The Profound Unseriousness Of Tim Pawlenty

Andrew Sullivan —  Jun 8 2011 @ 11:30am

T-Paw says he's a truth-teller:

But Pawlenty's economic plan, presented yesterday, is to enact tax cuts three times larger than Bush's. When one realizes that he is regarded as one of the more serious candidates, one wonders if the Republican degeneracy is actually intensifying. In this period of massive debt, Pawlenty's position is to gut revenues even more – and balance them with spending cuts that could never overcome massive public resistance. Is it still GOP orthodoxy that the answer to any economic problem – even a collapse in federal revenue – is cutting taxes? The mind reels. Look: you simply cannot be in favor of debt reduction and massive tax cuts – on top of Bush's bankrupting decade – at the same time. And if you think simply cutting taxes works miracles, what happened in the last decade? Even before the implosion, growth rates were mediocre.

Ezra Klein compares Pawlenty's straight-talk rhetoric to the reality:

Pawlenty promised that substantially cutting taxes would increase economic growth by 150 percent and reduce the deficit by 40 percent. Some hard truth. Next you'll deliver the bad news that if I stop paying my mortgage, my income will grow twice as fast, the bank will pay off half my loan and I'll be able to use the savings to redo my kitchen. Or perhaps you'll sit me down to explain the bad news that eating more pie will stimulate my metabolism and help me lose weight.

Jonathan Cohn:

He's proposing to sustain economic growth at 5 percent for a decade, something not even Clinton or Reagan came even close to doing, and radically reduce tax rates in ways that will–wait for it–radically raise revenues. As my colleague Jonathan Chait puts it, the plan is "your basic supply-side pixie dust plan, sprinkling massive windfall gains on the rich, not bothering to make the numbers add up and assuming implausibly high economic benefits will result."

Kevin Drum:

The pander quotient in Pawlenty's speech is just off the charts. It's less a speech than a series of Reagan-era applause lines bulked up on steroids and then stitched together for public consumption.