Early on, the goal was to retain the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 AND change the AMT. Many Republicans wanted to completely do away with AMT, but they couldn't get it all. The Democrats were the ones who were intransigent. They were not willing to budge on the "big package" so it was determined that retaining the tax cuts was more important. Depending on your income, you might have seen your tax rise far more than $2100 had the nominal rates changed.
In regard to your last paragraph, do not lose sight of the fact that a shared disadvantage is still a disadvantage. Your point seems to be that since all your competitors have to bear the same hardships you do, it's no big deal. Think of how much prosperous you would ALL be if you didn't have to deal with governmnetal interference.
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