Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney says the US economy needs "dramatic" measures to recover from a deep recession, but not another federal stimulus package.
"I can absolutely make the case that now is the time for something dramatic and it is not to grow government," the multimillionaire former businessman and investor said in an interview that aired on CNN's State of the Union.
Romney, who is challenging President Barack Obama in November's election, said that instead, he would rather create "the incentives and the opportunities" for big and small businesses to increase hiring.
The former Massachusetts governor favours lowering individual and corporate tax rates, slashing government spending and easing regulations on energy companies to help make America energy independent by 2020.
He has predicted that his economic plan would lead to 12 million new jobs created by the end of his first four-year term, something he told CNN would be a "normal process" of economic recovery.
"When you come out of the kind of recession we've had, you should see this kind of creation," he added in the interview conducted Saturday in Evansville, Indiana.
"We should be seeing 200, 300, 400,000 jobs a month to regain much of what has been lost. That is what normally happens after a recession, but under this president, we have not seen that kind of pattern."
The White House hopeful blasted President Obama's tax plan, which would allow tax cuts to expire for people who earn more than US$250,000 a year, saying it would "kill jobs".
"The great majority of small businesses pay taxes at the individual rate. So as he raises these taxes 'on the wealthy', he's raising taxes on small business," he said.
Romney said he was concerned about middle class Americans, who "need our help with good jobs", not the wealthy, who "are going to do just fine, whoever is elected".
Top Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs fired back, saying it's "hard to get millionaires and billionaires to get rid of their tax breaks".
"In order to give the rich tax breaks, (Romney) is going to raise taxes on middle class families," the former White House press secretary told CNN, adding: "That's not me saying that; that's the (non-partisan) Tax Policy Center saying that this week."
He insisted that Obama's policies have worked.
"There's no doubt we are better off than we were four years ago," Gibbs said.
"Are we where we need to be? Absolutely not. Nobody thinks that.
"We have worked hard to move this economy forward. And we can't go backward and try the idea that Mitt Romney wants, which is more tax cuts for rich people."
Obama has slammed Romney's "fairy dust" tax cuts in a television attack ad, claiming that his rival would swell his own wealth while sticking the middle class with the bill.