Fiscal Policy: GOP Accuse Democrats of Fuzzy Math

Dean Baker tries once again to get Lori Montgomery to write clearly:

Republicans charged yesterday that Capitol Hill Democrats are hatching a plan to raise taxes, noting that a new Democratic budget proposal assumes a $400 billion revenue jump over five years without adequately specifying where the money would come from. The Democratic budget blueprint, released during a hearing of the Senate Budget Committee, suggests that the extra cash could be raised by improving tax collections, closing tax shelters and cracking down on off-shore tax havens. But Republicans argued that those steps would not produce sufficient new revenue to cover the gap. “It’s almost like Wizard of Oz tax policy here,” said Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), the committee’s ranking minority member. “There’s somebody behind the curtain, and we can’t see who it is, but he’s going to come up with the money to pay for this.” That $400 billion gap is just a small piece of the Democratic revenue puzzle, Republicans said. To halt the expansion of the alternative minimum tax beyond 2009, a goal many Republicans share, Democrats would need to find $450 billion more in new revenue. And at least some of President Bush’s signature tax cuts would expire in 2010 unless still more billions of dollars could be raised elsewhere. White House Budget Director Rob Portman said the president’s tax cuts are as good as gone if the Democrats pass their plan. Letting the Bush cuts lapse on schedule in 2010 would mean tax increases for millions of Americans. “We think it’s exactly the wrong time to talk about raising taxes,” Portman said. “It puts at risk the economic growth and job creation” that he sees as a consequence of the Bush cuts.

Where to start with such horrific writing? Montgomery suggests a $850 billion gap but over what time period? Five years? Ten years? What is this as a percent of GDP? I guess it is fair to suggest that the Democrats should be more clear about what they are proposing but for a Republican to toss out “Wizard of Oz tax policy” begs the question – where was Senator Gregg when this White House fed us a parade of Fuzzy Math to defend its fiscal irresponsibility?

Montgomery quotes White House Budget Director Rob Portman as saying 2010 would be the wrong time to raise taxes. Why is it the wrong time? When would be the right time? Montgomery plays Steno Sue and just quotes the “risk the economic growth and job creation” garbage without challenging it. But Montgomery did offer us this:

“We’ve been living through fairyland budgets where you think you can have tax cuts for free,” said Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin