Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sometimes It's Even Worse

Well, I'll admit I was wrong.  A week or so ago, before the CBO score was out, I estimated that the Senate sequester replacement plan would defer most of the deficit reduction until later and do very little of it in 2013.
So in summary, the best case is that the bill reduces the deficit by about $8 billion this year.  The worse case is that it adds about $3 billion to the deficit this year.  Neither is anywhere close to $85 billion in deficit reduction this year.
Well now the CBO score is out and it is in fact worse than I thought.  Let's start with spending.  The Senate bill increases spending relative to the baseline with the sequester included by $63 billion.  In other words, it eliminates $85 billion in spending reductions in 2013 and replaces them with $22 billion in net spending reductions over the next 10 years.  And of this $22 billion, only $5 billion (net) comes in the next 5 years.

On the tax side, it adds $55 billion of tax increases, almost all of which come from the application of a new alternative minimum tax, beginning at incomes of $1 million.

So to review, the bill as scored by the CBO, replaces $85 billion in deficit reduction in 2013 achieved by spending reductions with $400 million of deficit increase in 2013 (a small spending increase almost offset by a small tax increase) and $77 billion of deficit reduction over the next 10 years, 72 percent of which ($55 billion over $77 billion) is tax increases.

So the "balanced proposal" of the Senate achieves no deficit reduction in 2013, less deficit reduction over 10 years than the sequester would achieve in 1 year, and has more than 70 percent of the deficit reduction coming from tax increases.

A replacement it is not.

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