Pawlenty dances with the Tax Fairy

The non-partisan Tax Policy Center released an independent analysis of Tim Pawlenty’s massive tax-cut plan yesterday. While estimates on the price tag vary, the TPC found that the Republican presidential hopeful is proposing $11.6 trillion in tax cuts over the next decade, nearly all of which would benefit the richest of the rich. No, that’s not a typo.

But don’t worry, Pawlenty says. By dramatically reducing government revenue, he’ll magically increase government revenue. Here’s the argument the confused former governor offered on Fox News yesterday:

“Keep in mind, whether it be the Bush tax cuts, the Reagan tax cuts, or other tax cuts, they always produce an increase in revenue. There’s no dispute about that…. We don’t have to guess what will happen to revenues if we do bold tax cuts, and mine are amongst the boldest in the modern history of the country. We saw that the revenues increased dramatically because of President Reagan’s tax cuts, same with Kennedy, same to significant extent under President Bush the second. So it’s not a question of whether revenues are going to go up. They will.”

Yep, Tim Pawlenty believes in the Tax Fairy.

This comes up from time to time, but the incessant stupidity of the claim is bordering on pathological. The argument is straightforward: cutting taxes grows the economy, which means individuals and businesses will make more money, which means they’ll pay more in taxes. Voila! Cutting taxes brings in more revenue!

Except this is idiocy. Pawlenty believes — or at least pretends to believe — that “there’s no dispute” about this, but he has it backwards. The very idea has not only been proven false repeatedly, the argument itself is so ridiculous that no credible economist — not even conservative economists — takes it seriously. Even the Bush administration — the most fiscally irresponsible in American history — rejected it as nonsense. Even Paul Ryan — the Ayn Rand-loving, right-wing chairman of the House Budget Committee — doesn’t believe it.

Tim Pawlenty started the race as the dull former-moderate. He’s now making the transition to the not-terribly-bright crank who spews demonstrable gibberish on Fox News. It’s proving to be painful to watch.