Charlie Rangel’s tax reform bill isn't likely to become law anytime soon. Yet its already an active part of the presidential campaign, as Republicans try to reclaim control of the tax issue in advance of the 2008 elections.
The house ways and means chairman proposes some big tax cuts--eliminating the alternative minimum tax for those earning less than $200,000 a year and reducing the top corporate tax rate to 30.5%. But Republicans are hammering at the increases: a 4% surtax on incomes above $200,000, taxing "carried interest” as ordinary income rates, and elimination of important tax breaks benefiting some companies.
That lengthens the list of proposals Republicans are using to try and revive the Democrats old tax and spend reputation:
--Raising cigarette taxes.
--Rolling back bush tax cuts for upper income Americans.
--Removing oil and Drug Company tax breaks.
--Raising capitol gains taxes.
In each case, Democrats say they have good reasons: to expand health care, develop alternative energy sources, cut the deficit, or make the tax code more fair.