Speed Reads

GOP tax plan

Treasury Department takes down an economic analysis that undermines a key GOP tax-cut argument

The Treasury Department has removed from its website a 2012 economic analysis that found the burden of corporate taxes primarily falls on business owners and shareholders, not workers, undermining a key argument Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has been making to promote the Republicans' plans to cut the corporate tax rate, The Wall Street Journal reports. Mnuchin and other Trump administration officials argue that workers would be the big beneficiary of cutting the tax on corporate profits to 20 percent, from 35 percent, but the 2012 paper from the Office of Tax Analysis shows that workers only bear 18 percent of the cost of corporate taxes, versus 82 percent for corporate owners.

Most mainstream economists broadly agree with that analysis — the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation and Congressional Budget Office, for example, found that capital's corporate tax burden is 75 percent, versus 25 percent for workers, WSJ notes. (The Week's Jeff Spross has a good explainer on the theory and realities of corporate tax burdens.) "The paper was a dated staff analysis from the previous administration," a Treasury spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal. "It does not represent our current thinking and analysis." The newspaper noted that the Treasury site still has up other technical papers from the Obama administration and working papers dating back to 1974.