Let's call them "the Cheney cuts."
Today, when the Senate split 50-50 on a budget stealing money from people just scraping by and transferring it to the wealthiest Americans, it took Dick Cheney, recalled from Afghanistan, to cast the tie-breaking vote. In order to pretend to be cutting the deficit, the Republicans partially compensated for their tax cuts for millionaires by cutting Medicaid, Medicare, Student Loans, Food Stamps... you know, all that Katrina-type welfare that makes people so dependent on government handouts.
It's an unexpected holiday gift that the Vice President has given us: he's put a human face on "compassionate conservatism." That crooked mouth, that Ebenezer snarl, that hearty Halliburton shake of jowl: he could hardly suppress his satisfaction at tipping the balance.
Of course, it's not really the balance. If you add up the number of people represented by the 50 Senators who voted against this reverse-Robin-Hood Republican budget, you'd actually have a majority of Americans. But in our system, cattle and sheep can count more than kids and seniors.
In honor of the Vice President's return from Kabul in time to kill Christmas, it would be a lovely tribute if students who can't get loans explain their predicament by citing the Cheney cuts. Or: "I wanted to go to college, but Dick Cheney told me to go f-- myself." The nurse, at a patient's bedside: "Vice President Cheney says we have to send you home." The supermarket clerk, counting the single mother's food stamps: "Well, if you Cheney the diapers and the dog food, you'll have enough to pay for the rest."
So maybe it lets Bush, Frist & DeLay off the hook. But I think the country needs something appropriate to remember Cheney for. You know: like Hoovervilles.