Pawlenty says the rich need to keep their Bush tax breaks. And I do mean the rich, the tax cuts he wants to extend are for income above $250,000. The annual cost? $40 billion.
But how to pay for that tax cut?
Pawlenty would spend unused funds from the economic stimulus package and reduce federal spending -- including in areas that include entitlement programs such as Social Security -- to finance the extension of the tax cuts.Oh, okay. That money is "unused" you say? VP Biden's economic advisor Jared Bernstein has a few things to say about that:
. . 94 percent of the Recovery Act is either in tax cuts, payments, or projects under contract. Of the remaining 6 percent, half has been awarded and contracts are being finalized - and half is in the final stages of the award process. So when critics like Rep. Boehner talk about stopping the spending, they’re essentially talking about taking away middle class tax cuts, leaving unemployed workers unexpectedly high and dry without an unemployment check, halting road and bridge projects and leaving them unfinished, leaving contractors unpaid for the work they’ve already done and more.Let's take a look at some of the "unused" Recovery Act projects in Minnesota that Tim Pawlenty would end to pay for his tax breaks for the rich.
(At least) 13 police officers in Minneapolis have been rehired after being laid off. A partially "unused" ARRA grant has put them back on patrol. Tim Pawlenty would fire them.
A $12 million grant to the Mayo Clinic to improve the use of electronic health records and develop the Health IT infrastructure of the future? Tim Pawlenty would redistribute that back to the job creators of this country.
Road construction projects? Stop them now, before they actually get finished. Keep the Camden Bridge closed. Don't finish rehabilitating the Aerial Lift Bridge in Duluth.
All of these are initiatives that Pawlenty has given lip service to during his 8 year reign. He bashed cities for laying off cops after he cut LGA. He and Newt Gingrich advocated electronic health records as a cost saving tool. And he sure talked a good game about bridge maintenance after the 35W bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River, but apparently that's all waste, fraud, and abuse too.
Lest you think I'm just extrapolating without good reason, Pawlenty was very specific about all of this:
He said he wants Minnesota to reject federal stimulus dollars still due the state because the funding makes state agencies more dependent on money from Washington and perpetuates ones with structural issues.When it comes down to it, Tim Pawlenty wants to lay off Minnesota police officers, community health workers, and construction workers to give a tax break to the rich. It's not about "dependence on Washington." After all, Tim Pawlenty was happy to accept stimulus money to balance the budget, even while he was bashing it. Anyone who's watched him "govern" for the last eight years shouldn't be surprised a bit.
(h/ts to Dan Burns, Political Animal, and Political Animal commenter #3 DJ)
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