NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF “YOUR WORLD”: Part one of our very special series ‘Help Wanted," where we sit down and talk with all the presidential candidates about how they plan to get jobs.
We kick things off today with former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, his plan to create jobs in a moment -- first, what the governor makes of this Boeing fight and whether they can even get those jobs.
Governor, good to have you.
What do you make of what’s going on in South Carolina, where they might be cutting ribbons, but the NLRB wants to cut it down to size?
TIM PAWLENTY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, Professor Cavuto, it’s good to be back with you.
The NLRB decision and what they’re saying to an American economy as to where and how they can do business is outrageous. This is not the Soviet Union circa 1970s or 1960s or ‘50s. The idea that we have a federal agency telling an American business in a supposedly free market that it can’t grow a business or start a business in another state is one of the most outrageous things I’ve seen.
And it’s a measure of the times in which we live. The business leaders all across this country say the same thing to me every day everywhere: If you want me to provide jobs, get the government off my back.
And that’s why we announced this big pro-growth proposal the other day in Chicago, Neil.
CAVUTO: I do want to get into that proposal a little bit, Governor, and there’s a lot to get in with you.
It’s getting a lot of attention and focus, and, indeed, criticism, that it’s too simplistic, Democrats saying that, while they admire the idea that you want to simplify the tax code that you are going too far, with two simple tax rates. They say you are going to ultimately look at a whole lot less revenue coming to Washington, and debt that is already bad now getting worse.
What do you say?
PAWLENTY: Well, I don’t adopt President Obama’s declinist view of America or his declinist view of the future of this country.
We are the greatest nation in the world. And we should have a leader who says we can have big goals, big stretch goals, and we can reach them, and here is how we’re going to do it.
So, I have put a big goal out there, 5 percent growth. And if Barack Obama can stand before the American people and say, hey, he’s going to heal the planet and stem the tide of a rising ocean; the least we can do is increase the GDP by a few points and put Americans back to work.
And this plan, the response was predictable. The conservatives love it. The liberals hate it. But we know what works. This country, the way forward may not be easy, but it’s not complex. We know that, if you want to grow the private economy, you’ve got make the load from government lighter, not heavier, you’ve got to encourage, not discourage, the entrepreneurs and the people who want to start and grow businesses and provide jobs in this country.
And President Obama doesn’t understand this basic reality: You can’t be pro-jobs and anti-business. That’s like being pro-egg and anti-chicken. Neil, it doesn’t work.
CAVUTO: All right. But by having two tax rates, Governor, one at 10 percent for individuals up to $50,000, couples I guess up to $100,000, and a 25 percent rate after that, it’s not just Democrats who are saying that this might not add up for you, that -- that there are a number of other groups that say that your assumption of 5 percent growth, which has happened in some periods in American history for three- or four-year stretches, in the ‘80s and again in ‘90s, for 10 years, very unrealistic.
And they think that the savings just won’t materialize, the American Tax Policy Institute and others saying as much. How do you answer that?
PAWLENTY: Well, I answer that by saying this.
I don’t think we should have a minimalist view or an average view of America. I want to have an extraordinary view of America. It’s a big goal, no question about it. It’s aggressive, but that’s the kind of change that we are going to need to get the country moving again.
And the numbers we have show that, if you cut the taxes like we have suggested, and the growth occurs even anything approaching what I’ve suggested, and -- and this is important "and" -- cut spending like we’ve suggested, this not only pays for itself; you will have an -- extra money at the end of it.
CAVUTO: But what if it doesn’t, Governor? And I know that’s your goal and hope springs eternal -- and a lot of people say that this is a country about ambitious goals, so have it -- but if it doesn’t materialize, in other words, the growth doesn’t measure to 5 percent for the number of years you hope, then what do you do? Do you scale back those tax cuts? Do you cut deeper into spending because those materialized savings don’t appear?
PAWLENTY: Well, you’ve got to do both.
Again, I’m not proposing what happened in the past, which is to cut taxes and raise spending. I’m proposing to cut taxes and cut spending. And we’ve built in a margin, a significant cushion, in that regard in our proposal, Neil. And so the other question to the liberals is where’s your plan President Obama? And how is the current plan working, with $4-a-gallon gas, crushing levels of unemployment, a federal government that is out of control?
So, if you don’t like my plan, Mr. President, where the heck is your plan? And quit hiding on the key issues of the day, on entitlement reform, Medicare reform, Social Security reform. And he comes out and says the other day now he might be thinking of a payroll tax cut.
Well, he should have done that two years ago, three years ago, instead of that stupid stimulus bill that was mostly a waste of money.
CAVUTO: But they say they have looked at your plan, Governor. David Axelrod, I guess, in an interview with The Huffington Post, in referring to your fondness to look at eradicating those programs that the government utilizes if the same are available on the Internet, I think, your so-called Google point, David Axelrod has said, "What he should Google is job growth in the last decade. What he should Google is what happened to income for the last decade, when, in many ways, the policies that he prescribed were the governing theory."
I think he’s referring back to the Bush tax cuts, sir, and their argument that they didn’t produce dramatic results. What do you say?
PAWLENTY: Well, keep in mind, whether it be the Bush tax cuts or the Reagan tax cuts or other tax cuts, they always produce an increase in revenue. There’s no dispute about that.
But we do something different. We cut spending also, not increase it. That’s very different than what has happened. And, of course, when they say you can’t get to 5 percent growth, under both President Clinton and a Republican Congress, and President Reagan, there was nearly 5 percent growth twice, once in the ‘80s, once in the ‘90s.
CAVUTO: No, you’re right about that.
CAVUTO: That might be your goal as president, Governor. And I know you try to mean what you say and say what you mean, but you’re dealing with Congress, you’re dealing with your party, the other party.
And in both parties’ case and history, they don’t follow up on those spending cuts. Ronald Reagan couldn’t when he got all that extra revenue from his big tax cuts, and they just dug a bigger hole. George Bush found the same conundrum. I mean, in other words, how do you stop that?
PAWLENTY: Well, we address that. First of all, you are talking to a governor, a conservative Republican governor who governed in Minnesota, perhaps -- I love my state, but one of the most liberal states in the country. And we had big fights over these very issues. And I won most of them because I was willing to draw lines in the sand and enforce them.
But part of our proposal also, it gets right to the heart of what you have just asked, which is politicians, most of them, are like running water downhill. They’ll go to the point of least resistance. And that’s why we called for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution to enforce these, including spending limited as a percent of GDP, so they have to make the tough choices going forward.
And we’ve also put specific proposals on the table on spending. I went to Iowa and said we’ve got to phase out ethanol subsidies. I have been talking specifically about what the next generation’s going to have to do to get Social Security back in...