Tim Pawlenty: “No Sacred Cows” on Spending—Except the Pentagon

Flickr/Gage Skidmore

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


On the friendly turf of the libertarian Cato Institute, Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty reiterated his plan today to tackle America’s debt problem by freezing federal pay, slashing wasteful subsidies, and shrinking the federal government. Bemoaning that the government borrows 40 cents for every dollar it spends, Pawlenty said, “You can’t run your families like that, you can’t run your businesses like that, and we certainly can’t run the government like that. There can’t be any more sacred cows.”

Well, perhaps just one: the bloated US defense budget, which according to the National Priorities Project’s Chris Hellman has reached as much as $1.2 trillion a year. Of that, tens of billions of dollars are lost to graft, waste, and useless programs, according to numerous government and media reports. “I’m not one who is going to stand before you and tell you we should cut the defense budget,” Pawlenty told the Cato audience.

Republicans refusing to touch the defense budget, despite their tough talk on slashing spending, is a time-honored tradition. But it flies in the face of reality. After all, each of the various deficit commissions—the president’s, Esquire magazine’s, you name it—recommend substantive cuts to the DoD’s budget. So much for “no sacred cows.”

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate