Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Garrett and the AMT Standoff

In the four years Representative Scott Garrett served in the Republican majority he never got a single bill he wrote enacted into law. Of particular disappointment to the people I spoke with last year was the AMT and Garrett's inability to prevent people in our District from being forced to pay it.

Right now, 120,000 people from our District pay the AMT. Garrett's solution is to eliminate it and borrow the money so people's children and grandchildren get to pay compound interest on the debt. Sadly, when the Republicans went from the debt reduction PAYGO party to the tax cut and borrow party, Garrett and those who agreed with him created an awful bind. The second round of Bush Tax cuts, which Garrett co-sponsored, couldn't have been passed without eliminating PAYGO, expanding the AMT, and borrowing TRILLIONS.

The cut and borrow philosophy has caused the deficit to explode a staggering 60% in the last seven years, to over $9 trillion, causing our economic policy to be dictated by the likes of China. When I was campaigning last year, someone reiterated Cheney's "deficits don't matter" line when I was talking about the need to re-institute PAYGO and I reminded them of this from the 14th Amendment of the Constitution:
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.

The AMT debate has come down to a standoff between the borrowers and the true fiscal conservatives in both parties in both chambers of Congress, and our District is caught in the crossfire. When 20% of the District is impacted by something, one would hope Garrett would be the one to come through with the compromise that gets the job done.

Unfortunately, as usual, Garrett has chosen partisan rhetoric over substantive work. Garrett hasn't offered a deficit neutral solution of his own, he's voted against the Democrat's deficit neutral proposal, and now has come out and slammed the Democrats for inaction on the AMT even though it's the borrow happy Republicans in the Senate getting in the way of the patch getting passed.

This hasn't been funny or cute for a long time.

In his closing remarks about the omnibus spending bill passed last night, which neither Democrats nor Republicans were 100% happy with, Representative David Obey made the following statement:
The difference is that this year we are recognizing that in an adult world, win, lose, or draw, we have an obligation to reach some final decisions. We have an obligation to compromise and move on. And that's what we are trying to do with this legislation. It is a responsible thing to do.

Nearly 20% of the population of our District are about to pay the price for Garrett's entrenched ineptitude. Garrett has an obligation to the 120,000 taxpayers in this District, and to future generations, to work toward a compromise. A compromise involves both sides giving up something.

If Garrett doesn't like 50,000 hedge fund managers paying the same tax rate as everybody else, he has an obligation to propose something else. Not some borrow more scheme endorsed by the Club for Growth and their 3 donors that live in our District; but a solution that can get passed and doesn't continue to cripple the American Dream for future generations.

If Garrett continues to substitute rhetoric for action, this being a Republican district, then the obligation Garrett abdicates falls on the shoulders of Republican primary voters. I cannot believe the Republicans I worked for years ago are pleased with Garrett's ineptitude and deficit exploding stances. There has to be a point where Garrett's reckless stances are taken to task.

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