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Tim Pawlenty's plan to revive the US economy: the 'Google Test'

Pawlenty offered a new spin on the classic spending-cuts idea: If Google can identify a private-sector provider of any good or service, the government should get out of that business. By invoking Google, he hopes to snatch media attention from the antics of Trump, Palin, and Weiner.

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Taxpayers would be subject to a “simpler, fairer, flatter” tax system, with just two rates, 10 percent and 25 percent, depending on household income. An individual earning up to $50,000 or a joint income up to $100,000 would pay 10 percent. Income above that would be taxed at 25 percent. Those who currently do not pay income tax would still pay nothing.

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Pawlenty would eliminate taxes on capital gains, interest income, dividends, and estates.

Speaking just a stone’s throw away from where President Obama used to teach, the Minnesotan went after the president for playing what he called “class warfare.”

“Elected with a call for unity and hope, he spent three years dividing our nation,“ Pawlenty said. “He’s been fanning the flames of class envy and resentment all across America to deflect attention from his own failures and the economic hardship they have visited on America.”

There’s no doubt that Americans are feeling the economic hardship that Pawlenty noted, and that Mr. Obama is facing blame from voters for his handling of the economy. An ABC News/Washington Post poll out Tuesday shows 59 percent of Americans fault Obama on his economic performance, an all-time high for his presidency.

For Pawlenty, the most important aspect of his Chicago economic speech may simply be that he put out a plan, making him the first GOP contender to release a detailed policy proposal of the 2012 cycle. Most voters don’t absorb the details of multipart candidate plans.

But at some point, if Pawlenty is going to catch on, there needs to be a spark with voters.

“He’s doing everything right,” says Fergus Cullen, a former GOP chair in New Hampshire. That means accepting invitations to appear before ready-made audiences in early primary states, and keeping his name in the news.

“Something tells me Pawlenty gains w all the hype & drama around Palin & Trump,” former George W. Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer tweeted last week. “Sometimes slow & steady does win the race.”

So far, it’s not happening. But then, it’s still early.

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