First, the Trump administration gave us what Kellyanne Conway called “alternative facts” to justify the misinformation, lies, fake news, and tricks being pulled by the Republicans.
Now you can add “fake math” to that.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who for months lied on TV and in speeches about having a hundred department economists and analysts working on a report that would justify Trump’s new tax proposal, has finally issued a one-page analysis of the rushed Republican proposal written to again mislead the American people about the legislation’s real economic impact.
— Slate (@Slate) December 11, 2017
The long-delayed 480-word report from the U.S. Department of the Treasury is based on assumptions leading economists describe as impossible to achieve, using outdated data, false assumptions and the impact of laws yet to be passed – along with excessively optimistic projections about the American business climate for the next decade.
“Secretary Mnuchin promised for months the Treasury Department would provide a detailed analysis of the Republican tax plan,” John Yarmuth, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee said, according to Bloomberg News, “but they are too scared for the American people to see the damage it will cause.”
“Instead, Treasury released a one-page ‘analysis’ citing the economic growth projections in the President’s Budget,” adds Yarmuth, “which were based on a far different set of politics than what is included in the GOP tax plan.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Mnuchin’s report used “fake math.”
“The latest Treasury ‘analysis’ is nothing more than one page of fake math,” said Schumer, according to Business Insider. “It’s clear the White Hosue and Republicans are grasping at straws to prove the unprovable and garner votes for a bill that nearly every single independent analysis has concluded will blow up the deficit and generate almost no additional economic activity to make up for it.”
It is predictable that Democrats would denounce the Treasury analysis of a bill that takes from the poor and gives huge tax cuts to corporations and the super-rich – with Republicans admitting in the near term it will lead to cuts in Social Security, Medicare and a range of other social programs for children, the elderly, minorities and others.
— Paul Reggio (@PaulReggio1) December 11, 2017
However, Schumer is accurate when he says no other analysis – from Democrats, Independents or even Republicans – provides the kind of cockeyed optimism that Mnuchin is pedaling to please Trump and mislead the American people.
Consider the reaction from the Republican-friendly conservative Tax Foundation.
“The report does not appear to be a projection of the economic effects of a tax bill,” tax analyst Scott Greenberg of the Tax Foundation told the New York Times. “It appears, on the other hand, to be a thought experiment on how federal revenues would vary under different economic effects of overall government politics. Which is, needless to say, an odd way to analyze a tax bill.”
Republican President Ronald Reagan’s former staff director of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), an independent body that provides info on taxes to both the House and Senate, David H. Brockway, said Mnucin’s analysis assumes more robust economic growth than many economists consider likely.
“I don’t believe in magic,” said Brockway. “It’s just a political statement.”
The crux of the matter is how the tax proposal will impact the national debt, which this year reached over $20 trillion dollars for the first time.
The way the Republicans have structured their tax plan, they cannot pass a bill that would increase the debt by more than an additional $1.5 trillion.
The current JCT projected last month that the version of the Senate bill they studied would increase the size of the economy by eight-tenths of one percent over the coming decade, which even using dynamic analysis (an optimistic approach that assumes everything will go well), the national debt will still increase by $1 trillion.
Since then the Senate bill has been modified to add a Christmas tree full of amendments that is a lobbyists dream come true, providing tax breaks for all kinds of Republican donor’s favorite things from oil and gas drilling to owning private planes – and raising the cost to taxpayers.
The most optimistic projections of the impact of the tax bill from conservative Republicans suggest the economy could grow by up to 2.2 percent a year – assuming there is no recession, war or other disruptive events – while the Treasury Department analysis is based on a 2.9 percent rate of growth to cover the increased debt level.
Trump's Treasury Dept embarrasses itself with one-page 'analysis'
— HawkEye 2018???? (@2HawkEye2018) December 11, 2017
Kent Smetters, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School (which Trump attended) today released his version of a dynamic analysis, estimating the current bill would add $1.3 trillion to the deficit over the coming decade, which would not only fail to replay the deficit built into the tax bill but actually would make it worse.
Smetters said the Treasury view of the impact on economic growth was “aspiration in nature,” and not based on an analysis of the actual bill Republicans intend to pass.
Conservative economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who chaired President George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisors, said the Treasury analysis appears to be based on Trump’s unrealistic budget plan put out months ago, which no one ever expects to be passed.
Holtz-Eakin told the New York Times that he was “frustrated that lawmakers were characterizing the letter as affirming that the tax cuts would be fully self-financing.”
“The analysis left many tax experts scratching their heads,” reports The New York Times, “and prompted criticism that the Treasury was offering misleading data.”
Or as Schumer put it, “fake math.”
What it comes down to is that once again Mnuchin is lying in order to make Trump’s terrible giveaway to the rich look like it makes business sense, when it is closer to robbing the national treasury to enrich Trump’s friends and campaign donors, again.
The Treasury Dept is literally making stuff up to justify the #GOPTaxScam.
"Jason Furman, a Harvard Kennedy professor who previously served as the Council of Economic Advisors chairman, called the report an 'embarrassing joke.'"https://t.co/UcsOYZjFlT
— Chad Bolt (@chadderr) December 11, 2017
Mnuchin lied about having Treasury do a detailed report that would justify the GOP’s giveaway to their pals, and now he is lying again to try and trick the gullible as the Republican Congress moves to pass this disgusting, unfair, regressive new tax plan.