The Treasury Department has taken down from its website a 2012 analysis that found that business owners and shareholders — not workers — bear most of the burden of corporate taxes. The findings of the report run counter to the argument Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has been making in selling the benefits of a reduction in the corporate tax rate. The Trump administration’s tax reform framework calls for dropping the corporate rate from 35 percent to 20 percent.
The 2012 report from the Office of Tax Analysis found that “workers pay 18 percent of the corporate tax while owners of capital pay 82 percent” — figures that are “in line with many economists’ views and close to estimates from the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation and Congressional Budget Office,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
A Treasury spokeswoman told the Journal: “The paper was a dated staff analysis from the previous administration. It does not represent our current thinking and analysis.”
Jason Furman, who was chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, tweeted that the goal of the technical paper series that included the removed study “was to be more transparent about the methodology Treasury used for its modeling and analysis.”
Politico’s Tim Alberta and Rachael Bade drop a blockbuster: “Despite several landmark legislative wins this year, and a better-than-expected relationship with President Donald Trump, Ryan has made it known to some of his closest confidants that this will be his final term as speaker. … He would like to serve through Election Day 2018 and retire ahead of the next Congress. This would give Ryan a final legislative year to chase his second white whale, entitlement reform, while using his unrivaled fundraising prowess to help protect the House majority—all with the benefit of averting an ugly internecine power struggle during election season.”
Speculation has been swirling that Ryan could step down once “he’s harpooned his personal white whale of tax reform,” as HuffPost put it.
When asked at his weekly press conference whether he’ll be quitting anytime soon, Ryan chuckled and said, “I’m not, no.”
The finance ministers of Europe’s five largest economies — Germany, France, the U.K., Italy and Spain — warned that the Republican tax plan could have “a major distortive impact” on international trade and may violate international treaties. "The inclusion of certain less conventional international tax provisions could contravene the U.S.'s double taxation treaties and may risk having a major distortive impact on international trade," the ministers wrote in a letter to Mnuchin.
Politico reports: “The White House is quietly preparing a sweeping executive order that would mandate a top-to-bottom review of the federal programs on which millions of poor Americans rely. And GOP lawmakers are in the early stages of crafting legislation that could make it more difficult to qualify for those programs. … The president is expected to sign the welfare executive order as soon as January, according to multiple administration officials, with an eye toward making changes to health care, food stamps, housing and veterans programs, not just traditional welfare payments.”
President Trump signed a short-term continuing resolution today to fund the federal government through Friday, December 22.
Bloomberg called the maneuver “a monumental piece of can kicking,” which is no doubt the case, but at least you’ll be able to visit your favorite national park over the weekend.
Here's to small victories!