Pawlenty speech criticizes Obama as ‘champion of class warfare’

President Obama is a “champion practitioner of class
warfare,” GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty said Tuesday.

In an address on his economic policy in Obama’s hometown of
Chicago, the former Minnesota governor laid out the specifics of his plan to
slash spending and simplify the nation’s tax code by drastically cutting rates.

{mosads}Pawlenty said his policies offered a sharp contrast to the
president’s, which he argued are discouraging businesses and stunting economic

“The president is satisfied with a second-rate American
economy produced by his third-rate policies. I’m not,” Pawlenty said.

If Obama’s economic policies are kept in place, Pawlenty
said: “We are in deep doo-doo. We are in deep crap.”

Instead of the “New Deal,” Pawlenty dubbed his economic plan
a “Better Deal” that differs from former President Franklin Roosevelt’s
plan to lift the country out of the Great Depression.

Pawlenty’s proposals to boost the economy and cut the
deficit also deviates from the House GOP budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan

While Pawlenty provided no new details on what entitlement
reforms he would support, he offered a tax plan that would reduce the corporate
tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent. Ryan’s budget would reduce the
top corporate and individual rate to 25 percent, a plan the Tax Policy Center estimates would
cost $2.9 trillion over 10 years to offset.

Pawlenty also called for the elimination of existing
loopholes, subsidies and tax credits for businesses, which he said would offset
some of the revenue lost from cutting tax rates.

“American businesses today pay the second-highest tax rates
in the world. That’s a recipe for failure, not adding jobs and economic
growth,” he said.

Democrats attempted to tie Pawlenty’s proposal to Ryan’s,
which they have decried for its drastic spending cuts and changes to
entitlement programs.

Former White House spokesman Bill Burton, who co-founded the
Democratic outside spending group Priorities USA Action, compared the Pawlenty
and Ryan plans to “kissing cousins” during an appearance on MSNBC.

And Democratic National
Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democratic
congresswoman from
Florida, characterized the plan in a statement: “Mr. Pawlenty would take the Republican policies of the last
decade, which exploded our deficit and debt and nearly sank our economy into a
second Great Depression, and inject them with steroids.”

Pawlenty also proposes wiping out the existing individual
tax code and replacing it with two rates, 10 percent for the first $50,000 earned in income
($100,000 for families) and 25 percent for anything earned above that.

The ex-governor would get rid of taxes on capital gains,
interest income, dividends and the estate tax

Pawlenty said his plan would not blow a hole in the
already-massive budget deficit, arguing it would instead increase tax revenue
by spurring economic growth, which he set a goal of increasing to 5 percent

“Five percent economic growth over 10 years would generate
$3.8 trillion in new tax revenues,” he said. “With that — we would reduce
projected deficits by 40 percent. All before we made a single budget cut.”

During the question-and-answer session, Pawlenty defended
his tax plan against charges that it simply benefits the wealthy.

“You can’t be pro-job and anti-business,” he said. That’s
like “being pro-egg and anti-chicken.”

In order to reduce federal spending, Pawlenty said he will call on
Congress to grant the president the authority to implement a spending freeze
and impound 5 percent of federal spending until the budget is balanced. He
called for the privatization of the United States Postal Service, Amtrak, the
government printing office and embattled mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and
Freddie Mac.

“We can start by applying what I call ‘The 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,” he said.

Pawlenty reiterated his support for a balanced-budget
amendment, which he said should also include a spending cap that should limit government
outlays to around 18 percent annually.

Pawlenty said he wants to eliminate all federal regulations
unless Congress votes to keep them in place, a move intended to target Obama’s
healthcare law, the Wall Street reform bill and the Environmental Protection
Agency’s push to regulate carbon emissions.

“It is no longer enough for government to go on a diet.
Government needs to hit the gym, and hit it hard,” he said.

He also called for the streamlining of federal agencies
including the CIA and the Pentagon, and said that the Federal Reserve should
end its dual mandate.

“No more quantitative easing. No more monetizing
debt. No more printing money with reckless abandon,” he said.

Pawlenty said his proposal matches his promise to tell the
hard truths about what’s needed to fix the country’s problems.”

“It’s going to be the Jack Nicholson election,” Pawlenty
said, quoting the actor’s famous line from A Few Good Men: “You can’t handle the truth.”

This time around, Pawlenty argues, “The American people can
handle the truth.”

—This story was posted at 8:52 a.m. and updated at 12:33 p.m. 

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