Janet Yellen Caught Picking and Choosing Data to Paint a Misleading Picture

Janet Yellen Caught Picking and Choosing Data to Paint a Misleading Picture

The Treasury Secretary Received 2 Pinocchios for her Statement during a Congressional Hearing

December 2, 2021

Joe Biden’s Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen was caught by the Washington Post playing political games with the cost estimates of the administration’s signature ‘Build Back Better’ reconciliation proposal.

The reconciliation bill, which is currently being negotiated in the Senate, was examined by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and was found to not be fully paid for, as the Biden Administration had repeatedly promised

That didn’t stop Secretary Yellen from picking and choosing which budget estimates she was going to highlight during a recent Congressional hearing. 

Secretary Yellen: “President Biden’s Build Back Better (BBB) plan “is fully paid for, or even more than fully paid for. And CBO just completed a comprehensive review of it in which they found essentially the same thing.’”

Senator Kevin Cramer called out Secretary Yellen’s comment for misrepresenting what the Congressional Budget Office said.

Senator Cramer: “I want to … correct a record that got real fuzzy when Senator Kennedy asked Secretary Yellen a couple of times about debt and deficit, and she said that the Build Back Better plan is completely paid for and to prove the point, she said the CBO agrees with her. …. I want to read directly from the Congressional Budget Office’s score: ‘CBO estimates that enhancing this legislation would result in a net increase in the deficit totaling $367 billion over the 2022 through 2031 period.’”

The Washington Post similarly determined that Secretary Yellen wasn’t telling the truth when she said that the CBO found that the Build Back Proposal would be fully paid for. 

​​Washington Post: “Yellen’s first comment that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) verified that the BBB plan was deficit-neutral caught our attention and we had already queried the Treasury Department by the time Cramer decided to call Yellen on it. But then, as Yellen noted, Cramer left off a caveat that the CBO included in its statement. The $367 billion deficit estimate did not include the impact of $80 billion of increased investments in the Internal Revenue Service.

“Still, in a separate informal estimate of the impact, the CBO said IRS investment would result in $207 billion in additional revenue, for a net impact of $127 billion in deficit reduction. That still would leave Biden’s plan in a deficit hole. (To be precise, a $160 billion deficit. We’ll explain the math below.)”

Bottom Line: Build Back Better isn’t fully paid for, no matter how much the administration picks and chooses which information it wants to use to justify its plan. Build Back Broke is a better name for this tax and spending plan that is going to exacerbate the inflation crisis and add mountains to the national deficit.