Tag Lines vs. The Truth

A couple of posts by Nebraska Patriot about Ben Nelson reminded me of a post I started in June, but never completed.  Nebraska Patriot is right.  It is important to hold Nelson’s feet to the fire regarding his involvement in the stimulus bill.  Judging from the steady stream of press releases following passage, Nelson is pleased with his work, which has directed some $1.7 billion in federal stimulus dollars to the State of Nebraska. 

All of the press releases include this tag line:

Senator Nelson played a key role in the passage of the $787 billion stimulus bill. He worked with a bipartisan group of nearly 20 Senators to better focus The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on tax cuts for the middle class and job creation for millions of Americans. Senator Nelson led the group to go through the initial bill line by line, dollar by dollar, to reduce spending and cut out $108 billion of inefficient or less-stimulative spending. The bipartisan group helped the improved bill win congressional approval. President Obama signed it into law February 17, 2009.

Every time I read it, I feel dizzy and nauseus from the spin.  Apparently, we’re supposed to forget the details.

A “…bipartisan group of nearly 20 Senators…”  Bipartisan?  Really?  Three Republicans were on board – Collins, Snow, and Specter – the squishiest RINO’s out there.  Hell, Specter isn’t even a Republican any more!

Define a tax cut.  Not a tax credit.  A tax cut.  They are not the same thing.  [Related articles here and here.]

How’s that job creation thing working out?  “jobs, jobs, jobs“, remember?  Obama stated that unless the Stimulus bill was passed, unemployment would reach 8%. 

Remember this doozy from Obama, back in February when the unemployment rate was 7.6% unemployment:

“If we drag our feet and fail to act, this crisis will turn into a catastrophe. We’ll continue to get devastating job reports like today’s month after month, year after year,” Obama said grimly.

Nelson engaged in a little fear-mongering himself:

…I fear if we delay–waiting to see if another plan emerges and can win 60 votes needed for Senate approval, or another six months to see if economic conditions get worse–it may be too late. Today’s economic problems could mushroom, engulfing our nation in a crisis that could take years or decades from which to recover.

The bill was passed, and unemployment for July was 9.4%.  The White House is now prepping for 10% unemployment.  

Unemployment in Nebraska was 4.9% in July 2009, off a fraction from the 5% rate in June.  While we’re well below the national rate, Nebraska hasn’t had unemployment rates this high since the mid-1980′s. 

Nebraska_Unemployment_Rate_Jul09

So Nelson and his Jobs Squad “worked long and hard, going line by line, dollar by dollar, to reduce spending from the original bill. We’ve trimmed the fat, fried the bacon, and milked the sacred cows.  The savings to the American taxpayers is $110… ”  How much of that went right back in the bill during the next phase?   Plenty.    For all of their careful cost-cutting, the final Senate version came out $7 billion higher than the House version.  That’s Nelson’s idea of cost-cutting?

Nelson’s “bipartisan group”, helped win final congressional approval.  Anyone remember how the final vote came down in the House?  How many Republicans in Congress supported the final Stimulus bill?  Zero, zilch, nada, not a one.   How about the Senate?  Three RINOS: Collins (ME), Specter (PA), and Snowe (ME).  The Senator has an odd view of bipartisanship.

Perhaps Nelson’s staff should revise the tag line.  Here’s what I suggest:

Senator Nelson played a key role in the passage the $787 billion Generational Theft Act. He worked with nearly 20 senators, including three token Republicans, to give the appearance of fiscal responsibility and genuine concern for Americans. Their line by line, dollar by dollar, reading  resulted in a final bill that was $7 billion more the House version.  Much of the inefficient or less-stimulative spending was restored, including  funding for the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research, which will help pave the way for nationalized health care.  An effort to provide true tax relief for Americans was cut from the bill, resulting in the appearance of a smaller bill, obscuring an increase in overall spending.  The faux-bipartisan group helped the improved bill win congressional approval, largely along party lines.  President Obama signed it into law February 17, 2009.  Let the spending orgy begin!

If Senator Nelson wants to take credit for helping pass the Generational Theft Act, he must also take his share of the blame for its inevitable failure.

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