The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller

Pawlenty: Government is like a wedding with an open bar

Speaking at the Cato Institute Wednesday on the subject of reducing the size of government, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty called for a freeze of public employee salaries and benefits until they were on the same level as the private sector.

To illustrate his point, Pawlenty offered this piece of wisdom to his audience: “All you really need to know about much of government reform,” he said, “is to go to two weddings.”

“Go to one wedding where there’s a cash bar,” he said, expanding on the metaphor. “And then go to another wedding where there’s an open bar. And you’ll see two very different sets of behavior. And If people have the impression that things are free, and they get to consume it endlessly, and the provider has the only incentive to provide on volume, and the myth or the lie is created that the bill goes somewhere else and that a third party pays for it, that is a system that I can tell you is doomed to failure and inefficiency. And that’s much of our government, unfortunately.”

Pawlenty, continuing his ‘telling the hard truth’ tour that began Monday in Iowa when he announced his candidacy for president and called for the phasing out of ethanol subsidies,  said it was necessary to freeze salaries and benefits for public employees, excepting military, in order to reduce the deficit.

“We can’t have the people who are getting paid by the taxpayers getting paid better than the taxpayers themselves,” he said.

He said that the government should continue the pay freeze that President Obama instituted, but stressed that public employee compensation couldn’t just be measured in salary. “We have to look at the total package – both salary and benefits added together,” he said.

That freeze should stay in effect, he said, until public sector employee salaries and benefits were more on par with the compensation of private sector employees in comparable positions.

He was adamant, however, that deficit reduction would not come at the expense of one area: defense.

“I’m not one who’s going to stand before you and say we should cut the defense budget,” he said.

“I’m not for shrinking America’s presence in the world. I’m for making sure America remains the world leader.”

He said he would address entitlement reform – including health care, Medicare, and Social Security. Though he commended Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan for his leadership in putting forward a plan to deal with some of these issues, he said that he planned to write his own blueprint for reform.

“I’m going to have my own plan. Some things will be the same, some things will be different,” he said. For instance, he said, his plan “will address Social Security.”

He also used his forum Wednesday to take a jab at President Barack Obama. He commended Paul Ryan for taking leadership when, he said, leadership from “the president was missing.”

In a press gaggle after the presentation, Pawlenty said that he planned to release a budget plan soon, and that in that budget plan he would look into cutting unnecessary federal agencies, something he did on the state level during his tenure as governor of Minnesota. To begin with, he said, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be on the chopping block. Though not federal agencies, Pawlenty said that since they basically subsisted on federal funds, they would need to be “phased out” and “privatized.”

  • Pingback: Pawlenty Understands Incentives, Except When It Comes to Defense | Cato @ Liberty

  • teapartypatriot

    “Pawlenty Compares Federal Spending to Open Bar”

    A bit old-fashioned – I’d compare it to states with “medical” pot vs states that control harmful and illegal substances. The federal government – especially under “You Lie!” hussein and 5+ TRILLION OF DEBT CREATOR crazy pelosi – is clearly STONED OUT OF ITS MIND.

  • bigdave

    Obama and dumbocrats, like the evil CLINTON, before him, with their cohorts in perverted HOLLYWEIRD have combined to DESTROY those “EVIL AMERICAN CORPORATIONS” through taxation and regulation, especially those which REFUSED THE PARASITIC UNIONS, they went overseas!! Taking MILLIONS OF JOBS WITH THEM! Don’t blame’em a bit! What FOOL would want a UNION THUG to waltz into his company, started with his own blood, sweat and tears AND MONEY, and DECLARE “THE UNION IS NOW IN CHARGE AND WE WILL HIRE AND DETERMINE PAY FOR WORKERS”?! EVIL COMMUNIST “COLLECTIVES” CALLED UNIONS!!

  • onecitizen

    I like Pawlenty, but he’s going to have to cut defense spending. Nobody will take him seriously on cutting the budget if defense isn’t also cut.

    Even the most hawkish of Republicans understand that defense spending will need to be reduced. Especially considering that the 2012 President will have scaled back wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We won’t be fighting two major ways anymore (hopefully).

    Cut 20% out of the defense budget and you might get the cuts you want elsewhere.

    • bigdave

      Spoken like a cluless moron! What about ENTITLEMENT GIVEAWAYS to ILLEGALS and other IMMIGRANTS!! Do you even know that ILLEGALS IN THIS COUNTRY DEVOUR OVER ONE TRILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR IN EDUCATION COSTS, HEALTHCARE, CHILDBIRTHS and WELLBABYCARE, EMERGENCY ROOMS, WELFARE, FOOD STAMPS, GRAFITTI ELIMINATION, MONTHLY PAYMENTS OF $2000 EACH STRAIGHT OUT OF SOCIAL SECURITY(and they never paid a dime into it!!!!!), HOUSING FOR ILLEGAL CRIMINALS, INSURANCE COSTS FROM ILLEGALS VANDALLIZING PRIVATE PROPERTY AND THEFTS….and this is just from “illegals”!!! OBAMA’S SACRED VOTERS!! You clowns need to wake the heck up!

  • bigsigh

    The Dems will paint him as an evil, in the pocket of corporate america Republican. Wish the truth would sell, but I doubt it. I do hope he addresses healthcare, until then, it will be almost impossible to make any changes to Medicare and/or Medicaid. Seems the Republicans, in general, have completely forgotten they were planning to deal with the disaster of Obamacare. I’m still waiting to hear the Republicans plan. Until the gov’t and unions stop manipulating wages and the cost of living it will also be hard to make real changes to SS. Unfortunately, he is right about his wedding analogy and a large portion of Americans don’t even understand self-reliance. Think about the things you hear people say….if they can get over on the gov’t they do. I rarely hear anyone turn down gov’t “help”. That goes for all walks of life. I see a “everybody else does it” attitude. When have you ever heard someone talk about saving the gov’t (taxpayers) money in real life?

  • Pingback: Pawlenty: Government is like a wedding with an open bar @ 2012 Presidential Election Year

  • Hayek

    I’m beginning to pay more attention to this guy.

    • SteveM

      Too bad Pawlenty is a bellicose Neocon war-monger. Pointless Wars budget for this year? $119,000,000,000.

      He’s a FAIL.

  • notalone

    Good for him for taking the tough issues head on. Doesn’t seem to be a lot of stomach for it but hope the megaphone gets bigger – I think it will or at least I hope it will.

  • timzank

    I’ll give T-Paw credit, he’s addressing the right things in the right way, he just doesn’t have a big megaphone to do it with. Maybe he will, I hope he or SOMEONE does.

  • Melanie

    Pawlenty appears to be a very pleasant, capable man.

    But I will not be voting for him as I question his judgment. I don’t know whether he will stick to conservative policies when under pressure as he has caved on other things in the past.