Transcript: Debate excerpts – Mitt Romney on reducing the deficit

Edited by Jenny Jiang

Excerpts from Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s remarks on reducing the federal deficit at the first presidential debate held at the University of Denver, Colorado on Oct. 3, 2012:

“I think it’s not just an economic issue, I think it’s a moral issue. I think it’s, frankly, not moral for my generation to keep spending massively more than we take in, knowing those burdens are going to be passed on to the next generation and they’re going to be paying the interest and the principal all their lives.

“And the amount of debt we’re adding, at a trillion a year, is simply not moral.

“So how do we deal with it? Well, mathematically, there are three ways that you can cut a deficit. One, of course, is to raise taxes. Number two is to cut spending. And number is to grow the economy, because if more people work in a growing economy, they’re paying taxes, and you can get the job done that way.

“The presidents would — president would prefer raising taxes. I understand. The problem with raising taxes is that it slows down the rate of growth. And you could never quite get the job done. I want to lower spending and encourage economic growth at the same time.

“What things would I cut from spending? Well, first of all, I will eliminate all programs by this test, if they don’t pass it: Is the program so critical it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it? And if not, I’ll get rid of it. Obamacare’s on my list.

“I apologize, Mr. President. I use that term with all respect, by the way…

“I’m sorry, Jim, I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually like you, too. But I’m not going to — I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for. That’s number one.

“Number two, I’ll take programs that are currently good programs but I think could be run more efficiently at the state level and send them to the state.

“Number three, I’ll make government more efficient and to cut back the number of employees, combine some agencies and departments. My cutbacks will be done through attrition, by the way.

“This is the approach we have to take to get America to a balanced budget.

“The president said he’d cut the deficit in half. Unfortunately, he doubled it. Trillion-dollar deficits for the last four years. The president’s put it in place as much public debt — almost as much debt held by the public as al prior presidents combined…”

“…The revenue I get is by more people working, getting higher pay, paying more taxes. That’s how we get growth and how we balance the budget. But the idea of taxing people more, putting more people out of work, you’ll never get there. You’ll never balance the budget by raising taxes.

“Spain — Spain spends 42 percent of their total economy on government. We’re now spending 42 percent of our economy on government. I don’t want to go down the path to Spain. I want to go down the path of growth that puts Americans to work with more money coming in because they’re working.”

###

Learn More: