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Treasury Department scrubs paper from website

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the Treasury Department removed from its website a 2012 technical paper that contradicts the statements that the Treasury Secretary has been making about corporate tax cuts.

The 34-page technical paper about corporate income taxes was written by staff of the Treasury Department's Office of Tax Analysis.

The Internet Archive captured the report as recently as May 20, 2017, but shows it gone by September 29.

Internet Archive shows “TP-5”.

Today: Treasury Department shows Technical Papers 1-4 and 6. Number 5 is missing.

The Wall Street Journal article says that the economic analysis in the paper "contradicts Secretary Steven Mnuchin's argument that workers would benefit the most from a corporate income tax cut." Mnuchin has been arguing that workers bear most of the corporate-tax burden, but the paper says that workers pay only 18% of the corporate tax while owners of capital pay 82%.

“The point is central to Mr. Mnuchin’s argument that workers would benefit from the corporate tax cut the administration is proposing, and switching that assumption would significantly alter the estimates of who would benefit from the Republican tax policy framework released on Wednesday.” [WSJ]

The article quotes a Treasury spokeswoman saying that "The paper was a dated staff analysis from the previous administration. It does not represent our current thinking and analysis.

According to the Treasury Department, technical papers of the Office of Tax Analysis are not intended to reflect department policy, but are intended to help improve the quality of analysis:

The OTA Technical Papers Series presents documentation of the models, datasets, and methods developed by staff and used for policy analysis and estimates. The papers are intended to generate discussion and critical comment while informing and improving the quality of the analysis conducted by the Office. The papers are works in progress and subject to revision. Views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent official Treasury positions or policy. [Office of Tax Analysis]

Richard Rubin, the author of the WSJ article notes that other technical papers from 2008 through 2016 remain on its site, along with working papers dating back to 1974. The Technical paper was also published in the National Tax Journal published by the National Tax Association.

  • "Distributing The Corporate Income Tax: Revised U.S. Treasury Methodology." Cronin, Julie Anne, Lin, Emily Y.,Power, Laura, Cooper, Michael. National Tax Journal, Mar 2013, Vol. 66 Issue 1, p239-262.

A search for the paper in Google Scholar still has a link to the URL at the Treasury Department , but that link returns an error message of: "401 UNAUTHORIZED."

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