StanCollender'sCapitalGainsandGames Washington, Wall Street and Everything in Between

Tim Pawlenty Embarrases Himself On The Budget

11 Jan 2010
Posted by Stan Collender

The Daily Caller, the new Huffington-esque website fronted by Tucker Carlson, today includes a piece by Minnesota Governor and potential Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty that shows he's not ready for prime time when it comes to the federal budget.

Pawlenty complains about federal spending and then says that federal cuts to Medicaid will make the budget problems in states like his worse.  Presumably that means that he doesn't want Medicaid to be cut.

Pawlenty complains about federal spending without referencing any of the other federal dollars his own state gets.  This includes the emergency funds Washington provided and he accepted with open arms when the I-35W bridge collapsed in 2007.

He complains about federal spending being too high last year but then endorses a  amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would allow a balanced budget amendment to be suspended in times of national the recession that existed last year.

He talks about spending for unfunded liabilities without any reference to the revenues that will be collected over the same period.

But the real indication that Pawlenty and the federal budget don't mix is this paragraph:

Balancing the budget will require some tough decisions. Congress must reduce discretionary spending in real terms, with exceptions for key programs such as military, veterans, and public safety. The Congress must also reject costly new spending initiatives, like new health care entitlements.

Someone needs to tell Pawlenty that discretionary spending except for "military, veterans, and public safety" is less than $400 billion a year.  A real reduction of, say 10 percent (a ridiculous amount but use it for simplicity sake) would save a little more than $40 billion from the baseline and that doesn't come close to doing what needs to be done. 

In addition, rejecting "costly new spending initiatives" isn't the same as paying for the old ones, like Medicare and Medicaid, that are the real budget problems.

Finally, there's this: "States across the country are making difficult choices to balance their books."  Does that include California, where the governor's hard choice is to demand billions in additional aid from the federal government?

Is this the best that Pawlenty can do?  Is this what The Daily Caller thinks is worth publishing?

Pawlenty's "difficult choice" in Minnesota is unconstitutional

King Pawlenty calls it "unallotment", but it was really a power grab by the executive branch, and now the judiciary is calling him on it.

Here's the line that showed me this was vintage Gov. TBag:

That’s why I’m calling for a Constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget, with exceptions for war, natural disasters, and other emergencies.

What Gov. TBag really is saying, is this:

"I support a balanced budget, EXCEPT when GOPers are in charge."

I concur with Stan's

I concur with Stan's criticism of Pawlenty's statement about the "tough decisions" needed to "balance the budget" (and by the way, we don't need to balance the budget over the long term, just stabilize debt-to-GDP at an acceptable level). Although Pawlenty could claim that his list wasn't meant to be exhaustive as a list of changes that could adequately solve the problem, that seems to be his implication, and moreover, the thinly-veiled, implicit message to folks on the right is that we can solve the problem entirely by reducing social spending, without any tax increase, which of course is unrealistic politically.

Balanced Budgets

Fair enough as objective comment but obviously GovT was positioning for the Tbag vote when he runs. BtW - hasn't he been a relative effective governor?

But we're all adults here so let's get a tad real. How many folks actually understand the broadest outlines of gov't spending?

And didn't you guys cover this ground a few weeks back with the AEI studies on everybody wanting to cut spending but nobody wanting to give up their pet projects?

The more interesting question here, given this bully pulpit you're building, is how do we either get the voter to be aware of the contradictions of their choices, and face up to the consequences. Or work around it? Or roll over and die of course.

Public transportation funding is hypocritical?

I consider myself fairly conservative and don't really like a lot of what Gov Pawlenty has done while in office. However, I must defend him from this attack:
"Pawlenty complains about federal spending without referencing any of the other federal dollars his own state gets.
This includes the emergency funds Washington provided and he accepted with open arms when the I-35W bridge collapsed in 2007."
Do I really need to explain to you guys that 99.9% of conservatives would agree that roads/bridges are one of the few areas where government, even federal government, should be spending money? Come on. Stop building straw men.

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