Echoing arguments made by Obama administration officials in recent weeks, former GOP front-runner Mitt Romney said Tuesday that cutting government spending would hurt the economy.
In response to a question about the Simpson-Bowles deficit plan, Romney said that simply cutting spending would actually wind up slowing economic growth unless it is paired with tax reform. (RELATED: Full coverage of the Romney campaign)
“If you just cut, if all you’re thinking about doing is cutting spending, as you cut spending you’ll slow down the economy,” he said at one point, according to NBC News. “So you have to, at the same time, create pro-growth tax policies.”
Fiscal conservatives were quick to jump on Romney’s comments and deride his knowledge of economics.
“It’s hogwash,” Club for Growth Vice President Andy Roth told NBC. “It confirms yet again that Romney is not a limited government conservative.”
“The idea that balancing the budget would not help the economy is crazy. If we balanced the budget tomorrow on spending cuts alone, it would be fantastic for the economy,” he continued.
Romney spokesman Ryan Williams, however, told The Daily Caller that Romney was trying to make a somewhat more nuanced point, and that the former Massachusetts governor understands that spending cuts are “crucial to economic growth and job creation.”
“The Governor’s point was that simply slashing the budget, with no affirmative pro-growth policies, is insufficient to get the economy turned around,” Ryan said.
Romney is set to unveil a new economic plan later this week in advance of next Tuesday’s crucial Michigan and Arizona primaries.