Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty delivered his first major policy speech of the campaign season Tuesday at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy Studies, across the road from the university’s law school where President Obama once lectured. Pawlenty’s remarks were pickled in criticism against Obama’s economic policies.
“How are you enjoying your recovery summer? That’s what the president said we’re having. But that was last year,” he said. “Gas is nearly $4 a gallon. Home prices are in the gutter. Our healthcare system—thanks to Obamacare—is more expensive and less efficient. Unemployment’s back over 9 percent. Our national debt has skyrocketed. Our budget deficit has grown worse. And the jobs and manufacturing reports are grim.”
If that represents a recovery, Pawlenty added, “then our president needs to enter economic rehab.” The former governor also called the president a “champion practitioner of class warfare.”
“He’s spent three years dividing our nation, and fanning the flames of class envy and resentment all across the country to deflect attention from his own failures and the economic hardship they have visited on America,” the Republican said.
Pawlenty’s blistering remarks came on the heels of disappointing job-growth numbers and a slight increase in the nation’s unemployment rate in May. He is calling for lower tax rates for individuals and corporations and proposed the elimination of taxes on estates, capital gains, dividends and interest income, which would benefit taxpayers with higher incomes.
“Tim Pawlenty's plan to extend and expand the Bush tax cuts, deeply slashing taxes paid by the wealthiest Americans and corporate America and sending our deficit soaring even higher, is not an economic plan—it's a prescription for economic disaster that would fall squarely on the backs of seniors and working families,” said Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who chairs the Democratic National Committee.
She also said that when Pawlenty left the governor’s office, he left the state with a projected budget deficit of $6.2 billion and that individuals and small businesses faced higher property taxes and college tuitions.
“On budget and fiscal matters Tim Pawlenty failed the people of Minnesota, and now he wants to impose such misguided and wrongheaded policies on the rest of us. No thank you,” Wasserman Schultz said.
(Photo: Joshua Roberts/Reuters)