Pawlenty unveils economic plan in Obama's hometown
June 7th, 2011
08:31 AM ET
11 years ago

Pawlenty unveils economic plan in Obama's hometown

(CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty presented his plan to grow the American economy through tax reform and spending cuts during a speech Tuesday in the president's backyard.

The former two-term Minnesota governor, who has consistently touted his economic record in the state, called for cuts in individual and corporate tax rates as well as the elimination of capital gains tax, interest income tax, dividends tax and the estate tax.

"The tax code is littered with special interest handouts, carve-outs, subsidies and loopholes that should be eliminated," Pawlenty said during a speech at the University of Chicago.

He proposed reducing the current business tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent and a "simpler, fairer flatter tax system" for individuals.

Under the proposed plan those who do not pay income tax will see no changes to their rates. After that, the first $50,000 of income for individuals will be taxed at 10 percent and everything above that would be taxed at 25 percent.

Pawlenty is the second GOP presidential contender to recently visit Chicago. In May presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney stopped in the Windy City to raise money, chat with supporters, discuss the economy with small business owners and eat some Chicago-style pizza, the leftovers from which he delivered to President Obama's campaign headquarters.

To ensure the government tightens its belt, Pawlenty proposed Congress grant him the "temporary and emergency authority to freeze spending at current levels" and encourage private enterprise through his "Google Test."

"If you can find a good or service on the internet, then the federal government probably doesn't need to be doing it," Pawlenty said. "The post office, the government printing office, Amtrak, Fannie and Freddie were all built for a time in our country when the private sector did not adequately provide those products. That is no longer the case."

Asked if Pawlenty favors a complete end to government funding for those programs, campaign spokesman Alex Conant said it's a possibility.

"Yes, he's opening the door to privatizing other programs that are duplicative of services now offered by the private sector," Conant told CNN.

He also criticized regulatory reform, including the Dodd-Frank financial regulation legislation and the current health care law, both passed last year when Democrats controlled the House and Senate, while taking shots at Obama.

"Regrettably, President Obama is a champion practitioner of class warfare," Pawlenty said. "Elected with a call for unity and hope, he has spent three years dividing our nation, fanning the flames of class envy and resentment to deflect attention for his own failures and the economic hardship they have visited on America."

Gov. Mark Dayton, Pawlenty's Democratic successor in Minnesota, dismissed Pawlenty's proposals as a political ploy.

"I think it's ironic that he's talking about a fiscal plan for the entire country when he left his state a mess," Dayton said in an interview. "He decided he was going to leave and left it to his successor. They knew they were going to kick this down the road."

- CNN Political Reporter Peter Hamby contributed to this report.

- On Monday, June 13, CNN will host the first New Hampshire Republican Presidential Debate, live from Manchester, NH at 8 p.m. ET. Follow all the issues and campaign news leading up to the debate on and @cnnpolitics on Twitter.

Filed under: 2012 • Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Wes B.

    If I were super rich, maybe I'd be interested in voting for this guy. Seems like he's got a lot of great ideas to make life easier on the mega wealthy.

    As for the other 99.9% of the country...

    June 7, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    It should be noted that T-Paw has the talent. Over the course of two terms that ended before 2008, which saw great economic prosperity for those 'job creators', Pawlenty somehow managed to leave a state in a deficit. That takes talent.

    June 7, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  3. George

    Why can't these fools just close the tax loopholes and if that works, then look at a flatter tax rate. But this idea that if the federal government takes in less and less revenue, somehow that will be offset by gutting every social program and they will raid SS too.

    June 7, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Russ from Md wrote;
    I make a decent living (about $160K) and I think he has a good start to a plan to rebuild our economy. The only thing I would change is make it a true flat tax. If you earn a buck part of it should go to the government, then everybody’s taxes would go down.
    That idea would never fly in conservative circles. They believe if you earn a buck, then it is exclusively yours. People working together for a comon goal is socialism when the goal does not meet their standards. Even a good goal is kicked aside if one of their own did not put it forward.

    June 7, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
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