On Sunday’s broadcast of ABC’s “This Week,” former Republican Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean sparred over how to handle the looming fiscal cliff deadline.
Pawlenty, now CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable, spoke on the financial services sector’s behalf.
“Well, the financial services part of the economy as well as the economy more broadly wants to avoid the cliff,” Pawlenty said. “We don’t want a ‘Howard Dean scream’ as the country bungee jumps into the cliff.”
However, he said a deadline might be what it takes to reach a final solution.
“You’ve got to have moments in politics people get their backs up against the wall to do something big but you don’t want to overplay your hand,” Pawlenty continued. “Speaker Boehner came out early … and said, ‘Look, I’ll raise revenues and by the way, I’ll also increase the debt ceiling.’ In that moment there was a signal that perhaps a bigger deal could have been done and then it fell apart. But there was an acknowledgement that the debt ceiling would go up by Speaker Boehner. There was an acknowledgement that revenues would go up by Speaker Boehner, so the one wing of the plane you feed to fly over the cliff was being constructed pretty nicely on that side. But the other side, the real structural changes and entitlements never materialized.”
Dean argued that going over the fiscal cliff isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“You see I think the smart thing to do here is go over the cliff and then do a big deal, then wrap the debt ceiling, the cliff, the tax rates, the cuts all into one big deal,” Dean said. “It’s going to take some time, but I think you can — if you go over the cliff, you reduce the debt ceiling problem by $600 billion, so the debt ceiling gets postponed some more and should give you enough time to do the deal. I think that’s the way to go. Obviously you can’t let us go over the cliff on the debt ceiling. That’s a much more serious problem. This is really not a cliff. We call it the fiscal curb, which is really what it is.”