Trump adviser accuses Tax Policy Center of bias

An economic adviser to Donald Trump on Thursday attacked the Tax Policy Center for its analysis that Trump’s tax plan would cost $6.2 trillion in its first decade.

At an event hosted by center, Peter Navarro accused the group of having a liberal bias.

{mosads}“What’s going on here? What’s going on here? Politics, politics, politics,” said Navarro, who is also a business professor at the University of California at Irvine.

“This is a left-leaning center that produces analyses that favor Democratic tax-and-spend programs and disfavor Republican programs.”

TPC is a joint project of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution that “aims to provide independent analyses of current and longer-term tax issues,” according to its website. The group is generally considered to be nonpartisan or centrist.

Navarro’s comments echo a statement on Tuesday from Trump national policy director Stephen Miller that said the center is “deeply biased” and produces “fraudulent analysis.”

Navarro said the Trump campaign attended the TPC event “under protest.”

Navarro said he was told when he agreed to participate in the event that TPC was going to produce a “dynamic” score of Trump’s plan that took into account macroeconomic effects. However, TPC has delayed releasing its dynamic analysis, it says, because of a bug in its model.

The center has also said that dynamic scoring won’t make much of a difference because the increased debt levels resulting from Trump’s plan would lead to higher interest rates that would crowd out incentives to invest.

Navarro criticized TPC for only analyzing Trump’s tax plan and not also analyzing his regulatory, trade and energy plans that would stimulate the economy.

TPC Director Len Burman said that the report did discuss the pro-growth parts of Trump’s plans. He said that other groups have more expertise at analyzing Trump’s trade and energy proposals but that looking at the tax portion alone is also useful.

Navarro also attacked Clinton adviser Gene Sperling, who spoke later in the event.

He said that Sperling, who served in President Bill Clinton’s administration, was the “chief negotiator for the worst trade deal in history,” because he was involved in getting China into the World Trade Organization. After that, the U.S. lost factories and manufacturing jobs, he said.

According to media reports at the time, Sperling had initially pushed back on China joining the WTO but then supported a deal once changes were made.

David Wessel, the moderator of the event and the director of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy, said Navarro’s comments about Sperling were inappropriate and that the event was not about Sperling’s and Navarro’s resumes.

Sperling later joked that he thought Navarro was eventually going to say that he was responsible for 4.3 percent private-sector growth under President Clinton.

While Navarro attacked TPC’s numbers, he also said he wanted to “declare victory” with the group’s analysis. He noted that TPC’s report said that Trump’s tax plan would cut taxes at every income level and decrease incentives for U.S. companies to move their headquarters overseas.

“That is a home run,” Navarro said.

Wilbur Ross, another Trump adviser who also serves as chairman and chief strategy officer of WL Ross & Co., sought at the event to clarify parts of Trump’s tax plan.

Ross said that carried interest — the profits interest received by investment-fund mangers — would not be able to be taxed at a 15 percent rate for business income.

“The candidate has made clear directly to me that my carried interest and everyone else’s will not be eligible for the 15 percent rate,” he said. “It will be taxed at the personal income tax rate, presumably 33 percent.”

Ross also said that under Trump’s plan, people would not be able to convert personal income to business income.

He said that the details of implementing the proposal, and “anomalies” that would cause some people to have their taxes increase under Trump’s plan, would be resolved when legislation is drafted.

“The intent clearly is that no taxpayer, other than those with carried interest, will be disadvantaged,” Ross said.

Sperling later said that there is no way to devise a system where people who currently receive carried interest would not be able to have those earnings taxed at 15 percent under Trump’s plan.

TPC found that Clinton’s tax plan would raise $1.4 trillion over 10 years.

One part of Clinton’s plan that is unclear is whether she would lower the corporate tax rate. Sperling did not shed much light on what Clinton would do on that front.

“Perhaps she’s not showing her hand on exactly where she would be, but she is sending out what her principles are,” he said. “She wants something where the incentives are on investment in the United States.”

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