Column Date 2005-12-14

V.P. Cheney Admits Taking Second Job

WASHINGTON, D.C. The White House today released a statement from Vice-President Dick Cheney confirming that he has been working at a second job for the past several years.

Rumors about Cheney’s second job have consistently swirled around the Vice-President since he was inaugurated, and his practice of periodically vanishing from public view for days and sometimes weeks at a time only added fuel to the fire.

The VP admitted that he has held a night job for almost two years, working as Assistant Production Manager on the night shift at the “Healthy Spoonful” ice-cream company in nearby Alexandria, Virginia.

While no details about his pay were released, the company’s owner, Charles “Chuckie” Bascomb III, a conservative businessman and a major contributor to the Republican Party, is known for his view that no worker he has ever met is worth more than the minimum wage. (The current Federal minimum wage is $5.15 per hour. In the District of Columbia, however, the rate is set by law at $1.00 higher, making it $6.15 per hour. For his 40 hours of night work, the Vice-President would earn $206, before taxes.)

According to a senior administration official, Mr. Cheney was forced to take a second job due to the extraordinarily high cost of living in Washington, D.C., as well as fears of rising inflation.

“Living here is a stretch for him and his family, even on his Vice-Presidential salary of $192,600,” the official commented, “and remind your readers that this salary is a fraction of what he’d make in any corporation in America.”

“But don’t get me wrong: the Vice-President is not complaining. He’s just doing what millions of other middle-class Americans have done when faced with rising expenses and a fixed income. We think this shows his solidarity with the working men and women of America.“

Financial planners agree that it is especially important for Mr. and Mrs. Cheney to build up a nest egg for their future, since Mr. Cheney will be out of a job in four years and his wife is currently not working.

The Vice-President said he began looking for a second job shortly after he and his family moved to Washington. They were shocked and awed at the cost of living in the Capitol.

And when the Secretary of the Treasury casually mentioned at dinner that living in Washington would cost him 27% more than living back in Cheyenne, Wyoming, he made up his mind.

The Cheneys said they were elated when President Bush’s tax cut bill was passed by Congress, giving the “Healthy Spoonful” company a $365,000 tax refund which allowed them to add another worker.

“There were several hundred applicants and I was delighted that my managerial experience strongly qualified me for the assistant night manager position. I think I had a good job interview, too,” he said.

The only cautionary note came from the Vice-President’s personal doctor, who had urged him to look for a different job, concerned that constant exposure to Chunky-Chocolate and Super-Buttery Pecan would be contraindicated for Mr. Cheney’s heart condition.

©2004 Peter Tannen