Monday, April 21, 2008

More Straight Talk

As we head towards the general election campaign, we'll be reminded once again that when Democrats propose buying an extra stapler for the office Tim Russert will ask them whose taxes they'll raise to pay for it, while Republicans can just make up numbers and he'll call it mavericky straight talk. Though occasionally news orgs will rise to the occasion.

To help pay for the tax cuts, Holtz-Eakin said he would save $30 billion a year by eliminating so-called ``rifle shot'' provisions. Those include items such as tax breaks for small insurance companies.

A Treasury Department report Holtz-Eakin cited as the source of his estimate states $27 billion could be raised by eliminating narrowly used tax preferences spread over a decade, not a single year.

The Discrepancy

When asked about the discrepancy, Holtz-Eakin replied that McCain would start with those provisions and target others like them to recover $30 billion annually.

Len Burman, director of the Tax Policy Center and a former Clinton administration Treasury official, said that is unrealistic. ``We looked for loopholes when I was there and couldn't even come up with $10 billion a year,'' he said.