Re: A Wonk Question

by Marc A. Thiessen

My friend Andy McCarthy graciously quotes my Washington Post column about the Gang of Six and its $3 trillion hidden tax hike, and asks if there is similar fuzzy tax math going on in the Boehner plan?

The Gang claimed that that Congressional Budget Office would score their plan as a $1.5 trillion tax cut. What they did not explain is that CBO bases its computations on current law, not current policy — and current law assumes the expiration of all the Bush tax cuts, the expiration of all tax extenders that are renewed routinely each December by Congress, and that millions of middle-class families would have paid the AMT, even though Congress passes an AMT patch each year to exempt them. Andy asks, since the Congressional Budget Office is scoring the Boehner bill, does it also assume these tax expirations?

I asked a trusted budget expert on Capitol Hill who told me the answer is: no. The Boehner plan does not raise or cut taxes. There are no revenue assumptions and no revenue changes. Over the next decade it will deliver $917 billion of deficit reduction as a result of $917 billion in spending cuts. So it does not make the same false assumptions as the Gang of Six.