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Dems Accuse Republicans Of Tricking Voters By ‘Trying To Cook The Books’

Democratic Reps. Chris Van Hollen and Louise Slaughter accused Republicans on Tuesday of trying to trick the public into accepting tax cuts that would only benefit the rich by forcing the Congressional Budget Office to evaluate cuts differently.

“This is a partisan, misleading attempt to tilt the playing field in favor of more trickle-down economic policies, and the public shouldn’t buy it,” Van Hollen, ranking member on the Budget Committee, and Slaughter, ranking member on the Rules Committee, wrote in a Politico Magazine op-ed Tuesday.

Under the current “static” scoring system, the CBO ignores how a tax cut or increase might change the behavior of workers. A proposal to increase the tax rate from 30 percent to 100 percent assumes the government would get a 70 percent increase in revenue — completely ignoring the fact that many people would refuse to work in that situation.

Republicans, led by House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan, want the CBO to take those factors into account using “dynamic” scoring. (RELATED: Sen. Hatch: CBO Analysis Method ‘Downright Dumb’)

Opponents of dynamic scoring argue it’s impossible to accurately implement, and that Republicans only want to use the system because it could make their policy ideas look better. Dynamic scoring is “wishful thinking by another name,” Van Hollen and Slaughter wrote.

“It may be tempting to dismiss this change as just an accounting issue,” they added. “But they are rigging the rules in favor of windfall tax breaks to the very wealthy and big corporations who can hire high-priced, well-funded lobbyists — once again choosing to leave behind working families.”

Ryan could use dynamic scoring to sell the same trickle-down economic policies that have failed in the past, they said, which have not boosted the economy, except to help the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

They singled out Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax cuts in Kansas as an example. Brownback was re-elected in November after passing major cuts in 2012, despite slower economic growth than expected, a downgraded credit rating and projected budget shortfalls.

“The evidence has clearly shown that these ‘trickle down’ policies haven’t worked, but instead of changing their approach to budgeting, Republicans want to change the evidence,” Van Hollen and Slaughter wrote.

“Instead of offering a responsible budget, they’re trying to cook the books,” they added.

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