ThinkProgress filed this report from a campaign event in Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Former Massachusetts gov. Mitt Romney (R) acknowledged on Friday that not raising the debt limit would be an “emergency,” but when asked what it would take for him to agree to raise it, he cited a crank economic policy that has been called “the worst idea in Washington,” even by a former Republican adviser.
Romney’s “line in the sand,” he said, was an agreement from President Obama to cut and cap federal spending and pursue a Balanced Budget Amendment:
QUESTIONER: If you were president of the country today, what would you do about the deficit?
ROMNEY: Three things, because we have this emergency coming up with the debt ceiling–
QUESTIONER: [...] Do you think we should raise the debt limit, and if yes, why do you call it a limit?
ROMNEY: The answer for the country is for the president to agree to cut federal spending, to cap federal spending,and to put in place a balanced budget amendment. And that is the answer for the country. [...] It is within, in my view, the president’s power to say to the leadership in the House and the Senate, “I will cut spending, I will cap spending, I wil pursue a balanced budget amendment.” And if the president will do those things, this whole issue will disappear.
Insisting on the BBA would all but assure the “emergency” Romney warns about, as the plan clearly could not pass Congress. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) admitted as much Friday, implying that the House GOP’s pursuit of the BBA was an act of political theater.
And not raising the debt limit would, indeed, be an emergency for the American economy. Social Security checks could be delayed, government services would be interrupted, and the current economic slump would get worse.
As ThinkProgress’ Pat Garofalo has noted, though, the Balanced Budget Amendment would also have negative implications for the American economy — both in the short-term and the long-term. Not only would it require sharp spending cuts immediately, it could hamper the government’s efforts to stem economic crises down the road.
Romney’s 2012 pitch is that he has more economic credibility than President Obama, and is thus better suited to lead America to economic recovery. But instead of proposing credible alternatives, Romney insists on signing unreasonable pledges and embracing ideas that would only serve to make both current and future economic troubles hurt even more.