For months, Democrats led by President Biden have been trying to advance the absurd argument that their multi-trillion-dollar spending bill actually costs zero dollars because it would be fully paid for. But according to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill would add $160 billion to deficits.
The math is a bit tricky here, so let me spell it out. In its final report, the CBO finds that, “enacting this legislation would result in a net increase in the deficit totaling $367 billion over the 2022-2031 period.” But CBO also says that this overall score does not include its estimate of any revenue generated from increasing IRS tax enforcement. In a separate report, CBO estimates that the increased enforcement would generate $207 billion in revenue. Taking that into account gets us to $160 billion.
Democrats argue that the CBO is being too conservative in its estimate of revenue that will be generated from stepped-up IRS enforcement.
But there are a few other ways to look at it. The bill would add $750 billion to deficits over the next five years, when its spending provisions are actually in effect. And the Committee of Responsible Budget estimates that the $2.4 trillion cost of the billion would double, to nearly $5 trillion, if temporary provisions (such as the Obamacare expansion, childcare, and universal pre-K) were extended.
Either way, one cannot square the CBO score with Biden’s statement the other day that, “it’s fully paid for. It’ll reduce the deficit.”