U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks to members of the White House press corps during a daily briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House August 25, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)
The Trump White House has pulled out all the stops in its efforts to help the GOP ram through its widely disliked tax bill, including—as the New York Timesreported Thursday—citing a Treasury Department analysis one government whistleblower says doesn't even exist.
"I have covered tax policy for more than three decades. This is a shocking abdication of responsibility by the Treasury Dept." —Glenn Kessler, Washington Post
For months, Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin has peddled the ambitious claim that not only would the GOP's proposed tax cuts for the rich "pay for themselves" through a massive surge in economic growth, but also that the cuts would help the U.S. "pay down debt."
"In our models, we believe there will be $2.5 trillion of growth," Mnuchin said during a recent CNN interview. "And we're happy to go through the numbers. We're happy to give the details. We want full transparency to the American public."
Despite such lofty promises and his expressed commitment to "transparency," however, Mnuchin has yet to release the promised analysis, even as the Senate is expected to vote on the GOP tax plan as early as Thursday night. According to an economist at the Office of Tax Analysis, he hasn't done so for good reason: there is no such study.
As the Times reports:
Mr. Mnuchin has promised that Treasury will release its analysis in full. Yet, just one day before the full Senate prepares to vote on a sweeping tax rewrite, the administration has yet to produce the type of economic analysis that it is citing as a reason to pass the tax cut.
Those inside Treasury’s Office of Tax Policy, which Mr. Mnuchin has credited with running the models, say they have been largely shut out of the process and are not working on the type of detailed analysis that he has mentioned.
An economist at the Office of Tax Analysis, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so as not to jeopardize his job, said Treasury had not released a "dynamic" analysis showing that the tax plan would be paid for with economic growth because one did not exist.
Tax analysts expressed shock and dismay at the fact that, on the eve of the vote on a plan that could have devastating consequences for millions of families, the Treasury Department still hasn't released anything resembling a comprehensive exploration of the it's long-term implications.
Mnuchin's misleading promises fit with a pattern of deception that has characterized the Republican tax cut push, which has been denounced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and others as "pathetic" and "immoral."
As Common Dreamsreported earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was forced to admit that he "misspoke" when he promised that no middle class families would see their taxes rise under his plan.