NTF Issue Paper: nelsonb5.doc.  3-09.

NEBRASKA TAXPAYERS FOR FREEDOM ISSUE PAPER:
SENATOR BEN-OCCHIO NELSON VOTES FOR OBAMA PORKULUS PACKAGE.

Sen. Ben Nelson (D.-NE.)U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., is raising concerns about the economic stimulus package. (AP Photo)

Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, boasted that Republicans and Democrats would gut the almost $900 billion President Obama Porkulus Bill of items that he said will not stimulate job growth.[1] Nelson charged that the preliminary bill was too loaded with wasteful spending, so he met with Republicans to discuss cutting waste, a group dubbed the "job squad" by Obama.[2]  “It is a jobs bill,” Nelson declared, “and today you might call us the jobs squad.”[3]  "We trimmed the fat, fried the bacon, and milked the sacred cows," Nelson said as debate began.[4]  He pledged to slash wasteful spending from the bill, so that moderate Republicans and Democrats would more likely vote for it. He supposedly scrubbed the bill of spending that did not narrowly target job and economic growth. Nelson said, "Our goal is to have a bill that is both bipartisan and effective.”[5]  His “squad” determined to cut $100 billion from the stimulus bill. Among his targets: $1.1 billion for health-care research into what actually is cost-effective. An aide explained that, in the senator's opinion, there is "some spending that was more stimulative than other kinds of spending."[6]  "I'm very committed to making sure that we get it scrubbed clean of many of these programs," assured Nelson.[7]

February 9, 2009 –Senator Ben Nelson delivered these comments on the Senate floor:
“I rise today to take action.  For action is what is demanded by this American, and global, economic crisis…and I worked with 12 Democrats and 6 Republicans to cut and tailor our bipartisan compromise, so it focuses like a laser-beam on tax cuts for the middle class and job creation for millions of Americans. “While it certainly is easier to stay on the sidelines, it is our responsibility as members of Congress to American taxpayers to approve a recovery plan that is tailored, targeted, and lean.”  However, his plan left unchanged $87 billion in Medicaid pork to states, and  the cuts his group found were reductions in new spending, not actual cuts. 

February 10, 2009 – Senator Nelson released a statement following his vote to pass the Porkulus Bill in the Senate: “Taxpayers also must get the most bang for the buck.”

February 13, 2009 – Senator Nelson delivered this statement on the Senate floor shortly before the Senate voted again on  the Porkulus Bill:   “This plan is a vast improvement over the first proposal considered several weeks ago. I and a number of colleagues came together to work across the political aisle with a shared goal: scrub as much pork, non-stimulative spending and fat as possible from the bill to focus it sharply on saving and creating millions of jobs.”

The following are many of the Porkulus Bill items for which Sen. Nelson voted, expenditures, etc. that supposedly will help taxpaying Nebraskans.  See which items (if any) will help you and your family:

Welfare:

·         The bill gives states more incentive to keep people on welfare with its massive hike in welfare spending. Total spending for welfare cash, food, housing, and medical care for the welfare crowd is over $260 billion, 1/3 of the bill costs, and about $6,700 in new welfare largesse for each poor person.  The 10-yr. cost in new welfare spending will total $800 billion, $22,000 for each poor person.

·         $89 billion more for Medicaid.

·         Loosened Medicaid eligibility standards.

·         Nebraska will gain an additional $300 million in Medicaid help to subsidize childrens’ health care in families earning up to 200% of the federal poverty guideline.  State taxpayers must contribute 28% in matching funds.

·         Additional Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds.

·         More funds for Supplemental Security Income.

·         Expansion of food stamps by $20 billion.

·         Suspends the 3-month limit for non-working able-bodied adults to collect food stamps.

·         Welfare recipients no longer must work for their welfare checks.

·         Billions in old-fashioned welfare spending will undermine the very successful welfare reforms of 1996, thus discouraging folks from working and encouraging more and permanent dependence upon government largesse.

·         No cap on federal welfare dollars sent to states.

·         $1.5 billion in grants to states and private groups to alleviate homelessness.  Recipients can use up to 5% of a grant for administrative overhead costs! 

·         $15 billion for subsidized housing and ecological renovations of welfare housing.

·         $6.2 billion for subsidized weatherization of homes of those whose incomes are 200% above the poverty level.

·         Subsidized housing $$ will fund the radical ACORN group, which conducts fraudulent voter drives to register Democrat voters.  Recall that ACORN, whose activists Barack Obama trained, pressured banks to grant risky loans to people who could not repay them, thus helping to create our present mortgage crisis.  Federal and state law enforcement is investigating ACORN in several states for its fraudulent activities, including voter fraud.  Meanwhile, ACORN will receive billions to push its radical agenda, buy votes, and fill its piggy bank.

·         $7.2 billion for expanding Internet connections for the poor.

·         $75 million to convince smokers to quit.

·         $36 billion for extended unemployment benefits.  $25 more per week each.

·         $25 million for Indian tribe alcohol and drug abuse prevention.

Taxes:

·         Expansion of the earned income tax credit for those with 3 or more kids and who pay no federal income taxes. This program is one of the largest anti-poverty subsidies.

·         A refundable tax credit of $500 to poor, able-bodied adults who pay no federal income taxes.

·         Welfare families would have more access to the $1,000 child tax credit, though they do not pay federal income taxes. 

·         Nebraska taxpayers will gain a $13 federal income tax credit per week this year; only $8 next year.  Singles making over $75,000 yearly or couples earning over $150,000 yearly will not get this tax credit.

·         A married couple with 2 kids earning $35,000 annually will save $1,200 on their 2009 taxes, according to a Deloitte Tax analysis.

·         Illegal aliens with legal or phony Social Security numbers will receive Obama tax rebates.

·         Of the $838 billion package, only $280 million constitutes tax cuts.

·         Parents with children in college will get tax credits up to $2,500 to help pay tuition and related expenses only in 2009 and 2010.

·         First time homebuyers will see a tax credit of up to $8,000 only for this year.

·         People who buy new cars only in 2009 can deduct the sales taxes from their taxable income.  No deduction for car loan interest.

·         Small businesses unable to operate profitably could use their losses to offset profits made during the previous 5 yrs. instead of 2, making them eligible for tax refunds.  No such preference for successful businesses!

·         Businesses restructuring debt from losing operations can delay paying taxes for 5 yrs., then spread payments over the next 5 yrs.

·         Businesses purchasing equipment like computers can speed up depreciation only through 2009.

·         Tax relief to small businesses totaled only .28%, though such businesses created 60-80% of net new jobs yearly for the last decade.

·         Only 25% of the bill concerned tax relief.

Traditional Values:

·         To prohibit colleges and universities from using funds to renovate or repair facilities that sponsor religious activities like prayer meetings.

Health & Medical:

·         Mandated cost-effective standards that will lead to rationed health care.  Creation of a comparative effectiveness research program leading to a board that will have authority to ration health care as it sees fit instead of allowing physicians to decide treatment.

·         To force everyone into a government-managed health care system or pay a fine or tax.  A National Coordinator of Health Information Technology will monitor medical treatments to ascertain that your doctor is following appropriate federal guidelines.  The feds will monitor your doctor in deciding your medical treatment. Doctors will ration health care based on those guidelines.  The feds will enforce uniformity and punish physicians who refuse or fail to follow guidelines “with increasingly stringent penalties.”  If the feds believe that a treatment is too expensive and therefore unwarranted for an elderly person, they will deny treatment.  Call this the “Pull the Plug on Granny” part of the Porkulus Bill. 

·          The bill mandates electronic health records for each citizen without an opt-out or patient consent provision.  Your health records will become shared among up to 600,000 covered health organizations.  This plan is a terrible violation of privacy and will violate doctor-patient confidentiality.  Also, expect a lot of junk mail.

·           $400 million for the Centers for Disease Control to screen and prevent venereal diseases in depressed areas.

Junk Spending:

·         $650 million for consumer coupons to buy converter boxes for digital TV.

·         A $246 million tax credit for Hollywood movie producers to purchase motion picture film.

·         $248 million to buy furniture at the new Dept. of Homeland Security hq.

·         $125 million for the Washington, D.C. sewer system.

·         $6 billion to renovate federal buildings into ecologically-pure buildings.

·         $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts.

·         $200 million to renovate the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

·         $88 million to help move the Public Health Service into a new building.

·         $7.6 billion for rural community advancement programs, whatever they are.

·         $600 million for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Admin. to create climate modeling to counter global warming.

·         $1 billion for new NOAA office buildings.

·         $400 million for global warming research.

·         $70 million to support supercomputing activities for global warming research

·         $1.5 billion for eco-technology loan guarantees.

·         $150 million for agricultural crop subsidies.

·         $150 million in research funds for producers of bees and farm-raised fish.

·         To build a water park in Miami, Fla.

·         $1 billion for manufacture of advanced state of art batteries, like lithium ion batteries, though most of these come manufactured from Asia, thus creating no American jobs.

·         $20 million to remove fish passage barriers.

·         $34 million to renovate the Dept. of Commerce hq.

·         $75 million to build a new training facility for State Dept. security officers, though existing facilities at other agencies can train them.

·         To fund a government study on the impact of minimum wage laws on the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa.

Transportation:

·         $850 million for money-losing Amtrak.
·         $10 million to inspect urban canals.

·         $300 million for federal government battery-powered vehicles.

·         $200 million to lease “green” energy vehicles for use on military installations.

·         $8 billion for high-speed rail grants to states, one of which Sen. Harry Reid earmarked for his rail project to bring more Californians to Las Vegas to gamble.

·         $25 million to rehabilitate off-road ATV trails.

Energy:

·         $47.8 billion for energy programs, but no funding to make fossil fuels like our vehicle fuel more affordable.

·          $7,500 tax credits to buy hybrid vehicles that sell at inflated prices.

·         $2 billion to restart a “green” emissions coal power plant in Illinois defunded by the Dept. of Energy for inefficiency.

·         $3 million for “green” golf carts, tax credits for buying tiny vehicles that use electric batteries instead of gas.  You plug one into your home electrical outlet.  Fed regulations limit the top speed to 25 mph, so do not count on using this vehicle to commute to work.

·         $300 million for energy-efficient appliance rebate programs.

Education:

·         $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges.

·         $79 billion state slush fund to bail out states by providing funding to fill in gaps in state education spending.

 

Jobs:

·         $4 billion for job training programs, including $1.2 billion for youth up to age 24!

·         $1.2 billion for youth activities, including temporary summer job programs.

·         $160 million for paid volunteers at the Corporation for National & Community Service.

·         $160 million for the Job Corps program at the Dept. of Labor, not for employment purposes but to build and renovate buildings.

·         The bill supposedly will create about 3.5 million jobs, translating into $229,000 per job.  The average NE salary is about $35,000.

CONCLUSION.  The Nelson-Collins deal failed to cut Porkulus spending.  At $828 billion, the Nelson compromise cost $7 billion MORE than the bill passed by Speaker Pelosi in the House.[8]  The curative job growth and tax and pork spending cuts promised by Sen. Ben-occhio Nelson obviously are not included in this bill.  Servicing the debt will cost billions.  Contact his office and let his staff know how you feel about his vote to pass this Porkulus Bill.  If the senator plans a future pig roast for his re-election campaign, he will have plenty of pork to feed his constituents, along with the baloney he fed us about the Porkulus Bill!

Honorable Ben Nelson

U.S. Senate                                               OMAHA                                 LINCOLN                           SCOTTSBLUFF

720 Hart Office Bldg.                               7602 Pacific Str. #205            440 North 8 Street  #120       P.O. Box 1472       

Washington, D.C. 20510-2706                 Omaha, NE. 68114                                                                    Scottsbluff, NE.69363

(202) 224-6551                                         391-3411                                  Lincoln, NE. 68508             (308) 631-7614

 FAX: (202) 228-0012                              Fax: 391-4725                             Phone:  441-4600     

Research and documentation for this issue paper done by Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom.  This material copyrighted and notarized by Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom, with express prior permission for its use by Citizens for Local Control, Cherry County Taxpayers, Dawes County Taxpayers, and other groups in the Tax Freedom Network.  3-09   C                    

 

 

 



[1] Fox News.com.  Feb. 2, 2009.

[2] Huffington Post, Feb. 5, 2009.

[3] Bloomberg.com.  Feb. 21, 2009.

[4] CNN Politics.com.  Feb. 7, 2009.

[5] CNN Politics. com.  Feb. 1, 2009.

[6] Steven Pearlstein, Washington Post, Feb. 6, 2009.

[7] CTV.ca (Canada TV).  Feb. 1, 2009.

[8] Michelle Malkin, 2-7-09.