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. Rudy NYC

    Pawlenty should not repeat Romney's prank that I viewed as racist. Pawlenty should not send food leftovers to anywhere but the trash can. The Romney's juvenile stunt demonstrated just how out of touch he is with Americans and changing times. I assume Romney regrets the distasteful prank. Pawlenty would be a fool were he to repeat it, and would be viewed as a redneck. Some say the prank is what is done in some circles. Most Americans do not live in those elitist circles and fail to see the humor.

    June 7, 2011 08:48 am at 8:48 am |

    Nothing new here.........
    Spending cuts, and tax reform......
    Tax reform is already an idea set out by this congress and President. When the economy gets better. these guys are toast.

    Obama/Biden 2012.

    June 7, 2011 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  3. TEE

    This is the same man that is so proud he left a 6 billion dollar plus deficit as gov., wants the country to know that's a positive !

    June 7, 2011 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  4. a in austin

    More tax cuts for the rich – you'll never get elected if that is what you are running on. We need JOBS!!!!

    June 7, 2011 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  5. Terry Gloege

    This from a man who at one time talked like he had some sense. I give him credit for wanting to rework the tax code but he's a bit off the reservation with some of his other thoughts. Perhaps he needs to reduce his tea consumption.

    June 7, 2011 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  6. John

    Look you all ready left your State when you were GOV Billions In Dept , and you had Bridges fallen down. America don't need any body like you for President. I bet you won't even win your own State. What I been reading you were the worst GOV Minnesota ever had.

    June 7, 2011 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  7. Seattle Sue

    Hey Tim, do you remember how the Bush tax cuts helped create jobs? Do you remember how relaxing regulations helped the economy? Well I don't remember them doing that either. In eight years of Bush only 1.1 million jobs were created. Deregulation ruined the housing market and we are in a mess because of people like you. I am still waiting for Boehner and the House republicans/Tea Party people to offer a solution for creating jobs, but it's only been 5 months since they took charge. But you would think at the least they might mention jobs.

    June 7, 2011 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  8. Randy

    With his ideas of cutting back taxes on big business and less regulation for large corporations all he does is increase the CEO's who make $1 million bonuses to $2 million. Obviously Americans have seen that the trickle down effect doesnt work as evident by the meltdowns of companies like Enron and most of the banking system. Last time I checked the top half of those companies still recieved their severence pay while the main workers lost everything. These companies take our money then ship our jobs overseas to countries like India so they can increase their bonuses and their bottom line. If we tax these companies less then how will that help our economy? To me it seems like Americans will be the only ones getting hurt because last time I checked people that live in work in India for an American company still pay taxes in India.

    June 7, 2011 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  9. whiteyonthemoon

    Obama's plan, steal enough from the 49% of the makers, to pay off the other 51% for votes.

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

    "Regrettably, President Obama is a champion practitioner of class warfare," Pawlenty will say. "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."
    "..spent three years dividing our nation..." He is absolutely corrrect. He has driven the hate filled segments of our population absolutely nuts through his mere fact of existence. The haters are upset that he has not resigned, has not been impeached, nor has he simply vanished. He is guilty of being "not one of us", whatever that means. As for economic failures, the policies he has followed have been to pretty much continue the path laid out for us by the Bush-43 administration. He renewed the Bush Tax Cuts, and the "failed' stimulus was almost 50% tax cuts for the middle class and small businesses. So, I guess those policies failed for Bush-43 and now Obama. Time for a change.

    June 7, 2011 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  11. Mike

    Cutting taxes is wonderful...assuming you have a job and are paying taxes. The past has clearly shown that cutting taxes for the rich and corporations doesn't necessarily mean more jobs, but it does mean more money for the rich (who don't buy American goods or shop in American-owned stores anyway and corporations who use the windfall to boost their balance sheets and attract more stock purchases from....the rich).

    June 7, 2011 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  12. Pretendur

    Hey, the internet has Train service? Wow Timmy your a genius!!

    June 7, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  13. Steve

    Paw-lease. You left Minnesota a mess. And class warfare??? Right on that. The middle class is finally fighting back against the class warfare the rich and big buisnesses have started and been waging unopposed for more than three decades. I would say go back to MN, but we dont want you and the destroyed economy and collapsed bridges you left us with. So go somewhere else.

    June 7, 2011 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  14. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Little Timmy should see how his failed economic ideas play in the twin cities before he goes to Chicago.

    June 7, 2011 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  15. me

    Tax cuts do not create jobs. Such voodoo economics has been tried and proven not to work. As a Minnesotan, I can tell you first hand Pawlenty knows little about how to run a budget.

    June 7, 2011 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  16. jk from MN

    Just check out how messed up the MN State budget is after the Gov left office. The New Gov and the legislature are headed for Government shutdown because they can't agree how to fix the can T-Paw kicked down the road for them. He's a real economic genius – NOT!

    June 7, 2011 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  17. Linda from Minnesota

    Worst governor we've ever had. He left our state in a mess, $6 BILLION deficit that we are trying to figure out how to fix.

    June 7, 2011 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  18. excitizen

    Regrettably, THE REPUBLICAN PARTYis a champion practitioner of class warfare, they have spent three years dividing our nation, fanning the flames of class envy and resentment to deflect attention from their own failures and the economic hardship they have visited on America.

    June 7, 2011 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  19. terry

    These Gop/TP are liers and theives!!! They were elected in November,and have done Nothing to get jobs!!!!!! Republicans Reighn of Economic "Terror" for 8 years, tore down the "Fabric" of our Country! Boehner will go down in history, as the Worst,most un-productive "Speaker of the House in history!!!!! NO GOP/TP Destuction!!!!!!

    June 7, 2011 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  20. Publius Novus

    I thought Timmy was going to be in Chicago. Honolulu is the President's home town.

    June 7, 2011 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  21. Paul1st

    Tim is going to call out Obama on class warfare by proposing sweeping tax cuts that mainly further benefit corporations and the wealthy, and proposing spending cuts that mainly put middle and lower income people out of work. By the way Tim, according to a large percentage of your base, you should be making this speech in Kenya.

    June 7, 2011 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  22. Hash

    Oh boy, here are some more great ideas! Step 1, cut taxes for the wealthy. Step 2. Step 3, profit!

    I'm sure George W. Bush's ideas are going to fix the economy he destroyed.

    June 7, 2011 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  23. once upon a horse

    let's see cut taxes for the rich,cut back on spending that helps the poor, hope the rich CEOs start hiring. Leave America in the same state he left Minnesota. Nothing new here to see folks, move on.

    June 7, 2011 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  24. Russ from Md

    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. I you earn a buck part of it should go to the government, then everybody’s taxes would go down.

    June 7, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  25. Rudy NYC

    I suppose his record would be most impressive to proponents of "trickle down" economics. Pawlenty gets high marks in all categories, including deficit spending, crumbling infrastructure, exporting jobs, and writing a book to promote himself.

    June 7, 2011 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
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