Mitt Romney embarked on a trip to Europe this week that begins with a stop in the United Kingdom, where Romney will both attend the London Olympics and meet with top British officials, including Prime Minister David Cameron. But being in Europe hasn’t stopped Romney from taking potshots at the continent.
During an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams, Romney warned that America’s current path will make it end up like Europe, which is stuck in economic doldrums (according to a transcript provided by NBC):
BRIAN WILLIAMS: And when Mitt Romney arrives in Washington, how will Washington be any different from the Washington we’ve seen these past few years, which any American will tell you is hopelessly broken, busted?
MITT ROMNEY: You know, all I can say is that I got elected governor of a state that was 87% Democrat. And it was not lost on me that if I went around attacking the Democrat leadership, I was gonna get nothing done and none of my vetoes would be upheld. And I began a relationship with the speaker of the House and the Senate president that was personal. We respected each other. We often disagreed. But we found common ground from time to time. That has to happen. There has to be a president that buries the hatchet and says, “We’re gonna go to work to try and get America on track.” We — we’re at a critical time in this country. If we keep going down the path we’re on, we’re gonna end up like Europe or worse.
This is a common critique that Romney makes, claiming that President Obama is “taking us down a path towards Europe.” However, he conveniently ignores that his policies closely align with the austerity that’s been adopted across Europe, which has unnecessarily blunted economic growth. In fact, the European governments that have embraced austerity the hardest have seen their economies contract the most.
As this chart shows, the U.S. is doing better in terms of economic growth than both the Eurozone and the United Kingdom, where Prime Minister David Cameron has embraced austerity:
The UK has not only contracted for three straight quarters, but the UK economy is now smaller than it was before Cameron’s conservative government came into power. This follows Cameron’s $130 billion of budget cuts, and warnings from Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer that further austerity may come after the current package expires. And Romney’s penchant for the spending cuts included in, for instance, the House Republican budget, would likely lead to a similar outcome.