Pawlenty 2012. Maybe. Certainly he has ideas. What worries me is that he is a dogmatic Republican on taxes and government.


In many ways I like Tim Pawlenty.

Pawlenty does have ideas. He is not a chronic whiner that has complaint after complaint but is never one to put specific ideas on the table.

I have some small concerns about his ability to operate a calculator. Arithmetic he does well with. Short-term funds manipulation, too. I have serious concerns about his long-term mathematical calculations.

In the past I’ve called Pawlenty a hero for pushing through a balanced budget and doing what it took to move beyond impasse.

In praising Pawlenty I wrote: “Governor Pawlenty’s move will cause pain but it should also be lauded for tough love leadership.”

My problem with that tough love leadership is that he eventually followed the dogmatic path on taxes. His cuts to funding sources has left Minnesota with a gargantuan deficit of some $18+ billion … whereas before he fixed his state’s budget the deficit was only $1.2 billion.

A fact: Pawlenty did leave office as governor with a surplus of $668 million in the bank — but much of that is from hacking and slashing state services and just plain not spending collected taxes while pushing spending into the future.

Minnesota has a two year budget cycle. The 2012 budget is Pawlenty’s budget, even though he is not now governor.

Minnesota’s 2012 budget has soared to the #4 spot as the most red ink among all state budgets.

As the Wall Street Journal notes below, Pawlenty has a bit of a cloud over his head when he talks about fiscal responsibility and how his plan can cut taxes yet grow the economy at so fast a pace that money magically appears in the treasury coffers. It didn’t happen in Minnesota. It is doubtful that it would happen across the USA.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), an extremely friendly news outlet for Pawlenty, writes:

“… the red ink may prove problematic for a former governor running as a fiscal conservative willing to level with Americans about the tough choices needed to bring the federal deficit under control.”

How much red ink? Last year he had a $1.2 billion deficit before he pushed through some major changes. Some of the changes were to play shellgames by moving expenses into the future for repayment even though they were ‘due now’. How much red ink? $18.8 billion dollars is the result of Pawlentian economics. Voodoo economics.

Pawlenty does have ideas — yet the bogey for his plans coming to fruition requires that the economy grow at 5% per year for almost 10 years. Has never happened.

Again, the otherwise friendly Wall Street Journal writes: “… the economy grew 4.9% on average between 1983 and 1987, and nearly 4.7% between 1996 and 1999. Yet such long booms are rare in developed economies and we can’t recall one that lasted 10 years.”

There are not even two years of 5% growth in our nation’s history.

Here is how Pawlenty plans to push through this dramatic change — just like in Minnesota:

“So I propose that Congress grant the President the temporary and emergency authority to freeze spending at current levels, and impound up to 5% of Federal spending until such time as the budget is balanced. If they won’t do it…I will. As an example, cutting even 1% of overall federal spending for six consecutive years would balance the federal budget by 2017.”
— from his June 7th speech outlining his Economic Plan

For now, let’s just say I’m intrigued by the many specific items outlined in his speech but believe that he is playing to the wishful thinking crowd that dominate the Republican Party today.

But could Pawlenty be worse that what we’ve got now with Obama and inherited from Bush 43?

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Pawlenty 2012. Maybe. Certainly he has ideas. What worries me is that he is a dogmatic Republican on taxes and government.

  1. George S. Harris

    Bill, I’m a bit concerned. Have you ever met a politician you didn’t like? A couple of days ago you were chiding Pawlenty about his Google comment and the next thing you know you are praising him. You continually support my theory that libertarians are like bouys in a storm–simply waiting for the wind to shift to move in another direction. Too bad because I thought for a while you had potential only to find you may well be a typical politician–a real shame.

    • You don’t find my piece raising concerns about Pawlenty?

      I praised his 2009/2010 budgetary actions where repeatedly the Minnesota couldn’t pass a balanced budget.

      I also outlined that he went too far and it has significantly hurt his home state, causing massive red ink.

  2. George S. Harris

    I still feel that you facilate–sorry but that is my estimation. I don’t believe I would vote for you if you ever decided to run for office since it very difficult to figure out where you stand.

  3. You will find that playing the Devil’s Advocate will be your worst enemy if you every decide to go political. People will not trust you since they will never know where you stand. I and a group of my friends feel that way about you–we would like to have you join us but we simply do not trust you. Equivocation is a politican’s worst trait. Too bad because you have great potential. By being equivocal, you typify the independent libertarian trying to please all the people all the time and eventually not pleasing anyone.

  4. George S. Harris

    Here is an interesting commentary about Pawlenty—

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-06-08/the-lies-and-lunacy-in-tim-pawlentys-economic-plan?cid=bsa:relatedstories2:4

    This guy says it like it is–Pawlenty is a fraud. No equivocation here.

  5. vangsness

    You obviously do not live in Minnesota. I do!! When Pawlenty entered office, Minnesota land owners paid about $5.1 billion in property taxes; the total was $8 billion when he left. He consistently passed the buck onto local government. The last four or five years, when he should have been governing Minnesota, he has been running for president, championing the small-government approach on fiscal policy. The man is a fraud!!

    • No. I do not live in Minnesota.

      As for pushing government and expenses down to the most local form of government, that is his philosophy. That is being a small government proponent.

      Pawlenty left Minnesota deeply in red ink — as I pointed out — and his greatest disservice was claiming that he had reformed the system.

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