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Editorial: Stunning generosity, good news for tax cheats and budget wonks under fire

Ruth J. Schwendler, the Eggertsville woman who died last May at age 92, left an estate of more than $2 million, with most of the money dedicated for scholarships at Canisius College and D’Youville College.

Here is the remarkable part: Schwendler did not attend either institution and, save for a cousin who once taught history at Canisius, college officials could find no solid thread back to their institutions.

Even more remarkable is how Schwendler was able to amass her millions, having “earned a modest wage for many years as a secretary and bookkeepper,” as reported in The News. A longtime friend attributed the fortune to the fact that Schwendler lived frugally and “believed in savings bonds.”

For her ability to grow a huge nest egg, we dub this tremendously generous woman “the Oracle of Eggertsville.”

Tax cheats are probably rejoicing at the Internal Revenue Service budget reductions that have resulted in a sharp drop in audits. But hold off on the champagne and balloons, because if you get caught, auditors (the ones left) aren’t going to be too happy.

The chance of being audited is down to 0.7 percent, which is actually not good news for the federal treasury. The IRS brings in much more money than it costs to operate. Now President Trump is signaling that significant funding cuts are ahead.

Our advice? Stay on the right side of the law and of the reduced number of auditors toiling away.

Now the White House is trying to discredit the Congressional Budget Office, long regarded as an able, nonpartisan agency of economists and statisticians whose job is to give Congress the financial lowdown on the cost of legislation.

The White House and some congressional Republicans are afraid that the CBO will report some uncomfortable facts about their proposed replacement for Obamacare, which they call the American Health Care Act.

The agenda is clear: to create suspicion of institutions that can call government to account. But Congress will regret this one. If it didn’t have the CBO, it would have to invent the means to determine the cost of proposed legislation. Instead of undermining a valuable organization, it needs to protect its integrity – and honor its conclusions.

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