Cheney Slams 'Out of Whack' Obama Budget Plans

ABC News' Matthew Jaffe reports: Former vice president Dick Cheney continued his recent verbal assault on President Barack Obama’s policies, denouncing the new administration’s budget plans as “way out of whack.”

“I think the budgets he submitted are way out of whack,” Cheney told CNBC’s Larry Kudlow in an interview. “I think what it does not only to the short-term deficit but long-term debt situation is very objectionable.”

The administration’s deficit for the current budget year is expected to hit a record $1.8 trillion, mainly due to the government’s efforts to rescue the country from its current recession, such as the Wall Street bailout and the stimulus package.

The administration has recently stepped up the efforts of the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve, with a flurry of programs to get bad assets off of banks’ balance sheets, jumpstart lending to consumers and small businesses, and stop the housing crisis.

Peter Orszag, director of the Office of Management & Budget, wrote on his blog that the deficits “are driven in large part by the economic crisis inherited by this administration.”

The Bush regime inherited a $127 billion budget surplus, but set five record-high budget deficits in seven years and left office with the national debt over $10 trillion.

According to former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, Cheney once told him during a cabinet meeting, “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.”

Despite the increases in the near-term future, President Obama has pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of his term.

However, in recent weeks the ongoing crisis has prompted worries that the United States might lose its AAA credit rating. The concerns come after rating agency Standard & Poor’s warned Britain that its perfect rating could be in jeopardy due to the country’s rising debt.

Cheney said there was reason to worry that the United States’ credit standing could be downgraded.

“That’s got to be of concern,” he warned.

Last week, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the administration was more focused on fixing the economy than worrying about credit ratings.

“We’re not concerned about a change in our credit rating,” Gibbs said last Friday. “What the President is focused on and has been since coming into office was getting in place a recovery plan that will create jobs and get this economy moving again. Short term, the way to bring down the deficit is get this economy moving again. Medium to long term, we have to get our fiscal house back in order, and that’s why the President was pleased that Congress passed a budget that cuts the deficit in half in four years.”

--Matt Jaffe

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