The group behind a brutal review of President Donald Trump and Republican leaders’ framework for tax reform hit back at suggestions their study amounted to “propaganda.”
The analysis from the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center found that the plan would disproportionately benefit wealthier Americans and could end up increasing the tax bills of many middle-class Americans.
Following the report’s release, Republicans in both the House and Senate have attacked the report, calling it skewed and incomplete since it did not analyse actual legislation — just an outline.
“Their analysis was a work of fiction that Stephen King would have been proud of,” Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, told Fox News radio.
Mark Mazur, a director at the Tax Policy Center, defended the analysis to Business Insider in an interview on Wednesday.
Mazur said the TPC decided to come out with analysis at the early stage because “there is a demand for information on the unified framework” and the goal of the TPC is to help provide as much information as possible. He said TPC researchers were careful to base all assumptions on existing ideas from the GOP leadership.
“Obviously, there weren’t all the details there, but we used the House Republican leadership ‘Better Way’ tax plan and elements of the Trump administrations proposal to fill in the blanks,” Mazur said, referring to the plan that has been proposed by House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Even with the assumptions, Mazur argued that the broad thrust of the report was correct.
“Where we came out on the results — that the tax plan as it stands right now would lose a lot of revenue and have the benefits tilted toward high-income taxpayers — those are directionally correct,” Mazur said. “And I have not seen any serious dispute of that fact.”
Republicans also attacked the TPC and Urban Institute as fundamentally biased.
“It’s very predictable coming from this group,” Ryan said, referring to the TPC. “I think the Wall Street Journal got this right when they said this is an anti-reform, propaganda group. It’s anti-tax reform.”
Mazur pushed back on those assertions.
“First, Tax Policy Center has been scrupulously nonpartisan for a number of years, since it was founded in 2002,” Mazur said. “Second, we’re all in favour of doing real tax reform that makes the tax system more efficient, fairer, and simpler. And what we did in this analysis is point out some areas where the framework may have fallen short in those areas.”
Mazur said he has not been contacted by any member of the GOP lawmakers or their staff, but would be open to discussing the proposal with those leaders.
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