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.
I added the emphasis at the end of the Romney quote, but to echo Cenk Uyger… OF COURSE! It’s like Romney is wondering why there is any question about slashing the budget during a recession, because the outcome is so obviously bad for the economy. So why has Romney and the rest of the Republican freak show been so vociferous in condemning and stalling Obama’s budget policy in this recession?
Maybe it is because Obama has slowed the growth of deficit spending at the greatest rate of any president since Ronald Reagan. In fact on a term by term basis, the most profligate Democratic president since Reagan has contributed less growth to the deficit than the most fiscally “conservative” Republican president in the same time frame. And deficit growth under Obama is less than half that of the next most “conservative” fiscal term, under Clinton.
Jonathan Chait credits Republicans with being overtly political in discovering the virtues of fiscal restraint when a Democrat is president, but going with full out Keynesianism when Republicans hold the office. In fact Chait believes electing Romney will do more to help the economy than re-electing Obama, but not because Romney’s economic policies are better than Obama’s. Rather Republicans in congress would be more supportive of Romney Keynesianism than anything Obama proposes to help the economy. Plus Chait believes Democrats would allow a Romney stimulus to proceed because we are not heartless bastards who are happy that the economy is struggling out of naked political consideration while our fellow Americans are having a hard time.
As David Frum tweeted: “We’re all Keynesians during Republican administrations.” Now it seems Romney is a Keynesian even before his administration. Go figure.