AMT RELIEF ACT OF 2007 -- (House of Representatives - December 12, 2007)
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Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Let me put this in context. Mr. Speaker, the distinguished Speaker of the House came to the floor and said, we're providing tax relief for people. No, we're not. This isn't tax relief. What this bill attempts to do is prevent a tax increase, so nobody is seeing their taxes lowered under this bill. That's point number one.
But point number two is this is a new precedent that is being established here. What is this new precedent? This tax, the alternative minimum tax, is a mistake. It was never intended to be. Everybody acknowledges that. It was designed to get 155 really rich people in 1969, to make them pay taxes. It was never designed to tax 23 million people in the middle class this year. So we agree in Congress this shouldn't exist. Let's get rid of it. In all preceding Congresses we've said, let's not get new people caught up into this trap, and just be done with it.
The new precedent that is occurring here today is, the majority says, while we may not like this tax itself, we want that money. We may not like this way of taxing it, but we sure want this money coming into the Federal Government. And that's the new precedent that is occurring today which is an endorsement of this tax increase, a endorsement in acceptance, a wanting of this new and higher tax revenue.
What does that do? That brings us to a whole new size of government. What we have had in the last 40 years is the Federal Government has taxed the U.S. economy at 18.3 percent. That's the 40-year average. That's how much Washington takes out of the U.S. economy.
With this tax in place, with this new alternative minimum tax, that takes us up to an unprecedented level of government spending and taxing to 24 percent. What the majority is doing is putting us on this path of ever higher levels of taxation, even higher than during World War II. Why are they doing this? To spend more money.
There is a difference in philosophy here, Mr. Speaker. There's a basic philosophical difference. My good friend, who's a good man from Massachusetts will say, well, they're just borrowing to do this. We say, let's address entitlements. Let's focus on spending and keep taxes low.
They say, we don't want this tax but we want this money so we're going to raise some other permanent tax to get it into the government.
Here's the difference. Our priority is the taxpayer comes first, government second. Their priority is government comes first, the taxpayer is second. The government's in the front of the line. The taxpayer gets stuck with the tab.
We're saying the American families are taxed enough. They're paying enough in taxes. Because, you know what, we've got to watch it. We've got to make sure that we're competitive in the 21st century. We've got to make sure that we can keep jobs in America. And if we put ourselves on this path of unprecedented levels of taxation, we will lose our greatness in this century. We will sever that legacy of giving the next generation a higher standard of living, and we will be unable to compete with the likes of China and India
if we buy into this notion of ever higher taxes. That's why we should oppose this bill.
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