Curt Clawson to retry Connie Mack’s unsuccessful Penny Plan

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If at first you don’t succeed … have Curt Clawson give it a shot.

Congressional hopeful Clawson announced Saturday he would be merging his recommended federal economic spending plan with the failed budget-balancing “Penny Plan” put forward three years ago by former four-term U.S. Rep. Connie Mack.

Clawson is running for Southwest Florida’s 19th Congressional District, facing popular conservative State Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto and former State Rep. Paige Kreegel in the April 22 GOP primary. The general election is June 24.

Joining Clawson and Mack on stage at a Saturday conference to announce newly reformulated economic ideas were a number of Tea Party activists, including Byron and Erika Donalds, Mike Giallombardo, among others.

At the same time, Clawson announced another 30-second digital ad to promote his Economic Growth Plan/revised Penny Plan, which was then known as the One Percent Spending Reduction Act of 2011.

Mack’s proposal, which received 70 conservative co-sponsors, was a one-percent reduction in federal spending each year. If implemented across all programs, said economists, the plan would have cut $211 billion in Medicare, $1.124 trillion in Social Security and $2.89 trillion in defense by 2022.

Almost immediately, critics denounced the plan as a “rhetorical gimmick to force such cuts while pretending to make only modest adjustments.” The bill died in committee in May 2011.

The Clawson Economic Growth Plan targets a federal growth rate of five percent, achieved in several challenging ways:  focusing government policy on economic growth, simplifying the tax code, imposing a “budget discipline” in Washington D.C. (much like the Penny Plan), limiting federal regulations and pushing “real” healthcare reform.

“We released a very detailed economic growth plan to bring about 5 percent economic growth that would lead to 22 million new America jobs, increased household income, and reduced taxes,” Clawson said in a statement. “The Clawson Economic Growth Plan is the right plan for growing our economy, and now we also are teaming it up with the Penny Plan so that we can cut government spending and balance the budget.”

Clawson’s plan is now available online, and the latest digital ad is on YouTube.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.