Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, in a rare moment of candor during a campaign even in Michigan:

“If you just cut, if all you’re thinking about doing is cutting spending, as you cut spending you’ll slow down the economy.”

Romney’s comment was quickly walked back by his campaign, presumably because as Paul Krugman rightly notes, Romney is running a campaign of “almost pathological dishonesty.”

While Mitt Romney’s campaign may have attempted to walk back their candidates comments about austerity as a means of deficit reduction, if current economic events are any indicator, austerity simply doesn’t seem to be effective in stimulating economic growth. Let’s take a look at what’s going on in Ireland and Greece, two countries that implemented austerity programs as a way to cut their deficits.


According to a report from international lenders, Ireland, which is entering the second year of an austerity plan implemented to reduce the country’s deficit on the heels of an international bailout, will suffer a sharp slowdown in growth this year. According to the report, the Irish economy is projected to grow only about 0.5 percent this year, significantly lower than a previous forecast of 1.1 percent growth, and high unemployment and shaky consumer confidence appear to be in part to blame for the lower than expected growth.


In Greece, the austerity plan proposed by that countries leaders (as well as international leaders) has led to rioting by citizens. Among the proposed austerity measures are a 22 percent cut in the country’s general minimum wage (with a 32 percent cut in the minimum wage for workers under 25 years of age), and other spending cuts totaling 1.5 percent of Greece’s gross domestic product this year. According to Reuters, Greece’s austerity program will lead to economic contraction of 4-5 percent in 2012 and 2013, with economic recovery hoped to begin in 2013.

“If you just cut, if all you’re thinking about doing is cutting spending, as you cut spending you’ll slow down the economy.”

At least Mitt Romney’s finally being honest and admitting that cutting spending will slow down the economy, and an economic slowdown is the last thing our economy needs right now.

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One Response to Mitt Romney on deficit reduction: “as you cut spending you’ll slow down the economy.”

  1. Dave Reid says:

    I think you left one off the list… Wisconsin.

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