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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pawlenty: If you can Google it, the government doesn't need to provide it

If you're a Republican running for President in 2012 you have one option. Pander to the base so it's a choice of nutty and nuttier or dumb and dumber or you can land up like Jon Huntsman where a recent Iowa poll found one supporter who had voted for Obama in 2008. Gary Johnson was a bit luckier. He had Willie Nelson's support
...for almost 24 hours.

So the only option left is to move as far to the right as possible. No easy task with Michelle Bachman and Rick 'fetus in a jar' Santorum in the race.

Tim Pawlenty is working on it. He's making a major economic speech in Chicago where amongst other things he will accuse Obama of waging class warfare. For Republicans 'class warfare' is a one way street. If it's about the ever widening income gap in America and the destruction of the middle class it's class warfare but if it's budget cuts aimed solely at low income earners that not class warfare, it's being fiscally responsible.

Pawlenty's plan will, in his own words he will take on “President Obama’s big government and heavy handed regulations” with new ideas that will spur Americans “to innovate, invest, compete, and create new businesses and jobs.” or, in other words even more tax cuts for the wealthy. Pawlenty goes further than Ryan in completely eliminating capital gains, dividend and interest income and the estate tax as well as cutting corporate taxes to 15%.

Just imagine the innovation and job creation that will be unleashed if Paris Hilton didn't have to pay any estate taxes.

He would also sunset all regulations unless Congress chose to keep them or replace them. Imagine the chaos. But that's not all. Here's where he goes off the deep end.

I don't want to sound redundant, having covered this over and over on this blog, but his tax ideas will lower federal ta revenues from what is now, a 60 year low relative to GDP so who will get to foot the tax bill, yes the middle class but don't ever dare call this class warfare. Decimating the tax base will explode the deficit and that would force the debt ceiling to be raised, just as it was seven times during the Bush administration when the GOP Congress voted for it unanimously without one complaint.

Then Pawlenty goes into turbo bizarro world mode on how to offset this revenue loss. In his won words:

“If you can find a good or service on the Internet, then the federal government probably doesn’t need to be doing it,” Mr. Pawlenty says. “The post office, the government printing office, Amtrak, Fannie [Mae] and Freddie [Mac], were all built in a time in our country when the private sector did not adequately provide those products. That’s no longer the case.”

Tim, finding the Amtrak schedule on the internet and then finding pictures of your destination doesn't exactly get you there. You can also get a fake high school diploma or a college degree so goodbye public education.

Not wishing to flog a dead horse but it as to be done from time to time. The non financial sector of the Fortune 500 companies is currently sitting on about $1.5 trillion in cash and cash equivalents, yet job growth has been anemic at best so more tax cuts will only create more unspent cash reserves, that's assuming they have bee paying their share of taxes which is a rarity among large corporations.

Republicans then fall back on their other excuse, too much uncertainty. There is always uncertainty. If not uncertainty, then it's over regulation. Somehow, that didn't seem to hinder the creation of 23 million new jobs in the Clinton era.

There is one overriding factor in the current too slow economy. With industrial capacity in America sitting at about 80% there is no reason for corporations to invest on any large scale or hire more workers. Demand for goods is low and the increase in gas and food prices may not be felt by Tiffany but it is being felt by Walmart. As local and state governments, particularly those controlled by the GOP, cut the length of unemployment benefits and lay off teachers and other government workers spending by those affected is dropping further slowing the economy.

The religion of Reaganomics must be served despite the mountain of evidence that it doesn't work. When Clinton raised taxes the Republicans predicted the end of America as we know it. The result was 23 million new obs and a balanced budget. It was the end of America as we know it in a sense.  Most readers weren't born the last time we had such a budget surplus.  When Obama bailed out the auto industry we got the same tired litany, endorsed by every 2012 hopeful. Despite the crappy economy the Auto industry has rebounded, saving not just the car companies but many of their suppliers.

Why are such cockamamie economic ideas such as Pawlenty's still being taken seriously by anyone other than true believers. Here's a better idea. In the current deficit hysteria, that has as much chance of happening as Paul Ryan's "path to prosperity" actually leading the country back to posterity.

UPDATE: Think Progress has since done the analysis. Pawlenty's tax cuts, unless they are offset with huge middle class tax hikes will cosst $7.8 trillion over 10 years, three times more than the Bush tax cuts, lowering federal revenues to an unheard of 13% of GDP. At the same time his plan calls for spending at 18% of GDP. That would create an annual deficit of about $750,000 billion annually. He's opposes raising the debt ceiling. If his economic policy were a term paper he would get an F for both math and logic. He should Google himself a high school diploma first.

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