A new tax favor for the relatively wealthy is now in the stimulus package:
In place of those business credits, Democrats expect to include a
"patch" for the Alternative Minimum Tax, a provision meant to prevent
upper middle class wage earners from moving into a higher tax bracket.
The AMT was originally designed 40 years ago to assure that the
wealthiest Americans were not able to shelter their earnings from the
Internal Revenue Service.
Estimates peg the cost of this year's AMT fix at around $70 billion,
and congressional leaders and key members of the tax-writing Senate
Finance and House Ways and Means committees would prefer to deal with
it now rather than wait to make it part of an end-of-the-session crush,
as it has in recent years. Rep. Charles Rangel
(D-N.Y.), the Ways and Means chairman, said yesterday that plans were
"more than tentative" for including the AMT provision in the stimulus
Furthermore, Congress is expanding SCHIP, but maybe it's not as progressive as it sounds:
If Democrats thought health care reform was going to happen this
year, said health policy consultant Robert Laszewski, they would have
leveraged the popular, bipartisan children's program to build support
for the much bigger universal coverage plan that will need every vote
they can find.
Quick passage of the children's health care bill reveals "a lack of
confidence" by Democratic leaders, Laszewski said. Asked what's going
to stop health care reform this year, he said, "$2 trillion of special