So here’s what they’ll do. They will bill their tax increases as a middle-class tax cut by including in the calculation the Bush middle-class tax cuts, which they will not permit to sunset, and also by taking credit for a long-term fix of the AMT. Together, the sums “saved” by these “tax cuts” will be gigantic, at least on paper, and will permit them to call their revenue-raising leviathan a tax reduction. Of course, no actual middle-class human being will see his or her taxes cut. The Bush tax cuts will just continue and the theoretical harm of the AMT will be averted.
Then they will repeal the carried interest exemption on all partnerships (real estate and energy as well as private equity) and will hold up the massive and obscene earnings of hedge fund managers and their unjustifiable tax preferences as the poster child for their tax increases. They will feature Blackstone and i ts billion-dollar executives as the targets of their tax increases.
All of this camouflage will fool enough people to get the votes in a Democratic Congress to pass their tax program. But once the increases start being felt on tax day, it will be a different story. But, by then, it will be too late. Halloween will be every day.