During an interview with Time Magazine’s Mark Halperin, 2012 presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney admitted that drastic spending cuts will hurt the economy, creating a “recession or depression”:
HALPERIN: You have a plan, as you said, over a number of years, to reduce spending dramatically. Why not in the first year, if you’re elected — why not in 2013, go all the way and propose the kind of budget with spending restraints, that you’d like to see after four years in office? Why not do it more quickly?
ROMNEY: Well because, if you take a trillion dollars for instance, out of the first year of the federal budget, that would shrink GDP over 5%. That is by definition throwing us into recession or depression. So I’m not going to do that, of course. What you do is you make adjustments on a basis that show, in the first year, actions that over time get you to a balanced budget.
This, of course, is the point that progressives have been making in response to the House Republican budget, which Romney supports. According to estimates from the Economic Policy Institute, the cuts in the House GOP budget — authored by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) — would cost the economy 4.1 million jobs over the next two years due to the $400 billion in spending cuts for which it calls. As Esquire’s Charles Pierce, who flagged this particular exchange in the interview, wrote, “didn’t Romney, in saying that, pretty much blow up the entire rationale for over 30 years of Republican economics right there? Cutting government spending will throw us into a recession or depression?”
Europe is already struggling under the weight of austerity, with its economy contracting at the fastest pace in three years. Romney seems to understand the effect that cutting the budget indiscriminately in the short-term will have, yet he’s backing a budget that fails to acknowledge it.