Tim Pawlenty’s speech outlining his economic policy includes a lot to digest and analyze. Considering that he purports to run a truth-telling campaign, however — “I’m willing to tell Americans the hard truth. And I believe Americans are ready to hear it” — Pawlenty’s claims about growth are a little off-key.
He suggests that 5 percent annual economic growth is possible with his policies. Maybe it is — the U.S. has certainly grown that fast before. But the plain truth is that the president is simply unable to guarantee 5 percent growth, or even any growth at all. The truth is that the direction of the economy is largely out of the president’s control (c.f. the Romer-Bernstein unemployment chart).
Also, promising all kinds of tax cuts (as Pawlenty does) is easier when your plan includes the huge increase in tax revenues that would come with 5 percent growth. It’s a lot harder when you have to plan for anemic growth.
Edited for clarity.