Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


A Pawlenty comment to remember come January

From this morning’s Washington Post:

Pawlenty said that although Republicans idolize Ronald Reagan, some would balk at the compromises he made. “One of the things that gets glossed over is his pragmatism,” he said. “He got stuff done, and he compromised to do it.”

Remember, one of those compromises was raising taxes, in part to protect Social Security. Any Minnesota programs — education? health care? — deserve similar protection in the coming legislative session?

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Beryl John-Knudson on 11/13/2008 - 07:45 am.

    Has Pawlenty ever raised his voice or his ideals above a whisper?

    And thanks for “just getting the facts, mam” by pulling up “The Great Taxer” 2004, by Paul Krugman…the finest of muckrakers and recent Nobel Prize winner.

    Footnote in respect for those wordsmiths who offer the reader a second opinion:
    I bet if Krugman ever got an inside peek at the original ‘stone tablets’ – allegedly authorized by the Great Word God In the Sky – Paul would turn that most sacred stone over and add another commandment…”Thou shall not take the muckracker name in vain.”
    And I would indulgently add…”nor fire them Marty, or whomever is responsible, over at the tell-it-as-they-see-it site, Independant Monitor”…

  2. Submitted by Craig Westover on 11/13/2008 - 09:01 am.

    David —

    I understand the point you are making, but understand that reducing a tax cut (which is still a tax cut) for economic reasons is not the equivalent of increasing taxes for for a moral reason.

    Reagan based his supply-side economics on economic principle — it was his critics that mischaracterized supply-side economics to the position that tax cuts are always good. What the Laffer Curve demonstrates is that higher tax rates provide increased revenue to government but only up to the point where the marginal rate of the next dollar earned discourages productivity, whether that productivity is the willingness to work harder or the willingness to invest rather than spend. At that point, tax increases decrease government revenue.

    Determining where that point of diminishing returns is what making economic policy is all about. Reagan’s decision, “compromise” if you will, to reduce the size of a tax cut was not a moral decision. It did not compromise the principle of his economic philosophy. It was an economic decision based on data available at the time.

    That is a sharp contrast with the moral argument for taxes based on “spreading the wealth around,” which would minimize consideration of the consequences of higher marginal tax rates in the name of fairness and equality. That’s the same logic you apply when you imply that education and health care have some inherent moral quality that justifies tax increases irrespective of what education or health care proposal might be forth-coming.

    One should always be willing to compromise on details, but never on principle.

  3. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 11/13/2008 - 02:45 pm.

    But I believe the point is, Mr. Westover, that Reagan’s policies did not work. As witness his own decision to raise taxes, that of Bush I to raise taxes in his second term, and Bush II’s refusal to end the tax cuts for the wealthy (which are responsible for almost half our national debt and which were NOT used to create jobs) has — together with the worship of the “free market” that got rid of necessary regulations that would prevent much lawbreaking by financial types — given us the economic mess we are currently living through.

    Huzzahs for Krugman, Reich, Stiglitz, Galbraith and so many others who do truly understand that we all do well when we all do well.

Leave a Reply