Amid all the crowing about how the new tax law will help Americans, and complaining that it doesn't go far enough, one crucial issue has been left out of the discussion altogether: the increasingly problematic alternative minimum tax. The AMT, as you've probably heard, is an alternate tax calculation designed to make sure the super-wealthy don't shelter or deduct away all of their tax liability. But the AMT calculation hasn't been materially adjusted since its inception in 1969 -- and what was super-wealthy over 30 years ago is considered, well, just very wealthy today. (Roughly 1 million taxpayers owe the AMT today, according to the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.) But the problem is set to get exponentially worse. Rather than helping the taxpayers who are the targeted beneficiaries of many of the new provisions, the new law will likely exacerbate the problem. If Congress continues to ignore the problem, by 2017 more than 17 million taxpayers will be subject to the AMT, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. But fixing the AMT is a messy and costly process, and lawmakers would prefer issuing more high-profile tax cuts -- even if they make a bad situation worse for taxpayers. To stave off the worst-case scenarios under the new tax law, Congress fudged standard tax calculations and made exceptions to the AMT rules. Typically, if a taxpayer's effective (overall average) tax rate dips too low, the AMT could kick in. That means that a high proportion of capital gains could trigger the AMT. Because capital gains are taxed at a much lower rate, taxpayers with a high percentage of their overall income coming from capital gains could find themselves ensnared by the AMT. With the capital gains rate even lower under the new tax law, plus the reduced dividend tax rate, investors with big chunks of their annual income attributable to capital gains or dividends risked the AMT.