Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Pawlenty's tax plan is an utter disaster

Tim Pawlenty, sucking up to both Grover Norquist and the Tea Party and once more trying to prove his right-wing bona fides (as he has on social issues), released his economic "vision" yesterday.

Pawlenty is a serious, sensible man, you say? Surely not.

All his ridiculous plan envisions is massive fiscal irresponsibility, economic catastrophe foisted upon future generations. He's clearly not a deficit hawk, despite his pledge to balance the budget, which is, to put it mildly, unrealistic, but then, of course, neither is Paul Ryan. All this is about is cutting spending conservatives don't like and cutting taxes even more, widening the revenue gap even further, all to score cheap political points with the anti-tax fanatics who run the GOP.

Just how bad is the plan? Here's Michael Linden, Director of Tax and Budget Policy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, guest-blogging at Think Progress:

Pawlenty called for:

– Cutting the top individual income tax rate down to 25 percent;

– Having just two income tax brackets, 10 percent and 25 percent;

– Eliminating all taxation on capital gains, dividends, and estates;

– Cutting the corporate tax rate down to 15 percent

These proposals, taken together would bestow a massive tax cut on the wealthiest people in the country. They would also reduce overall federal revenues to a such a low level that even if Pawlenty's draconian, radical spending targets were achieved, deficits and debt would still soar out of control.

All together, Pawlenty's tax proposal would generate an average revenue level of just 13.6 percent of GDP from 2013-2021. That translates to a tax cut of $7.8 trillion, and that's on top of $2.5 trillion cost of extending all of the Bush tax cuts...

Pawlenty also says that he will balance the budget, and cap spending at 18 percent of GDP. Unfortunately for Pawlenty, his tax plan leaves him about $8.4 trillion short. Given that reality, he can either embrace a huge middle-class tax increase, or give up his claims to a balanced budget. If he doesn’t make up that revenue, deficits and debt will skyrocket, even if he does slash spending back to levels not seen in half a century. 

Given how well this fits into the Paul Ryan orthodoxy of the GOP, I'm sure this "vision" will meet with applause from Republicans, to the extent that anyone's actually paying attention to Pawlenty, what with so much of the attention on Sarah Palin these days, not to mention Ryan himself.

Pawlenty has been a bit of a joke so far in the campaign, but he's trying really hard to be the candidate who appeals broadly across the party (unlike Romney), from the more "moderate" establishment to the Tea Party and the various other right-wing elements that are really the party's new mainstream. It's far from clear how successful he'll be, or not, but he's certainly saying the right things, which is why he's widely regarded as one of the favourites to win the nomination despite his poor poll numbers so far.

Of course, he's also desperate for attention. Maybe this "vision" -- however irresponsible, however much it would be an unmitigated disaster, if ever realized -- will give him a bit of a bump. It is, after all, what Republicans love to hear, and what they so firmly believe in.

Labels: , , , ,

Bookmark and Share


Post a Comment

<< Home