Politics & Policy

We Had To Pass the Bill To See What’s In It

Who would have thought that manually amending a multi-trillion-dollar tax-cut bill in the wee hours of the morning would pose problems?

It turns out that when the JCT economists were pulled from their beds last Friday night to score and estimate the last-minute, hand-written deals of the GOP’s tax bill, they made some big miscalculations. For instance, the restored corporate AMT (alternative minimum tax), which they projected would bring in $40 billion of tax revenue to offset new cuts, is now projected to raise over $300 billion in revenue, according to Lily Batchelder of NYU Law School and formerly of the Senate Finance Committee.

As someone concerned about deficits, I would generally rather see revenue being underestimated than overestimated. Nevertheless, the fact that parts of the final calculations could be off by hundreds of billions of dollars raises a red flag about the process. It is hard to see this as anything but evidence that tax reform is being rushed in pursuit of a big ‘win’ before the end of the year.

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