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Dems Embrace a Budget 'Gimmick'

·2-min read

Politico’s Jennifer Scholtes and Caitlin Emma point out that Democrats are embracing a budget tactic that they’ve derided in the past: using dynamic scoring.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the chair of the Senate Budget Committee, has called dynamic scoring, which looks to factor in projected economic effects of policy changes, a "gimmick" and a way to "cook the books," Scholtes and Emma write. Yet, they say, “Democratic leaders are relying on that murky budget tactic to shrink the official cost of a $3.5 trillion plan to enact President Joe Biden’s most liberal commitments without Republican support, which is expected to add digits to the already $28 trillion national debt.”

Politico’s duo explain that Democrats are hoping budget analysts will find that the party’s proposed tax changes, investments in social safety net programs and plans for combatting climate change will produce stronger long-term economic growth that translates into more revenue for the federal government. And they argue that projected revenue gains from their programs are far more realistic than Republican claims about growth from the 2017 tax cuts.

Still, dynamic forecasts are notoriously difficult to calculate accurately. “We’re way beyond the frontiers of what we can be confident of, economically,” David Wessel, director of fiscal and monetary policy at the Brookings Institution, told Politico of dynamic scoring. “It’s just a way for members to pretend that they’re paying for something.”

House Budget Committee Chair John Yarmuth (D-KY) acknowledged that the budget involves some numbers games. “Everything I’ve seen us do — on both sides, with whoever is in the majority over the last 10 years in terms of putting budgets together — has been squishy,” he said. “Everybody plays games with it.”

Read the full story at Politico.

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