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Accounting games: Democrats are downplaying the price of their massive spending bill, watchdog says
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As House Democrats push to finally vote for their massive reconciliation spending bill before Thanksgiving, budget watchdogs are arguing their estimates are systematically undercounting how much the bill will cost taxpayers.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) is the loudest among these voices. It released a report Monday saying that the real cost of the reconciliation bill could be nearly $5 trillion if programs that are being artificially cut short are made permanent.
"They want to spend $2.4 trillion and buy with that almost $5 trillion worth of stuff. So the way they're doing that is by making a number of the policies temporary," CRFB senior vice president Marc Goldwein told Fox News.
CRFB also said the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is likely to strongly disagree with Democrats over how much stepped-up IRS enforcement efforts will raise to offset the costs of the bill.
Overestimating returns from IRS enforcement
Goldwein said the Biden administration's estimate that increased IRS enforcement efforts will raise $400 billion is significantly off from what the CBO is going to say.
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"The number we have is 125 [billion]," Goldwein told FOX Business. "I would not be surprised if it was 150. But I would be extremely surprised if it were 200. And I would be flabbergasted beyond disbelief if it were 400."
Goldwein said the reason the numbers are so different is because the Treasury is overestimating how effective its policy will in two respects.
"Unlike the CBO, they don't think that taxpayers get smarter and better at avoiding over time," he said. "The Treasury thinks it's going to be a really large deterrent effect that basically once there's more audits, people are going to voluntarily pay a lot more of their taxes. And CBO doesn't think there's going to be a large effect."
White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said Tuesday that the CBO does not have the proper experience to analyze how the increased IRS enforcement will work.
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