Alaska’s Sens. Dan Sullivan said he’s talked with “dozens” of economists and business leaders who agree that the Republican tax plan will double the annual economic growth the country saw under President Barack Obama.
Sullivan and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski have both said they intend to vote for the controversial Republican tax plan that could reach a final vote in the Senate before the weekend.
With agencies like the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office raising what should be red flags about the bill’s impact on lower- and middle-income Americans, Republicans have staunchly stood by promises that making deep, permanent tax cuts to corporations will spur economic growth that will negate the trillion dollars in deficit spending, but have been vague on the specifics.
Sullivan stood by that position today in a call with reporters who pressed him on why he believes the CBO and other analyses of the bill are wrong.
“I’ve talked to probably dozens of people, business leaders, Alan Greenspan. I mean these are private meetings I’ve had with them,” he responded. “I think a number of economists came out in a big Wall Street Journal letter, George Shultz, Martin Feldstein came out. We had Senator Graham yesterday, who’s a very well-respected economist. Lawrence Lindsey, a super well-respected economist who’s usually very negative on growth.”
Sullivan regularly said that under Obama’s administration growth was stagnated at around 1.5 percent annual GDP growth. He said the tax cuts within the GOP plan would double that growth.
“Almost every single person I’ve asked, smart people, have said of course we believe we can get back to 3 percent growth,” he said. “I know there are some economists that are saying America’s best days are behind us. I happen to believe that’s not the case.”
Still, even while Sullivan was talking with reporters yet another report emerged to cast doubt about the rosy claims of growth over the next decade.
The Joint Committee on Taxation released a report today that even when included the anticipated economic growth, the tax cuts would add $1 trillion to the national deficit. The JCT report estimates an additional 0.8 percent GDP growth due to the tax cuts beyond baseline projections. Republicans had been hoping to get a vote before the JCT’s estimate was released, The Washington Post reports, but the agency rushed to make them available before the final vote.
Looming tax increases for the rest of us
Though there have been many concerns raised on just about every part of the bill, one of the biggest points of concern is a looming tax increase for lower- and middle-class Americans when their tax cuts expire in 2027. This is a function of existing budget deficit rules, but the GOP has chosen to make the corporate tax cuts permanent in the bill.
When asked why the bill should make the corporate tax cuts permanent and leave tax cuts for the lower- and middle-class to expire in 2027 (this is the source of many claims of tax raises on these groups), Sullivan said the corporations are the most likely economic drivers.
“I would like to do both,” he said, suggesting Democrats are standing in the way of making those cuts permanent. “With regard on the individual and family side, the thinking on the Finance Committee side was that the real spur in economic growth that we want to see is going to come from having businesses be able to plan long-term for the future. With a permanent tax cut … that permanence is going to create an ability for long-term capital and planning.”