House Budget Commitee chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) says that his plan to slash government spending on programs for the poor while increasing defense spending and giving tax cuts to the wealthy would actually "prevent austerity."

NBC's David Gregory on Sunday pointed out that the debate over whether slashing budgets would grow the economy was not just happening in Europe, but in the U.S. as well.

"This question of austerity in Europe, they had failing economies, nearly depressed economies," Gregory told Ryan. "The answer throughout the region was to slash their budgets. Has it failed?"

"No, David," Ryan replied. "I would say they've also raised taxes. This is a cautionary tale of what happens when politicians who make a lot of empty promises end up running out of the ability to borrow money at cheap rates and now they are broken promises. It's a cautionary tale of what will happen to us if we stay on the path we are on."

"What we're saying is let's get on growth and prevent austerity," he continued. "The whole premise of our budget is to preempt austerity by getting our borrowing under control, having tax reform for economic growth and preventing Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid from going bankrupt. That preempts austerity."

"The president, his budget, the fact that the Senate hasn't done a budget in three years puts us on a path to European-like austerity. That's what we're trying to prevent from happening in the first place."

The budget plan Ryan unveiled earlier this year aimed to cut spending by privatizing parts of Medicare, slashing Medicaid programs for the poor by $810 billion, spending 38 percent less on transportation and 33 percent less on education than the Obama administration has proposed.

The White House has said that Ryan's budget would also "shower the wealthiest few Americans with an average tax cut of at least $150,000."

Watch this video from ABC's This Week, broadcast May 20, 2012.