GOP Presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty has been all over the place when it comes to his position on raising the nation’s debt ceiling. He has said that failing to raise the debt ceiling would be good for the economy, endorsed Republican attempts to raise it only as long as cockamamie budget plans are attached, but then refused to rule out raising it were he to become President.
However, Pawlenty’s debt ceiling fickleness reached new heights today during an interview with CNBC. Literally twenty seconds after telling CNBC’s Steve Leisman that “I wish they wouldn’t raise” the debt ceiling, Pawlenty said that the debt ceiling does, in fact, have to be raised:
LEISMAN: So you favor default by the United States? Is that what you’re saying? Under any circumstances you would not raise the debt ceiling without sufficient spending cuts?
PAWLENTY: They’ve already gone through the debt ceiling, they went through it in May, so I’m saying I wish they wouldn’t raise it, but if they’re going to raise it, at least get some structural reform and improvement so we’re on a better trajectory going forward.
LEISMAN: But Governor, hold on the other side here. Are you saying you are willing to accept default and/or breaching the debt ceiling in the absence of sufficient spending cuts?
PAWLENTY: No, I think they’re going to have to raise the debt ceiling, but what I’m saying is if they do that, as they do that, they should get some structural reform.
Pawlenty has, of course, changed positions on several key issues, including cap and trade, but this interview must surely set a record for Pawlenty’s quickest change of heart regarding policy. It’s worth mentioning that the tax cut plan Pawlenty has proposed would be three times more expensive than the Bush tax cuts and “by 2021, under Pawlenty’s plan, total publicly held debt would exceed 100 percent of GDP — over $24 trillion,” obviously necessitating a substantial increase in the debt ceiling.