On Obama’s Home Turf Tuesday, Pawlenty Poised To Rip President’s Economic Record

Jun 7, 2011 12:41am

Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty Tuesday will head to President Obama's old stomping grounds at the University of Chicago to bash him as "a champion practitioner of class warfare" and to unveil his own economic plan.

"Regrettably, President Obama is a champion practitioner of class warfare. 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 from his own failures and the economic hardship they have visited on America," Pawlenty plans to say, according to excerpts of his remarks released tonight.

The former Minnesota Governor will say that America's entrepreneurs "have been discouraged and weighed down by President Obama’s big government and heavy handed regulations." Pawlenty wants to set "a big, positive goal" of growing the nation's economy by five percent.

“Such a national economic growth target will set our sights on a positive future and inspire the actions needed to reach it," he will say. "By the way, five percent growth is not some pie-in-the-sky number. We’ve done it before, and with the right policies, we can do it again.”

Pawlenty on Tuesday will also propose to cut the business tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent and eliminate special-interest handouts and subsidies. In addition, he wants to give small businesses the option of paying at the corporate rate.

“On the individual rates we need a simpler, fairer flatter tax system overall," he will say. "I propose just two rates: 10 percent and 25 percent. Under my plan, those who currently pay no income tax would stay at a zero rate. After that, 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. That’s it. A one-third cut in the bottom rate to allow younger, middle, and lower-income families to save and build wealth. And a 28 percent cut in the top rate to spur investment and job creation."

“In addition, we should eliminate altogether the capital gains tax, interest income tax, dividends tax, and the death tax. Government has no moral or economic basis to claim a second share of the same income. When you deposit a dollar in your bank account, every penny should be forever more yours and your children’s, not the federal governments.”

In the speech at the school where Obama used to teach, Pawlenty plans to tout his record as Minnesota governor when he "cut state spending in real terms for the first time in our state’s history." The battle even included a government shutdown. 

"We didn’t close our schools or empty out our prisons. We cut spending where it needed to be cut. We can do the same thing in Washington."

He outlines something he calls "the Google Test": "If you can find a good service on the Internet, then the federal government probably doesn’t need to be doing it. 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’s no longer the case.”

"So I propose that Congress grant the President the temporary and emergency authority to freeze spending at current levels, and impound up to 5 percent of federal spending until such time as the budget is balanced. If they won’t do it, I will. As an example, cutting even one percent of overall federal spending for six consecutive years would balance the federal budget by 2017."  

He will rip the president's health care reform bill for leaving the country's private health care market "in intensive care, with a bad prognosis," as well as the Wall Street reform bill for not resolving the problem of government-backed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

“I will require sun setting of all federal regulations, unless specifically sustained by a vote of Congress," he will say.

Pawlenty is set to deliver the speech Tuesday at 11 a.m. EST. The University of Chicago is also the destination for Obama's Chief Economic Adviser Austan Goolsbee, who is leaving the White House to return to his post as professor there.

In addition to Tuesday's speech, Pawlenty has also penned an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune:

But he's got some work to do. According to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, Pawlenty trails Obama 51 percent to 40 percent among Americans looking at potential 2012 matchups. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, numerically outpoints the president 49 percent to 46 percent.

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