From Obsidian Wings:
The Difference Between The Two Parties In A Nutshell: [I]f Congress does not do something, the AMT is going to hit 23 million families with higher taxes this year. The House has passed a bill preventing this from happening. Since, to their credit, they passed PAYGO rules that require that any tax cut or spending increase be paid for, they had to find some way to raise taxes. They found a loophole that allows various fund managers, who earn millions of dollars a year, to count those millions as capital gains, and thus to pay much lower taxes than the rest of us, and they closed it.
For this, they are being excoriated by Republicans. David Dreier thinks that PAYGO rules shouldn't apply to "mistakes":
"But anti-tax Republicans said the AMT was a mistake and thus offsets were unneeded. ''What absolute lunacy,'' said Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., ''paying for a tax that was never intended.''"
What a fascinating principle: you don't have to pay for costs you incur by mistake. I wonder if our creditors will go for that? And why not extend it to other things as well? The Iraq war, for instance, was never expected to last this long: why should we bother to come up with the billions and billions of dollars we are still paying for it? If it comes to that, why not just throw fiscal responsibility out the window? As far as I can tell, David Dreier thinks that that's the only non-lunatic thing to do.
Rep. Jim McCrery (La.), the ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, argued that such "a fiscal straitjacket" should not even apply to the alternative minimum tax, reasoning that all Congress is trying to do is keep the taxes of 23 million families from going up. Since that is not really a tax cut, he said, its $52 billion cost to the Treasury should not be paid for...
This exchange makes the issues pretty clear:
"Congress can and must stop this middle class tax hike before Thanksgiving -- without raising taxes," Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Friday. But Pelosi said that "we have an understanding with the Senate that this legislation, in order to go forward, must be paid for." "Raising revenues takes political courage," said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. "There is no courage whatsoever in plunging our country into debt, spending and not paying"...
Nobody who calls himself a fiscal conservative has any business being a Republican. Nobody. Shutting down the Republican Party and starting over is the best we can do.