President Trump gave Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin a lead role in promoting his tax reform proposal to the public, business and especially Congress, but he has proven to be so awkward, unsuited to his role and inept in explaining the facts that House Speaker Paul Ryan has suggested it would be better if he didn’t lobby on Capitol Hill.
Now, it turns out he also has lied to everyone about the one thing he really needed to do.
This morning NYT reported Sec'y Mnuchin's promised Treasury dynamic analysis of tax bill didn't exist https://t.co/LZx0wOJ08L
This afternoon non-partisan JCT report shows $1T added to debt from GOP tax plan.
— Trip Gabriel (@tripgabriel) November 30, 2017
For weeks, Mnuchin has been saying that a team of over 100 economists and experts has been working in the Treasury Department on a plan that would prove the promise he and Trump have made that the growth of the economy caused by their tax plan would more than make up for the trillion and a half dollar rise in the national debt.
This refers to the so-called “dynamic analysis” of the plan, which would not be based just on the existing numbers, but on the impact of Trump and Mnuchin’s projections that this tax reform will make the economy grow at a pace of about three percent a year – which would be double or triple what it has done in recent years.
“Not only will this tax plan pay for itself,” Mnuchin said in September, according to Slate, “but it will pay down debt.”
“We have over 100 people working on this,” Mnuchin said on CNBC, “and it will be a completely transparent process.”
In the Republican rush to get their tax bill passed before Christmas, there have been a few reports from both government and non-governmental groups – often with opposing opinions.
One report released this week came from the Joint Committee on Taxation, a government group that works with the House and Senate, which said even with economic growth, the Trump tax plan will add $1 trillion to the national debt in the coming decade.
That leaves a gap of at least half a trillion beyond what Trump has promised, which is a big problem for Senators and others who believe it is important to keep the deficit down.
So the report that Mnuchin has promised from the Treasury is more important than ever. Yet even as the vote nears, the report has never been made public.
Now a story in the New York Times explains that even with the vote imminent, there is no such report because no such report exists. The Treasury Department experts have not actually been working on a report anything like what Mnuchin has promised.
Mnuchin is knowingly or unwittingly lying, but he is lying.
“Those inside Treasury’s Office of Tax Policy, which Mr. Mnuchin has credited with running the models,” reported the New York Times today, “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,” continues The NY Times, “who spoke on 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.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) has been asking questions about the report Mnuchin has long promised, raising doubts it even exists.
In a letter this week to the Treasury Department’s Inspector General, Warren wrote, “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. I am deeply concerned about either possibility.”
Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) told the New York Times he wants complete visibility in the assessment of this tax bill, but so far there has been virtually none.
“This administration’s top salesman (Mnuchin) spent months trying to con the American people into buying false claims about their tax plan,” said Wyden. “Treasury has broken this promise intentionally and know the truth would sink this scam once and for all. They’re doing everything they can to cover up Republican’s middle-class tax hike.”
Treasury’s IG has indicated that there will be an investigation of the issues Warren raises.
— Robert Alexander (@onuprof) November 30, 2017
What the investigation will find is not only that Mnuchin fabricated the full report he promised, but that those who would do the research and write the report are frustrated and feel they have been essentially cut out of the entire process.
— Cristina 🍸🐶🐱🌞 (@standup0091) November 30, 2017
There is already tension within Treasury Department between the career tax experts in the Office of Tax Analysis who feel they have been cut out of the discussion, and the political appointees, led by Mnuchin.
“‘These people are dyed-in-the-wool bureaucrats,’” reports the NY Times. “‘They are passionate about it, and to kind of have their views disregarded, I don’t think any of them have really seen it to this degree,’” said Austin Frerick, an economist at the Office Of Tax Analysis who left in May to run for Congress as a Democrat in Iowa. “‘That’s where the frustration comes.’”
Slate suggests that Trump, Mnuchin, and the Republicans never intended to tell the truth, the whole truth, about their tax proposal which despite their lies, is a huge giveaway to big corporations and the super rich, and only a modest help to the middle class – and over time actually a tax increase.
“Neither the White House or the Republican Party writ large particularly care what egghead Ph.D’s say about their tax plans unless those experts happen to be supportive of radically slashing rates on business owners and corporations,” writes Slate.
“GOP politicians,” adds Slate, “are operating in the world of ideology and convenient fantasies that will please their donors. You didn’t need an investigative report to figure that out.”
“But here’s the thing,” continues Slate. “Mnuchin’s shameless posturing about the administration’s tax plans – at one point he even promised there would be ‘no absolute tax cut for the upper class,’ which was a laugher given every proposal Trump has ever backed – points to a deeper problem. The man regularly says things that just aren’t true. He’s been claiming there was an analysis underway. There wasn’t.”
“His statements are outlandish,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said this week, according to Vanity Fair, “and he seems to just want to – I don’t know if I’m allowed to use this word, I think I am – suck up to Trump, flatter Trump. This man cannot be believed.”
At his Senate confirmation hearing back in January, Mnuchin’s claim made in the lobby of Trump tower shortly after his appointment was announced that the super rich would not get an absolute tax cut because they would lose other tax breaks was dubbed “The Mnuchin Rule.”
Now we know “the Mnuchin Rule,” like so much of what the Trump’s sycophant Treasury Secretary has said about tax reform, is a Republican fairy tale to fool enough legislators and voters to get the bill which takes from the poor and gives to the rich, while running up the national debt by trillions, is a lie – just like his promise of “transparency” and a detailed report showing a dynamic analysis that proves this scam will help the middle class, and every one else.
Tax cuts for the rich, tax hikes for everyone else! Trump lied about his tax plan. Mnuchin lied about the report on the plan. GOP is doing this for their donors and Trump himself. Our children will pay for it. Shame on you.
— Fightin propaganda (@NewPatriotMan) November 30, 2017
Yes, it is almost Christmas, but the gift Trump and Mnuchin are promising won’t be under the tree or hung on the mantle or be ready for Hanukkah in any working class or middle-class homes, because it is a huge lie.
Trump and Mnuchin are not Santas. They are Scrooges.