Former Vice President Dick Cheney is a conservative Republican and foreign policy hawk, but also someone who famously said “deficits don’t matter” at a 2002 economic policy meeting to discuss a second round of the Bush tax cuts, which further-exploded America’s red ink when enacted in 2003.
So it’s jarring to hear him slam Barack Obama for America’s deficit having grown in the two years since he took office, as he did on Fox News Sunday this week:
I disagree with him on a great many issues. I supported John McCain and I did not support Barack Obama when it was time to make that choice in 2008. I think he has been not very effective frankly, especially in the economic arena. I think we are faced with terrible economic problems today and huge long-term debt problem that’ measurably worse on his watch and serious, serious unemployment problem, millions of Americans out of work and in spite of a lot of bold talk, we haven’t seen the kind of action that is required to get the economy moving again and restore growth and hope and prosperity that all of us depend upon.
To be sure, the deficit has increased as Obama enacted a stimulus program to prevent a total collapse of the economy and inject demand into the private sector when it was desperately lacking. But for Cheney to suddenly decide that we have a “huge long-term debt problem” under this Democratic president is alternately puzzling and outrageous.