by Scott Hall
Governor Pawlenty is about to show America how to make government smaller. Until now, Republican leaders since Reagan have said government was the problem, not the solution. But once in power, they haven’t been able to follow through even though they had majorities in both houses of Congress. Now, big debt and a bad economy may get them to the promised land. It won’t be pretty, but politics really is a messy grind, like making sausage.
In the days and weeks ahead, Pawlenty will cut three billion or more in state spending. He’s betting that county and city governments, schools and hospital districts, have just about exhausted their capacity to tax property or raise other taxes and fees, and they will have to innovate – merge, dissolve, combine services – in short, be more efficient. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It may make us think harder and clearer, not only about what we expect from government, but whether we want to pay for it and, if so, how. Not necessarily a bad thing either. Again, it won’t be neat and clean, but many Republicans think that’s the kind of tough love we need to get back to what made America great. This will make Pawlenty popular with the kingmakers in his Party. It looks like a good strategy for the Governor. Not sure about the rest of us...
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