Archive for September 16th, 2009

Ben Nelson follows the money again.

Sep 16, 2009 in Disappointing Dems, Health Care

Hey, Nebraska, thanks for this guy:

Many Senate Democrats, noticeably lacking in anything approaching party unity, have proudly stepped up with promises to scuttle several elements of President Obama’s budget, including some that would cut federal spending by billions of dollars.

“The most emblematic objection has come from Nelson, who is balking at Obama’s plan to save money on college loans. You might suppose that a fiscal conservative like Nelson would agree with Obama’s plan to save $4 billion on a social program,” Chait wrote. “But he does not, for reasons that provide a useful window into the rot afflicting the congressional Democratic Party.”

He referred to Nelson’s opposition to a plan that would eliminate billions of dollars in federal support for private companies, such as NelNet in Lincoln, which make student loans. Several studies have shown the government’s program of direct loans and grants is more efficient, could provide more dollars for students and would save billions of taxpayer dollars.

NelNet has consistently been among the largest contributors to Nelson’s political campaigns. The depth of that support was reported by the New America Foundation in July of 2007.

Politico.com noted Tuesday that Nelson has objected to the plan because NelNet employs 1,000 people and could go out of business if the Obama plan were enacted.

“I think it would be the wrong direction for people to outsource jobs from Lincoln, Nebraska to Washington, D.C.,” Nelson said. “It’d be pretty hard for me to vote for it he way it is.”

Chait was merciless in his assessment.

“Obama thus proposes to save the taxpayers more than $4 billion per year by ending the guaranteed loans. This is as straightforward a case as you can find of a fight between special interests and the public good. Nelson opposes it because one of the lenders that benefit from federal overpayments is based in Lincoln …”

We can’t save $4 billion dollars because of 1000 people employed in Nebraska. That’s $4 million per person.

Quite a lot of bang for the 48,000 bucks they donated to his campaign, eh?

Ah, but this guy waffles on health care reform because he’s concerned about “costs.” Not the insurance, pharma and other health care industries that put a million bucks in his coffers.

Nebraskans, please send a simple message to Ben Nelson: You’re an incumbent, virtually guaranteed re-election anyway. Get off the fatcat gravy train, let the grassroots raise your money for you, vote on principle, and you’ll be safely re-elected.

The old ways cannot sustain us.

-jb