the national debt, demanded that the AMT fix be paid for. Last month, the House passed legislation matching the AMT fix and other tax cuts with about $80 billion in new tax revenues.

Notice that the AP only talks about raising taxes elsewhere to offset the AMT. Apparently, cutting spending to pay for the AMT fix doesn't occur to them. Not that they are part of the liberal media or anything. Gosh no. Notice also that the Democratic-led House wanted to add $80 billion in tax increases to offset $50 billion in tax reductions, thus running through a large tax increase, which is what the Republicans feared the Democrats would use PAYGO for in the first place, endless tax increases. When was the last time Democrats ever cut spending, besides never ?

But Republicans aren't getting any nods of approval here either. Listen to this most decidedly non-fiscally conservative statement about the AMT and PAYGO from a GOP guy:

The Finance Committee's top Republican, Charles Grassley of Iowa, said it was time for Democrats to abandon their "PayGo obsession," referring to the "pay-as-you-go" principle that tax cuts or spending increases should be paid for so as not to add to the federal deficit. With the "clean" AMT bill, "the Senate Democratic leadership seems to realize that the AMT should not be offset," he said.

Say what ? Democrat's "obsession" with PAYGO ? You mean the obsession to balance the budget ? I think that's an obsession of which we need a whole lot more. With Republicans like these, who needs Democrats ? I'd like to tell Mr. Grassley that the only thing WORSE than the Democrats tax and spend policies is a policy of reduce taxes but still spend. Mathematics tells us that. You'd think a US Senator on the Finance Committee would be able to do math, but I guess not. Maybe Senators should have to pass a test to qualify for their positions.

Judging from the bipartisan support of this Senate bill, fiscal responsibility still doesn't mean much in the halls of Congress. Pay as you go is a sham. Subtract it from the meager list of accomplishments of this Congress. We have one party who will increase taxes and spending forever, and a 2nd party who says one thing and does another.

A pox on you both.

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