Q Where does the money come from for additional job training and for additional education?
CHAIRMAN HUBBARD: Well, it ultimately comes from the American taxpayer. And --
Q So how do you figure that out when you're also trying to cut non-discretionary spending -- how do you reallocate what's already there?
CHAIRMAN HUBBARD: Well, the President is going to mention in his speech that in our most recent budget we eliminated and dramatically cut over 90 programs in government. I can tell you he -- we've just been through the budget process with Josh Bolten, the President has, and Josh and OMB are aggressively looking at other ways to cut spending and to make sure that we are allocating spending to the highest priorities, where we get the most bang for the buck, and cutting unnecessary spending. And holding spending, the growth of spending. You know, the growth of non-security, discretionary spending has dropped every year that the President has been in office. It was actually negative last year. Obviously, I'm not going to preempt what the budget is going to say for this year, but I can assure you the President -- and I've been in meetings where he's made it clear to Josh and the budget team that it is important to keep spending under control.
Now the biggest challenge, and the President is going to mention it today, are entitlements -- you know, Social Security, Medicare -- because the growth of entitlements are really contributing the bulk of the growth in government, even today. It's a significant problem today. And the problem is going to grow bigger and bigger. And entitlements are growing faster than the economy, and they're growing on a non-sustainable pace. And that's why we have got to address them. That's why the President made it -- made a big push on Social Security last year. Unfortunately, the Democrats were not willing to come to the table. But he's not going to walk away from that, because, unfortunately, it's a problem that's not going to go away until it's addressed by government leaders.
Q As interest rates go up this year, and consumers face higher energy costs, that's going to sap the economy of one of its main growth engines. What's going to be the catalyst for growth this year?
CHAIRMAN HUBBARD: Well, the business investment -- the forecasts on business investment are quite healthy for '06. There's an enormous amount of opportunity for business expansion. And the consumer, despite the so-called savings rate, which is a very technical term, is really in quite good shape. I mean, the net worth -- the household net worth is at an all-time high; it's up 22 percent over when the President came into office, and it's at $51 trillion. Consumer debt is at a reasonable level, and we expect the consumer to continue to be a source of stimulation for the economy.
Q Thank you.
Okay, one final thought, but does anyone check the numbers on these bastards? Remember, there are three kinds of lies: 1) lies, 2) damn lies, and 3) statistics.
P.S. I started looking at the President's speechifying from today and found more proof their numbers don't included ever increasing military budget - which I think is a rather powerful indicator as to how they use statistics to manufacture their own truths. Pay particular attention to the term "non-security discretionary spending."
Now, our budget has two kinds of spending -- it's called discretionary spending, and mandatory spending. And thanks to working with the Speaker and others, we've shown real progress on being fiscally wise when it comes to discretionary spending. We've now cut the rate of growth in non-security discretionary spending each year since I've been in office. Last February, my budget proposed an actual cut in non-security discretionary spending. It's the most disciplined budget proposal since Ronald Reagan was the President.