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Gang of Six deficit-reduction plan: Like two toppings on one sundae

July 20, 2011: 5:00 AM ET

Could it be possibly be true?  Reducing the deficit and getting rid of the hated AMT? It's a long shot, but hope springs eternal.

FORTUNE -- For years, taxpayers and lawmakers have complained about the Alternative Minimum Tax. It was established in 1969 to make sure the uber-rich paid their fair share. But because the tax code doesn't factor inflation, it has increasingly cut into the pocketbooks of America's middle class.

Now Congress has the chance to eliminate what many have complained to be a flawed and unfair tax system. On Tuesday President Obama hailed an ambitious deficit-reduction proposal by the group of senators known as the "Gang of Six." The plan, as part of ongoing negotiations to raise the debt ceiling, calls for roughly $4 trillion in cuts and repeal of the AMT.

Now imagine how bliss-filled it would be to avoid a default and kill off the AMT?

That's like having two great toppings in one sundae.

This is still a long shot. After all, slaying the AMT has failed before even though there's been bipartisan support.

The latest proposal includes reducing marginal income tax rates and abolishing the $1.7 trillion AMT. Back in 2007, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill calling to kill off the AMT. And a similar bill was introduced back in 2005.

Needless to say, none of these efforts really went anywhere.

Let's hope it's different this time around.

What defined super-rich more than four decades ago is far different from what it means to be affluent today, and it makes little sense to tax Americans assuming that what made them wealthy then is what makes them wealthy today.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the latest deficit-reduction proposal by the "Gang of Six" senators seeks to raise marginal income tax rates. The proposal seeks a reduction of these rates. 

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About This Author
Nin-Hai Tseng
Nin-Hai Tseng
Writer, Fortune

Nin-Hai Tseng covers economics and finance. Before joining Fortune, Tseng was a reporter at The Orlando Sentinel and a public affairs associate at GE. She holds an MPA from Columbia University and a BS in Journalism from the University of Florida. She lives in New York City.

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