After positioning himself as the candidate of tough choices, Tim Pawlenty drew widespread ridicule from experts across the political spectrum on Wednesday for his wildly optimistic economic plan.
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Pawlenty unveiled his platform at a speech in Chicago, a combination of tax reforms and budget cuts that he said would yield an explosive economic recovery. The centerpiece of his proposal was setting a goal of 5% economic growth per year for a decade.
"Growing at 5% a year, rather than the current level of 1.8%, would net us millions of new jobs," he said. "Trillions of dollars in new wealth. Put us on a path to saving our entitlement programs. And balance the federal budget."
But a group of former CBO directors, who are chosen by Congress to analyze the budget from a nonpartisan perspective, are lambasting the number, saying it's completely out of line with any mainstream assessment of the American economy.
"The trend growth rate is not going to be 5% in the United States," Douglas Holtz-Eakin, director of the CBO under President Bush and a top GOP advisor, told TPM. "The market just doesn't support that. It just doesn't."