Treasury watchdog to investigate why analysis of GOP tax bill was never made public

Addy Baird

Addy Baird Reporter, Think Progress

The Treasury Department’s inspector general has opened an inquiry into why the department’s analysis of the Republican tax plan hasn’t been released to the public, following a request from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) Thursday.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has been a strong advocate for the plan. As Warren notes in her letter, he has made sweeping promises about its effects, including saying that the plan will “pay for itself with growth” and pay down debt. Both claims have been disproven by a number of independent economists.

On Thursday, the Joint Committee on Taxation (a nonpartisan congressional committee) released its own analysis that estimated that the tax cuts Republicans hope to pass will add $1 trillion to the deficit, and even the most generous analyses assuming strong economic growth do not show that the bill would “pay for itself.”

“Despite a lack of evidence to support his assertions, has claimed that ‘100 people are working around the clock on running scenarios for us’ to show that these corporate tax cuts will pay for themselves,” Warren writes in her Thursday letter to Inspector General Eric Thorson that called for an inquiry.

Mnuchin, as Warren notes, has promised to release the department’s analysis, but, she writes in her letter, “as Senate Republicans prepare to vote within the next day on the tax plan, the Department of the Treasury has failed to produce any economic analysis” supporting his claims.

“In fact,” she writes, “they haven’t released any formal analysis of the bill’s economic impact at all.”

Mnuchin, Warren argues, “grossly” misled the public. The senator wants to know if the bill was ever actually analyzed, as well as whether there was political inference regarding its release.

“Either the Treasury Department has used extensive taxpayer funds to conduct economic analyses that it refuses to release because those analyses would contradict the Treasury Secretary’s claims, or Secretary Mnuchin has grossly misled the public about the extent of the Treasury Department’s analysis,” Warren wrote. “I am deeply concerned about either possibility.”

The Office of the Inspector General’s Rich Delmar confirmed to Bloomberg News that the office had opened an inquiry into the matter following Warren’s letter Thursday and said it was a “top priority.”

And there’s a chance they might find nothing at all.

A Treasury official told the New York Times Thursday that the department had not had sufficient time to produce an analysis of the tax plan, as Republicans introduced the bill November 1 and aim to pass it before the end of this week.

To make matters worse, in September, the department removed a study on corporate tax cuts from their website that undermines Mnuchin’s claims.

But none of that seems to bother Republican senators.

On Thursday evening, some in the GOP called for a “trigger” in the bill that would require automatic tax increases if revenue growth didn’t meet projections, but the idea was struck down by the Senate parliamentarian.

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Reposted from Think Progress

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Massive infrastructure investment imperative for economic recovery

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities.

Infrastructure projects across the country screeched to a halt as cities grappled with the economic fallout from Covid-19, a recent survey by the National League of Cities (NLC) revealed.

This sets cities even further back in their battles against dangerous crumbling roads, bridges, airports, water systems and other critical projects, and leaves scores of the 17 million workers in essential infrastructure jobs struggling to put food on the table.

Sixty-five percent of cities have delayed or canceled infrastructure projects due to budget cuts brought on by Covid-19, with 32 percent of cities furloughing or laying off essential employees, according to the NLC.

The USW has long called for federal, state and local governments to invest heavily in infrastructure which, when coupled with Buy American provisions, would create thousands of good, family-sustaining jobs.

Now, as the country struggles to rebound from the economic devastation left by Covid-19, the charge is clearer than ever: The United States can no longer afford to sleep on making critical structural improvements.

Despite repeated promises to prioritize infrastructure, the Trump administration continues to sit idly by as cities halt projects and lay off essential workers in droves.

Even the relief funds signed into law in March through the CARES Act left nearly 70 percent of cities, towns and villages without direct assistance, the NLC said.

As coronavirus cases increase and unemployment rates also remain high, it is clear that only a long-term infrastructure investment can put Americans back to work and protect citizens from future crises.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work