(CNN) - President Barack Obama's expansion of the federal government into the financial sector is likely to have "devastating" effects in the long term, former Vice President Dick Cheney said in his latest salvo directed at the new White House administration.
In an interview on Fox News - portions of which aired Tuesday night - the former vice president said he is "very concerned" about where the Obama administration is taking the country economically.
"I worry very much that we're in a situation now where there doesn't appear to be any limitation whatsoever in terms of the spending commitments that this administration wants to make," he said. "Vast expansion in terms of the deficit, but it also says a lot about what they intend for the role of government in this society."
White House officials have predicted the country's deficit will soar to $1.75 trillion this year, after the administration's efforts to bail out troubled financial companies and stabilize the nation's flailing economy. Obama has also pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term, a promise critics doubt is possible to keep. (Related: Obama defends budget as essential to recovery)
But beyond rising deficits, Cheney said he is concerned the administration is fundamentally "redefining that relationship between government, on the one hand, and the private sector on the other."
"I'm one of those people who believes that part of the greatness of the United States is our private sector. "It's what we do as private citizens for ourselves and our companies," he said, later adding, "I think we have to be very, very cautious. I think we've gone beyond what reasonably we could expect by way of intrusion into the private sector."
Cheney's comments are only the latest in a string criticisms he has publicly aired in recent weeks about the administration that succeeded his, though they appear to be his harshest words to date about the new president's economic policies.
Cheney's comments have led to criticisms from Obama aides that he is confounding his role as an elder statesman, but, in the interview with Fox News, Cheney said people should not be surprised he is speaking out.
"I've been criticized because I've had the temerity to speak out and done a couple of interviews since I left office. I don't find anything surprising about that," he said. "I don't say - I've been careful not to get personal in terms of my criticisms for my comment, but I think the issues are simply too important for the future of the nation for us to operate as though those of us who disagree somehow shouldn't speak out and be heard. I think we need to be heard."
As for Cheney's contention of the detrimental effects of government expansion into the economy, Americans appear split on the issue, with 35 percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll conducted earlier this month saying that government involvement has gone too far. Forty-two percent felt the increased government involvement in big business was about right, and 23 percent said Washington had not gone far enough.