Tax Challenges for the Next President

A spectre is haunting America, the spectre of progressivism.

My friend James Carter, along with former Congressman Bill Archer, had an excellent op-ed in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. As Mssrs. Archer and Carter explain, three tax time bombs threaten to blow up during the next presidency.

First, the sunset of the Bush tax cuts. As I wrote in Death and Taxes, Bush’s celebrated tax cuts are scheduled to die on January 1, 2011, with the nation’s tax code resurrected as it was during the Clinton Administration. Mssrs. Archer and Carter point out that this resurrection “would trigger the largest tax increase in history”.

Second, the alternative minimum tax. Enacted in 1969 to quell resentment toward 155 wealthy people who paid no income tax, the AMT aims to backfire on middle-class taxpayers, 56 million of whom may face larger tax bill within a decade.

Finally, entitlement spending. America desperately needs an exit strategy from Lyndon Johnson’s disastrous War on Poverty and other government give-away programs. “Unless Congress is willing to slow the growth of entitlements,” Mssrs. Archer and Carter warn, “future taxpayers will be saddled with unsustainable budget deficits or massive tax increases.

Neither victor in yesterday’s New Hampshire primary is a friend to America’s taxpayers. In fact, both opposed the Bush tax cuts. It’s time to wake up–before America’s tax bombs blow up.

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