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Liberal group blasts Pawlenty's economic plan

The Democratic-leaning Center for American Progress today denounce Tim Pawlenty's economic plan as "patently ridiculous," saying there is absolutely no way the former Minnesota governor's plans would cure the country's economic woes.

"It's just radical to say the least," said Michael Ettlinger, the group's vice president for economic policy. "The tax cuts for the richest millionaires, billionaires, and corporations are really breathtaking."

As NBC's Lauren Selsky noted earlier, Pawlenty's plan would overhaul the tax code, reducing the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15%, closing loopholes, eliminating special interest handouts, and creating a fairer and flatter tax system overall. But Ettlinger and Michael Linden, the center's tax and budget policy director, claim these measures only worsen the debt crisis. Linden estimated Pawlenty's proposal to exempt all income from capital gains and dividends would cost more than $1 trillion in revenue over the next 10 years.

Both Linden and Ettlinger say Pawlenty's remedies are inadequeate, because his revenue projections overestimate how much the economy can grow. Pawlenty projected that the economy, under his leadership, would be able to by 5%. But during the economic expansions of 1983-1987 and 1996-1999, the economy never grew above 5% annually -- let alone over 10 years.

"Historically, it's never happened," Ettinger said. "But if pigs had wings, they'd fly. If we had 20% economic growth a year, we'd be done with the deficit in six weeks."