Nov 30, 2017

Report: Steve Mnuchin's tax plan report doesn't exist

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin speaks during a ceremony to swear in Joseph M. Otting as Comptroller of the Currency. Photo: Alex Brandon

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has been citing a report that he says, once released, will show the GOP tax plan will pay for itself with economic growth. But that report doesn't exist, according to an economist in the Treasury office supposedly drafting models on the impact, the NYT reports.

Why it matters: Senators are aiming to pass their version of the tax bill today or tomorrow, and the question of whether economic growth can account for the tax cuts and avoid ballooning the deficit is at the heart of policy negotiations to win over holdouts on the bill. It's throwing some Republicans for a spin who are opposed to the mechanism that could be added to the bill to account for potential lack of economic growth.

Bottom line: The report Mnuchin is talking about would help the administration's case, especially since both the Penn Wharton Budget Model and the conservative Tax Reform analyses show the tax plan won't pay for itself. And according to 37 of 38 economists' current estimates about economic growth, the tax plan doesn't show it would bring substantial economic growth, per a University of Chicago survey.

Go deeper via the NYT: "Republicans Say the $1.5 Trillion Tax Bill Pays For Itself, but Experts Disagree"Republicans Say the $1.5 Trillion Tax Bill Pays For Itself, but Experts Disagree"

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South Korea and Italy step up measures as coronavirus cases spike

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations as South Korea and Italy in particular scramble to deal with spikes in their countries.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed at least 2,446 people and infected almost 79,000 others, mostly in mainland China. South Korean President Moon Jae-said country would increase its infectious disease alert to red, the highest level possible, the New York Times reports, as the number of cases in the country soared to 556 and the death toll to five. Italy's government announced emergency measures Sunday after infections rose to 79.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 12 mins ago - Health

Bernie Sanders wins Nevada caucus

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders waves to supporters at a campaign rally on Friday in Las Vegas. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders is projected to handily win the Nevada Democratic primary caucus, becoming the clear frontrunner among 2020 Democratic presidential primary election candidates.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state with a diverse population to hold a nominating contest, highlighting candidates' abilities to connect with voters of color — particularly Latino voters.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 39 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Heat wave melts 20% of snow cover from Antarctic island in days

The effects of February's record heat wave on Eagle Island in Antarctica. Photo: NASA

Antarctica's Eagle Island now has a side that's almost ice-free following this month's searing heat wave in the region, images released by NASA show.

Why it maters: "The warm spell caused widespread melting on nearby glaciers," NASA said in its report. It's the third major melt event of the 2019-2020 Southern Hemisphere summer, following warm spells in January and last November, according to the United Nation's World Meteorological Organization (WMO).