Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Michael Cooper and Larry Rohter's front page editorial

Today's New York Times front page column one "news" article by Cooper and Rohter has the following in the third paragraph, "And while McCain has portrayed his tax cuts as benefiting the middle class, most of the benefits would go to the wealthy and to corporations, including his calls for the elimination of the alternative minimum tax." "Including...the elimination of the alternative minimum tax"!!!???

In states like New York(where the NYT is published) that have high income taxes and high property taxes, as well as high sales taxes, the AMT can kick in for a family of five that has income that is as low as $120,000. It kicks out for anyone with income above around $650,000. The AMT's most punitive effect is on incomes from $300,000 to $500,000. So that's well off but is it what is usually meant by wealthy in 2008. Why does a tax that was originally designed to make sure that the absolute wealthiest people in country paid their fair share of taxes not affect the wealthiest at all? And Mr. Cooper and Mr. Rohter, who presumably live in New York, try living in this metro area with a family, live in a middle class neighborhood with acceptable schools, and tell your readers that you feel wealthy on $120,000 of income. Larry, unless you're still wearing your raggedy jeans, Grateful Dead(or maybe Roy Buchanan) t-shirt, and sandals from college days and leading your family in a spartan lifestyle, you would barely feel middle class. But the New York Times would consider you wealthy in its front page editorial pretending to be news reporting.

Come on, apart from your political agenda you must know that the AMT needs to be responsibly addressed and eliminated, not just fixed each year in some last minute Congressional trade-offs. There's is no excuse for it. It has no relationship to its original purpose.

I could go on and on and on, talking about things like how Clinton rejected a comprehensive proposal to fix AMT in 1999 when there was a robust budget based on a technology boom that he was lucky enough to ride, but I won't.

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