Q Is the President going to ask for permanent tax cuts when we have such deficits that are rising so incredibly?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, tax cuts are part of the solution. It's out of control spending that has been part of the problem that you bring up, and that's why the President has continued to lead and advocate spending restraint within the budget. And Congress has changed the path that our budget is heading on by moving forward on initiatives that he outlined to --
Q Taking it out on food stamps --
MR. McCLELLAN: -- address mandatory spending and reduce the growth of discretionary spending, and it's important that we continue moving in that direction. But we are a nation that has been at war. We are a nation that has had to address unanticipated challenges, like the recovery and rebuilding along the Gulf Coast. And, you bet, we're going to continue to meet the needs when it comes to winning the war and --
Q But why give permanent tax cuts to the richest people?
MR. McCLELLAN: -- we're going to meet the needs when it comes to the people of the Gulf Coast as they work to rebuild their lives and their communities. That is something the President is strongly committed to.
Now, in terms of keeping our economy growing, and keeping our budget on path to cut the deficit in half, we need to continue to keep that economy growing, we need to continue to exercise spending restraint. And tax relief has helped us lay the foundation of a strong economy. We're creating jobs -- 4.6 million new jobs created since May of 2003; 400,000 in just the last two months. It's because of the policies that we have pursued that our economy is growing.
And if you look back over the last few years -- and, Helen, I would encourage you to do this -- the revenues have come in much higher than anticipated. Many people said that we'd pass tax cuts and that it would have the opposite effect. Well, it didn't turn out that way. Tax cuts are good to keep our economy growing. It's important that we make the tax cuts permanent. You bet, the President is going to continue advocating for that. The worst thing we can do to our economy right now is raise taxes on working families and the American people. As I pointed out last week, it would be a $1.3 trillion tax hike on the American people and working families if we let those tax cuts expire.
Q You're contemplating $40 billion to $50 billion in cuts for food stamps, scholarship grants, everything that affects the poor.
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I disagree with that. We're making sure that -- the President has talked about this on a number of occasions. The government has a responsibility to make sure that we are meeting the needs of our neediest Americans, and we're meeting the needs of people with disabilities, and we're meeting the needs of the elderly. That's why this President worked to pass Medicare reform. And now seniors are starting to realize significant savings on their prescription drug cost. And we will continue working to make sure that those priorities of the neediest Americans and our elderly are met.
What will we get? More leadership by faith instead of facts, I see. The days of "trust us and we will do right by you" are over for the W, Rove and Co. Just ask the folks trying to navigate successfully through their Medicare & Medicatebenefits.
Millions of low-income people would have to pay more for health care under a bill worked out by Congress, and some of them would forgo care or drop out of Medicaid because of the higher co-payments and premiums, the Congressional Budget Office says in a new report.