Sometimes I wonder how we ever survived on tax rates from the 50's.
Easy. Nobody paid them.
A predecessor "minimum tax" was enacted by the Tax Reform Act of 1969 and went into effect in 1970. Treasury Secretary Joseph Barr prompted the enactment action with an announcement that 155 high-income households had not paid a dime of federal income taxes. The households had taken advantage of so many tax benefits and deductions that reduced their tax liabilities to zero. Congress responded by creating an add-on tax on high-income households, equal to 10% of the sum of tax preferences in excess of $30,000 plus the taxpayer's regular tax liability.
Although most Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) payers are moderately well off, the tax is steadily encroaching on families that most would consider to be solidly middle and upper-middle class. In 2012and barring congressional action45 percent of all tax filers with cash income between $75,000 and $100,000 will pay the AMT, up from 0.4 percent in 2011, when the temporary AMT fix or "patch" is in place. The AMT is also more likely to strike taxpayers with large families, who are married, or who live in high-tax states.
Never mind reducing spending.