Q (Robert Weiner, Weiner Public News, national columnist) Why are tax cuts so much of a mantra when it didn't create jobs over the last decade and 40 percent of the stimulus was tax cuts? And do you agree with Senator Reid's news conference yesterday that oil subsidies and farm subsidies could be alternative ways to cut the budget? And thirdly, is Social Security off the table, now that people are starting to realize that not a dime of the deficit comes from Social Security and it's fully paid for 30 years?
MR. CARNEY: We believe that the tax cuts that this President has proposed and supported and signed into law have had a very positive impact on the economy. The ones that were included in the Recovery Act helped us get out of a situation where this economy was experiencing dramatic negative growth -- it was shrinking; where job loss was as high as 740,000 or 750,000 a month -- to a situation now where we have real economic growth and real job growth, and have had for a sustained period of time. And we think that the payroll tax holiday, the payroll tax cut that every American received as a result of the tax cut deal, the bipartisan tax cut deal that was reached in December, which the President signed, has had a salutary effect on growth in this quarter.
So we think they are part of the package. And I would remind you that this President has passed something on the order of 14 or 17 small business tax cuts. So they are part of the puzzle.
When you talk about the broader -- it is true that, as I think our budget director has said, that Social Security is not the problem when it comes to our near-term deficits, our annual deficits. It is, however, an issue in terms of its long-term solvency and health. And this is a vital program that we intend to make stronger as we address the overall issue of entitlement reform.