Well, the economy still blows. That means the door is wide open for some fresh ideas from potential Presidential candidates. Tim Pawlenty — WHADAYA GOT?
“Pawlenty’s plan for economic recovery stands largely on modifying the tax code. He proposes a three-tiered individual income tax. Those who currently pay no income tax would continue to pay nothing. After that, he suggests the first $50,000 of income – or $100,000 for married couples – would be taxed at 10 percent. Everything above that would be taxed at 25 percent. Pawlenty says he would also eliminate the capital gains tax, interest income tax, dividends tax and the estate tax.”
I’m not an economist, or even an accountant, but that sounds really, really expensive.
“Calling regulations a “hidden tax,” Pawlenty suggests requiring the sunsetting of all federal regulations, unless specifically sustained by a vote of Congress. He also calls for capping and block-granting Medicaid to the states, raising the Social Security retirement age for the next generation, and passing a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget.”
Hmm, massive income tax cuts for everyone that disproportionately benefit the upper middle class, elimination of the capital gains tax which disproportionately benefits the UPPER upper class, but no reduction in payroll taxes, which disproportionately affects the vast, vast majority of people. So we’re going to go way, way deeper into debt, in order to massively cut taxes on people who have more money than they know what to do with — but we’re going to freeze Medicaid, which is used by poor people to pay for medical treatment. This sounds like a plan Jesus could really get behind.
Hmmm… but the cost. Oh well, I’m sure there’s a plan to pay for this. Here’s that communist rag, the Wall Street Journal:
In order to offset any lost tax revenue — and to tackle the deficit — Mr. Pawlenty calls for something called “The Google Test” to determine whether the government should be involved in a program.
“If you can find a good or service on the Internet, then the federal government probably doesn’t need to be doing it,” Mr. Pawlenty says. “The post office, the government printing office, Amtrak, Fannie [Mae] and Freddie [Mac], were all built in a time in our country when the private sector did not adequately provide those products. That’s no longer the case.”
He calls on Congress to freeze spending at current levels and impound 5% of spending until the budget is balanced. “If they won’t do it … I will,” he plans to say.
Holy %#@&, that’s the worst idea I’ve ever heard in my life. Let’s privatize anything that exists on the internet! National security? Blackwater. Libraries? Barnes and Noble. Police? Mall cops. Elections? American Idol. Plus, contracting government needs through private vendors is, by definition, more efficient — can you imagine fraud or price inflation ever occurring in federal procurement? Egads, that’d be unpatriotic. Seriously, though — you’re going to get rid of stuff like freaking Amtrak and the Post Office and somehow that’s going to offset getting rid of the capital gains tax, the estate tax, plus a huge rate cut for the people who currently pay the 70% of income taxes? Are you high?
There’s no way Pawlenty is this dumb, which means I honestly wonder what his actual plan is. He’s gotta have one, right? I mean, it doesn’t have to necessarily work, but it’s gotta exist. I know Obama’s plan (at least I think I know it); he’s basically going to try to ring some savings out of centralizing the health insurance industry (good luck with that), and then, eventually, raise tax rates back up to where they were in the 1990s. I have no idea if that will be beneficial to the economy, or if it’s even politically feasible, but I get the logic, and more importantly, I get the math.
But Pawlenty can’t seriously be thinking that with the biggest fiscal crunch we’ve faced in maybe half a century, that simply blowing out the floor on the tax system and privatizing a few costly, well known, but basically irrelevant government services is going to somehow balance the budget. “UH OH, WE ARE OUT OF MONEY AND WE HATE OUR JOBS. LET’S QUIT OUR JOBS!”