Meanwhile the Elephants Are Stampeding…

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While Republicans routinely attack government interference in the marketplace, the House-passed tax bill, which Speaker Newt Gingrich labeled the “crown jewel” of his “Contract With America,” is larded with new corporate welfare programs labeled as tax breaks. Among the potential new goodies:

1. A five-year phaseout of the corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT), which will cost the Treasury about $46 billion, according to Citizens for Tax Justice. A central piece of the Tax Reform Act of 1986, the AMT was prompted by studies showing that dozens of America’s biggest–and most profitable–companies paid no taxes at all as a result of tax loopholes and special breaks.

The repeal of the AMT was not included in the original “Contract With America” but was inserted in the tax bill at the last moment after a strenuous lobbying campaign by oil, chemical, paper, and steel companies. The push for repeal was aided by Rep. Bill Archer (R-Texas), the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, who has long been an ardent foe of the tax.

2. Accelerated depreciation for new investments. This would cost the government about $89 billion over 10 years, even though it raises about $16 billion in the first five years.

3. A cut in the corporate capital gains tax, pushed heavily by timber interests such as Weyerhaeuser and International Paper Co. The House bill will cut taxes on corporate capital gains by $8.5 billion over five years.

The Gingrich tax bill is not likely to survive intact–leading GOP senators are concerned that it’s a budget-buster. But there are still likely to be some corporate goodies in the final bill. As Mother Jones goes to press, it looks as if the accelerated depreciation provision will die because of its cost, but there is a good chance of a cut in corporate capital gains. It is also likely that capital-intensive companies will have to settle for a rollback of the AMT in lieu of repeal.

In the Senate, Bill Bradley (D-N.J.) is one of several members of the Finance Committee who are going to oppose repeal of the AMT. “If we repeal the tax, the result will be revenue loss that would have to be met in spending cuts, higher marginal tax rates, or a larger deficit,” he said. “All of these results would be borne directly or indirectly by all of us.”

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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