Cheney’s Enormous Tea Bags: Now He’s Worried about Deficits?

“I worry that we’re seeing a situation or this administration not only committing us the huge deficits for the future, but is also redefining that relationship between government, on the one hand, and the private sector on the other.”  - Cheney

In 2002, when Dick Cheney was putting together plans for another round of tax cuts for the wealthy, Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill tried to dissuade him, noting that in less than a year the administration had already turned the $400 billion Clinton surplus into a $158 billion deficit.


Cheney’s reply would become infamous. “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter,” he said, according to O’Neill’s account of the exchange.

The second round of tax breaks sailed through the GOP Congress, of course. And while the cuts did increase the wealth of the super-rich, once again they failed to “trickle down” on the middle class.

Five years later, in January 2007, Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz predicted with uncanny accuracy that Bush’s economic policies had placed the country on a road to ruin:

Up to now, the conventional wisdom has been that Herbert Hoover, whose policies aggravated the Great Depression, is the odds-on claimant for the mantle “worst president” when it comes to stewardship of the American economy. Once Franklin Roosevelt assumed office and reversed Hoover’s policies, the country began to recover. The economic effects of Bush’s presidency are more insidious than those of Hoover, harder to reverse, and likely to be longer-lasting. There is no threat of America’s being displaced from its position as the world’s richest economy. But our grandchildren will still be living with, and struggling with, the economic consequences of Mr. Bush.

The economy did collapse, of course — in late 2008, just months before Cheney and George Bush left office. Writing in January 2009, Joseph Lazzaro, editor of, laid the blame at the Bush administration’s feet, citing tax policies that favored the rich, along with Bush’s failure to build on Pres. Clinton’s earned income tax credit program for lower income workers; low job growth (Bush created fewer jobs than any president since Herbert Hoover); the refusal of Bush and Cheney, who had ties to the oil industry, to develop an energy policy; and, of course, not least because of the massive budget deficits:

At the end of President Clinton’s presidency, the federal government was running a yearly budget surplus, and the national debt was about $6 trillion. At the end of President Bush’s presidency, the federal government will run a record budget deficit of more than $1 trillion this year, fiscal 2009, and the national debt has grown to $10.6 trillion.

In short, Bush’s tax cut massively benefited upper income citizens at the expense of both squandering the budget surplus achieved during the Clinton presidency and jeopardizing the nation’s financial health.

Now, in his latest semi-regular appearance on Fox News, Cheney says he’s worried about the economy, particularly — get this — deficit spending:

CHENEY: [In] the course here of trying to fix the downturn in the economy, that admittedly a lot of people are concerned about, we need to address — although we have had downturns before — I worry that we’re seeing a situation or this administration not only committing us the huge deficits for the future, but is also redefining that relationship between government, on the one hand, and the private sector on the other.

And I think we have to be very, very cautious. I think we’ve gone beyond what reasonably we could expect by way of intrusion into the private sector.

Of course, what went unsaid in this bit of chicanery is that it was the policies of Cheney’s administration that put the country into its current dire predicament.


If there is good news here it’s that Cheney — whose approval in the polls hovers around 30 percent — has become, according to Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson, his “party’s most toxic asset.” Along with Karl Rove, George Bush’s former chief propagandist, Cheney has the least credibility of anyone on the public stage this side of Joe the Plumber, the 2008 election phenom who was not a plumber and whose name was not even Joe.

Former vice presidents usually fade away. But as long as Cheney and Rove continue to make headlines every few days, their desperate attempts to rewrite the history of their administration’s failures will undoubtedly backfire by keeping public attention focused backwards on their eight years in power and just how bad things were then.

During the Fox News interview, Cheney had to put in a plug for the network’s recent promotional campaign on behalf of the Republican Party:

I thought the tea parties were great. I think when you get that kind of grassroots sentiment being expressed, thousands of people, hundreds of thousands of people all across the country, that will have an impact on Capitol Hill. It will have an impact, I think, on the political process. And it’s basically a healthy development.

Since the teabagging events were paid for by corporate lobbyists allied with the GOP, they were astroturf, not “grass roots” — and, yes, a total nationwide crowd of 250,000 is technically “hundreds of thousands,” as in two “hundreds.” But is bizarre to hear the old autocrat cheering on crowds taking to the streets.

Whatever else there is to say about Dick Cheney, you gotta admit, the guy’s got enormous tea bags.

Read the original article at Pensito Review

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