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.

***

Reposted from Think Progress

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

An Invitation to Sunny Miami. What Could Be Bad?

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

If a billionaire “invites” you somewhere, you’d better go. Or be prepared to suffer the consequences. This past May, hedge fund kingpin Carl Icahn announced in a letter to his New York-based staff of about 50 that he would be moving his business operations to Florida. But the 83-year-old Icahn assured his staffers they had no reason to worry: “My employees have always been very important to the company, so I’d like to invite you all to join me in Miami.” Those who go south, his letter added, would get a $50,000 relocation benefit “once you have established your permanent residence in Florida.” Those who stay put, the letter continued, can file for state unemployment benefits, a $450 weekly maximum that “you can receive for a total of 26 weeks.” What about severance from Icahn Enterprises? The New York Post reported last week that the two dozen employees who have chosen not to uproot their families and follow Icahn to Florida “will be let go without any severance” when the billionaire shutters his New York offices this coming March. Bloomberg currently puts Carl Icahn’s net worth at $20.5 billion.

***

More ...

Health Care Should Not Be A Bargaining Weapon

Health Care Should Not Be A Bargaining Weapon