At the same time, while warning of the consequences of spiraling federal debt, the book cautions against deficit reduction as an immediate goal, saying tax increases and spending cuts in the short term could strangle growth. “Reducing the debt is critical,” Mr. Glassman wrote in the book’s introduction, “but growth comes first.”
Of course, Mitt Romney told me the same thing, when I interviewed him in May:
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’d do it in a way that does not have a huge reduction in the first year, but instead has an increasing reduction as time goes on, and given the growth of the economy, you don’t have a reduction in the overall scale of the GDP. I don’t want to have us go into a recession in order to balance the budget. I’d like to have us have high rates of growth at the same time we bring down federal spending, on, if you will, a ramp that’s affordable, but that does not cause us to enter into a economic decline.
Seems like a pretty good consensus as someone deals with the Fiscal Cliff in January from the Oval Office.