Monday, January 15, 2007

AMT, Turbotax, and Enablers and Iraq's Banking System

Ann Althouse posts on the Alternative Minimum Tax, responding to a suggestion by Kaus that the hassle of doing two calculations is a reason for opposition to it. She and Glenn Reynolds point out that Turbotax software eliminates the problem. So should conservative oppose Turbotax?

It's a good question, but first let me address the AMT. I like the damn thing, liked it back when it was instituted amidst much publicity about fat cats (we had a few back then (i.e., 1969)) and still like it. Problem is, it wasn't indexed when imposed initially. These days it tends to hit the upper middle class in high tax states like Wisconsin. Someone with a $500K house might get hit with a $12.5K tax bill, then be subject to AMT. While I don't have much sympathy for someone in that position, I'd agree they shouldn't get hit by AMT.

Now for the question: is Turbotax a weapon of the evil, tax-sucking vampires known as liberals? Obviously no. It would be like saying that the lack of a banking system in Iraq, which undermines the Iraqi Army, is a weapon of the Iraqi opposition. Bureaucratic systems and software systems are morally and politically neutral, even though they may accidentally help or hurt the good. After all, Turbotax makes our tax system more efficient, permitting lower rates than would otherwise be necessary.

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