President Bush said Wednesday he was open to "across-the-board spending cuts" in the federal budget to help trim the deficit and still pay for hurricane assistance.
"We don't have to put our plans to cut the deficit on hold," Bush said in a speech to the Economic Club of Washington. "We have to reduce unnecessary spending in the budget."
Bush said he was working with congressional Republicans for "significant reductions in mandatory and discretionary spending." Some conservative lawmakers have been taken aback by the level of spending of the Bush administration, including recent projections of up to $200 billion in aid to help the Gulf Coast and New Orleans rebuild after Hurricane Katrina.
"I encourage Congress to push the envelope when it comes to cutting spending," Bush said.
In a wide-ranging speech on the U.S. economy that touched on everything from Social Security to health care, Bush was relentlessly upbeat, saying his pro-growth policies have worked to keep the economy strong even with such challenges as the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a recession and the bursting of the stock market bubble.
Pro-growth? Strong economy? Which U.S. is he living in again?
Oh, the one where rich folks shift the burden for the massive (and growing) federal deficits onto the lower income brackets, and where programs that aid the poor are ripe targets for cutting/abolishing/privatizing. That U.S..