Tuesday, February 14, 2006

More about intellectual honesty and the Bush administration

They have none. But that's not news. From The Center on Budget Policies and Priorities.
The President's 2007 budget includes two proposals that risk corrupting federal budget rules in order to facilitate passage of Administration tax cuts. One proposal calls on Congress to adopt a new scoring convention that would make the cost of extending the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts disappear; under this proposal, legislation to make these tax cuts permanent would be officially "scored" as having zero cost. The other proposal would promote a dubious technique for assessing tax policy changes that, depending on the assumptions used, could be used to manufacture cost estimates showing various tax-cut proposals as having little or no cost.

The first proposal, which also was included in the Administration�s budget last year, proposes that Congress change its rules for making its official "baseline" projections and assume that the tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 are permanent, even though they are slated to expire by 2010. The current baseline projections follow the law; they consequently assume that these tax cuts will expire, as scheduled. Thus, legislation to make the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent is now scored as reducing revenues by $1.6 trillion over the next ten years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. If, however, the cost of extending these tax cuts is included in the baseline projections as the Administration proposes, then legislation to make these tax cuts permanent will be scored as having no cost whatsoever.
I guess this is one way to make the fiscally conservative Republicans feel better about making the tax cuts permanent. Since it costs nothing, why do it. In fact, according tothis approach, not making them permanent would be counted as a tax increase!

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