-Drastic, sustained growth over several years like Pawlenty was talking about as an “aspiration” is generally associated with rapid industrialization in poorer countries. The U.S. is well past that point. Thus, not only is Pawlenty an idiot, I’d even go as far as to say anyone claiming to be able to touch such a rate (5% annual GDP growth over ten years), regardless of what policy they propose to do so, is effectively saying they can ice-skate uphill.
-To “progressives” talking about more stimulus, a question: if the economy requires, as you assert, regular infusions by a 3rd party to keep going, then what does that say about the structure of it? The way the U.S. runs, a few gigantic players run everything, and if they don’t go gangbusters we’re all screwed…and this is worth keeping alive? If it weren’t for the concentration your predecessors accepted as part of the managerialist state, things would worked out differently — and I would say for the better.
Growth for its own sake is meaningless: where is the growth? What is driving it? Does everyone have access to it? If an economy were merely numbers, then the Broken Window fallacy would actually make sense, and people could have a perpetual prosperity machine based entirely off of taking turns digging holes and promptly refilling them. If there’s mass starvation while off in the corner a calculator goes nuts on meaningless numbers, failure is still failure. The point is to sustain life, and maybe have some nice things once the keys have been covered.