Earlier this month, Council of Economic Advisers chairman Kevin Hassett took the podium at the Tax Policy Center. The center had recently issued a report suggesting that the “Big Six” tax-reform proposal would add nearly $2.4 billion to the budget deficit over the next ten years, raise taxes on many upper-middle class households, and slash taxes for the top 1 percent. Mr. Hassett was invited to respond to the report. His remarks were, unsurprisingly, unsparing. After all, the government’s top economist shouldn’t sit quietly while premature invectives are launched at the administration’s signature fiscal proposal.
He accused the Tax Policy Center of rushing to judgment and issuing a report before key details were available. The Big Six had released only a framework designed to guide negotiations, not a reform plan. In lieu of those details, the Tax Policy Center made a host of assumptions, nearly all disfavorable to the plan and some in direct contrast to the guidance laid out in the framework.
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