Mike Leavitt as Governor

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Mitt Romney has chosen liberal Republican Michael Leavitt to lead his presidential transition team. A lot of commentary focuses on his “Obamacare-lovin” proclivities.

Leavitt also has a government-lovin record as governor of Utah from 1993 to 2003, according to Cato’s biennial Fiscal Policy Report Cards. Cato graded Leavitt five times, and his scores were pretty dismal:

2002: D

2000: D

1998: C

1996: C

1996: C

In the reports, Steve Moore and coauthors say such things as “Leavitt is a big spender extraordinaire” and “Leavitt has shown time and again that he is to the left of his party.”

Leavitt apparently favored lots more school spending, and opposed school vouchers.

The Cato reports also say that Leavitt supported a few paltry tax cuts, but blocked larger tax cuts from the legislature, while pushing for higher taxes on Internet users, cigarette consumers, and automobile owners through higher gas and car fees.

This is not good. Whether an administration chooses between pro- and anti-market policies many hundreds of times during its tenure depends upon the people chosen at the highest levels by incoming presidents. Even Ronald Reagan had many “enemies within” his administration that undermined his generally smaller-government approach to policy. Romney appears to be no Reagan, so liberals within his administration would probably have even more free range to cause trouble.

See here for Cato’s Fiscal Report Cards.