Tim Pawlenty Addresses Federal Spending

Helen Whalen Cohen

5/25/2011 4:50:00 PM - Helen Whalen Cohen

All that you need to know about federal spending, you can learn from going to two weddings, according to Tim Pawlenty. Go to one with an open bar, and one with a cash bar, and see how people behave.

The former Minnesota governor and possible opponent of President Obama spoke at the Cato Institute, touching on federal spending, deficits, public sector unions and defense. "We need to be clear about telling the truth about what we are up to and about getting the federal government under control", he told the crowd.

"The government takes in 2.2 trillion dollars each year and spends 3.7 trillion. You've got 2.2 trillion coming in the door and 3.7 going out the door...you can't run a family or a business like that."

He noted that it is time to become a "common sense country" again, instead of one that is corroded by excessive government, and that the only way to do this is to address pretty much every third rail issue out there. "We have to go to our sacred cows, such as Wall Street", he explained. "We have to shut off those subsidies. No more handouts, carve-outs or subsidies." The same goes for ethanol subsidies in Iowa and Medicare in Florida. After being asked about Paul Ryan's budget, the former governor said it was 'positive', but his would address Medicare and Social Security.

Pawlenty is no stranger to making difficult cuts. As governor, he oversaw a 44 day public transportation strike, after refusing to renew a contract that included a generous retirement package after 15 years of work. The union leader told him that a strike would reflect poorly. Pawlenty responded by going to town hall meetings and explaining the benefits to every day taxpayers. When they heard what they were subsidizing, they didn't like it one bit.

Gov. Pawlenty told the crowd that making America prosperous again would not be easy, but then again, neither was landing a man on the moon wasn't easy and becoming the most free, most prosperous country in the world wasn't either.

And the former governor just might have what it takes to get us there.