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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Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and South Korea ups its case count

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 continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 9 mins ago - Health

Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."

Situational awareness

Warren Buffett. Photo: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Warren Buffett releases annual letter, reassures investors about future of Berkshire Hathaway
  2. Greyhound bars immigration sweeps
  3. U.S. military officially stops offensive operations in Afghanistan
  4. America's future looks a lot like Nevada
  5. Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins