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Seth Hanlon @SethHanlon
, 28 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
One of the more insidious ways that corporations game our political system is by funding intellectually shoddy work that supports their policy goals. This is a thread about an organization here in Washington called the “Tax Foundation.” 1/
The Tax Foundation has gained a lot of credence in the debates on tax policy. Its experts are often quoted in the press. They are smart people. 2/
But the fact is, the Tax Foundation is a mission-driven, advocacy organization that advocates for tax cuts, and especially, corporate tax cuts. 3/
That point of view dovetails with the interests of its corporate funders. More on who those funders are, in a bit. 4/
Let’s focus on the Tax Foundation's core function, which is to provide serious-sounding “scores” of tax bills. These analyses purport to show the revenue and distributional effects of tax changes based on the output of a computer model. 5/
But no one quite knows how this model works. And last week, in response to questions from @GregLeiserson, they admitted that there was a big error in their model.


This was not a minor bug. Their modeling of the relationship between corporate taxes and economic output, was, simply, incorrect - under their own assumptions. 7/
Setting aside whether those assumptions are themselves reasonable, they have not publicly described how they “fixed” the error, so no one can know whether it’s actually fixed. 8/
Greg also found problems with how the Tax Foundation models the estate tax. They have not publicly addressed these problems. 9/
In all likelihood, the errors that Greg has found are just the tip of the iceberg. We don’t know what other problems exist. 10/
Having acknowledged fundamental flaws with their model, they continue to put out advocacy material based on analyses that have been exposed as erroneous.…

This is where you can see how the Tax Foundation is fundamentally different than a nonpartisan organization like the Tax Policy Center, which is, truly, dedicated to unbiased analysis as opposed to particular policy ends. 12/
As was widely reported, the Tax Policy Center recently had a small glitch in its modeling of one of the Republican tax bills. They publicly retracted their estimates, took their time to correct the bug, and then published new estimates.… 13/
And, it should be said, the Tax Policy Center found its own mistake and self-corrected. To the extent the Tax Foundation has addressed any of the problems in its model, it is only because @GregLeiserson publicly asked penetrating questions about it.

The Tax Foundation is not some obscure outpost. Many Republicans in Congress use the Tax Foundation’s material, and their model estimates, like they’re the gospel. 15/
So, everyone observing and writing about the tax debate going on in Congress now needs to consider where the Tax Foundation gets its money. 16/
It seems unlikely that their corporate funders would be so eager to give them money if their model results were less favorable to corporate tax cuts. 17/
Tonight, they are holding an annual fundraising event that is cheekily known as “Tax Prom.” 18/
Corporate lobbyists dress in black tie, and they mingle with Members of Congress and their tax staff at this event. Vice President Pence is speaking there tonight. 19/
Let’s take a look at the sponsors, shall we?
Here is the host committee. 21/
Here are the sponsors of the VIP Reception and General Reception. 22/
Here are the Platinum Sponsors ($35,000). 23/
Here are the Gold Sponsors ($22,000). 24/
Here are the Silver Sponsors ($18,000). 25/
Here are the Bronze Sponsors ($10,000). 26/
As Republicans try to jam through a massive corporate tax cut, they will undoubtedly point to the Tax Foundation’s model estimates to try to claim that corporate tax cuts will boost growth, raise wages, and, in large part, pay for themselves.

For 1,500,000,000,000 reasons, observers should take these estimates with an appropriate mountain of salt. 28/28
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