Republican presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty offered up an innovative way to cut government waste and spending last week.Â He called it the “Google Test.”
“We can start by applying what I call ‘The Google Test,’ he said, according to CNN Money.Â “If you can find a good or service on the Internet, then the federal government probably doesn’t need to be doing it.”
Needless to say, you can find every conceivable good or service via the Internet.Â And Pawlenty certainly left himself an out with the word “probably.”Â But he did give a few concrete examples of what he would rid the government of (and he was correct, you can find all of these things if you google them).
He said that the U. S. Postal Service, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and the Government Printing Office should all be cut.Â He noted that those organizations “were all built for a time in our country when the private sector did not adequately provide those products. That’s no longer the case.”
Craig Jennings, director of federal fiscal policy at OMB Watch, a budget watchdog group, allows that Pawlenty’s approach was an “interesting strategy.”Â But he also noted that one could find investigators online as well as private labs that test food products — so does that mean that the FBI and the FDA should be done away with?
Perhaps a “Google Test” should be done on Tim Pawlenty.Â If we googled the former Minnesota governor, what would we find?
First, we might find that as governor, Tim Pawlenty was not the economic wizard he would want voters to believe he is. He left the state of Minnesota with a $5 billion deficit.Â According to John Avlon’s investigations at The Daily Beast, not only did he detract from the previous governor’s headway in returning the state to a more secure bond rating status, but he also repeatedly cut personal taxes while allowing property taxes and “user fees” to increase by $2.5 billion.Â When asked if Pawlenty had actually left the current governor a deficit of $5 billion, the Minnesota Taxpayers Association answered with a direct, “Yes.”
Then we might find that as a presidential candidate that he’s rather good at wordsmithing.Â Besides the “Google Test,” he came up with “Obamneycare,” which he shared with Fox News to describe President Obama’s national health care reform and its ties with his competitor for GOP presidential nomination, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, and the health care legislation passed when he was governor.Â However, when confronted by CNN’s John King during the New Hampshire Republican Presidential Debate on Monday, Pawlenty hedged and equivocated, saying he was only using the president’s characterization of his health care reforms.Â Romney stood there the entire time with a smug look on his face while Pawlenty squirmed verbally.
So if you can google these things about potential Republican nominee Pawlenty so quickly, by using his own test, does that mean that the government probably does not need to be involved with him?