Monday, November 05, 2007

The Old Congressional Shell Game

In order to get the bill scored right (i.e., for the Congressional Budget Office to evaluate the changes in farm programs under the farm bill and assign a dollar figure to the costs), Congress is engaging in its usual shell game tactics. What you do is look at the fiscal years, which is the basis of scoring. Then you move as much revenue as you can from the fiscal years beyond the period of the bill into the period and reverse the process with costs. It looks as if they're doing that with advance payments, and with crop insurance revenues (based on a quick review of the CBO summary of the bills).

It's much the same process with tax paying--if this is a high income year, any tax adviser will say, consider raising your deductibles, like move charitable contributions into this year.

Of course Congress will reverse their shell game down the road, once the "scoring" is safely in the past. Only taxpayers who indulge in fraud can do the same with taxes.

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