19 September 2007

Cheney the Sphynx

There is a lot that I like about Dick Cheney. He is very intelligent, a strong speaker, and doesn't mince words. In this op-ed from today's Wall Street Journal, the Vice-President shows his diplomatic side in his answer to some of the criticisms made in Alan Greenspan's new book. An excerpt:

Alan tells of his first meeting with then President-elect Bush on Dec. 18, 2000, at the Madison Hotel in Washington. I recall this breakfast meeting very well, especially Alan's comments on the state of the economy. The Fed chairman told the president-elect and our team that America faced the real possibility of a recession in the wake of the collapse of the late 1990s technology sector bubble. Alan's prediction proved correct: In the final months of the Clinton administration, the nation began an economic slowdown that turned into a recession...

The combined effects of recession and national emergency could have been devastating for America's economy. Yet President Bush's tax cuts--following through on a promise he had made to the voters--resulted in a shallower recession, a faster recovery, and a platform for growth that remains sturdy to this day. The fact is that in a time of unprecedented challenge, the United States has experienced nearly six years of uninterrupted economic growth and added more than eight million new jobs since August 2003--more than all other major industrialized nations combined.

The economic growth encouraged by the president's tax cuts is now producing sharply increased federal tax receipts--up by nearly 15% in fiscal year 2005 alone, nearly 12% in fiscal year 2006, and projected to rise nearly 7% in the fiscal year that will end this month. That is the highest growth in tax receipts in consecutive years since 1981. As a result, tax revenue as a percentage of our economy is now above the 40-year historical average. Under the circumstances, it's pretty hard for anyone to argue that the American people are under-taxed. Even at a lower rate of taxation, the hard work and productivity of Americans is generating more tax dollars than ever before.

He addresses Greenspan's criticism of the Bush Administration's spending. To me this is a very valid contention. I'm never comfortable with deficit spending. The poor fiscal discipline of the past 6 !/2 years is tempered by 9/11 and increased international commitments, but I do think the government could have done more to limit spending.

I should note that many media outlets have taken some of Greenpan's statements out of contextm particularly regarding the Iraq War. That may be a topic for another day.

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