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Fischer's Silence On The Ryan Budget Plan Speaks Louder Than Words

It's now been over a year since State Senator Deb Fischer refused to comment on the Paul Ryan budget plan, saying she hadn't read the 50 page document and needed more time to study it. However, the selection of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's running mate sheds an entirely new light on this issue.

Fischer indicated her ardent support for Ryan by saying that the "Romney-Ryan ticket provides strong leadership." Kerrey campaign manager Paul Johnson followed up Fischer's remarks by saying that, "With Paul Ryan on the Republican ticket, and with Fischer offering praise for the selection, we assume she supports the Ryan Plan." That is probably a fairly safe assumption since Fischer is running as a bitter partisan and has yet to identify a Democratic Senator she could work with in Washington.

Fischer's support of the Paul Ryan budget is game changer in the election because this budget plan is extreme and outside of the mainstream. As we've discussed here recently on this blog, the Ryan plan ends Medicare's guaranteed benefit, takes health care coverage from millions of Americans, brings back pre-existing conditions clauses and cuts taxes for corporations and the wealthy. In other words, the Ryan plan cuts Medicare, Medicaid and other programs that benefit seniors, the middle class and the poor to finance tax cuts for the wealthy. And yet, the Ryan plan doesn't balance the budget until 2040.

In coming out in favor of the Ryan budget plan, Fischer once again signaled that it is party over her constituents for the Valentine State Senator. Moreover, Fischer has decided to stand with the wealthy and corporations, and ignore the best interests of her fellow Nebraskans.

It's evident that Fischer has chosen to adopt Wall Street values rather than Nebraska values.


We now have one of the defining issues in the Nebraska Senate race.

The Republicans have said that if they win the elections this fall, their first order of business will be passing the Ryan plan. What this means then is that the very future of Medicare and our social safety net is at stake in this election. Bob Kerrey opposes the Ryan plan and has pledged to make reasonable reforms in our entitlement programs to bring our budget deficits under control. If we want to preserve Medicare and other safety net programs, we will need to get behind Senator Kerrey and work hard to elect him to the U.S. Senate.

 

 

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Happy Birthday Social Security

Romney has made his intentions clear with his VP pick, let's take this opportunity to show him how much we value our social protections.

 

Today marks the 77th birthday of Social Security - the most successful government program in U.S. history.  On August 14, 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt signed into law the Social Security Act.  Social Security pays benefits to retirees, widows, the children of the deceased and the disabled.  The Act was an attempt to limit what were seen as dangers in the modern American life, including old age, poverty, unemployment, and the burdens of widows and fatherless children. By signing this Act into law, President Roosevelt became the first president to advocate federal assistance for the elderly.

Social Security is the most successful anti-poverty program in U.S. history.  At the time the Social Act passed, poverty among the elderly exceeded 50%.  At the present time, the poverty rate for Americans over age 65 has been reduced to 9%.

Despite Social Security's undeniable success, the right wing of the GOP has always been opposed to this program.  One of the biggest talking points from the radical right is that Social Security is going broke and that we can't afford it.  As early as 1936, GOP Presidential nominee Alf Landon said that: "If the present compulsory insurance plan remains in force, our old people are only too apt to find the cupboard bare."  George W. Bush predicted in 1978 that Social Security would go broke in 1988 unless Congress privatized the system. Moreover, present day Republicans regularly predict - as they have for over 75 years - that Social Security will go broke.

Obviously, all of these previous Republican predictions of doom and gloom about Social Security have proven to be wrong and are still wrong.  Social Security is in a position to pay out all of the promised benefits until 2033.  If the Congress does absolutely nothing, Social Security would still be able to pay out 78% of the promised benefits beginning in 2034. However, simply lifting the earnings cap on Social Security taxes would insure the financial viability of the program for the indefinite future.  Similarly, Senator Kerrey's Social Security plan - which consists of a combination of modest benefit cuts and tax increases - would also enable us to keep our promises to senior citizens.

Social Security is wildly popular because it has been so successful. However, that success is a danger to the agenda of the GOP and it's corporate allies.  The last thing the GOP wants is a program that proves the government can do things that benefit the American people. That's why the GOP has nominated a Presidential ticket determined to privatize Social Security.  If want to celebrate more birthdays for Social Security in the future, we Democrats need to remain engaged and work hard for our candidates who will defend this program that has helped millions of Americans  from the ongoing attacks from the radical right.

 

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Republicans Propose To Repeal Progressive Reforms Of The 20th Century

Mitt Rommey's selection of Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) confirms that the center piece of the Republican agenda is to repeal the Progressive reforms of the 20th century. The conservative wing of the GOP has opposed Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid since the inception of these programs. Just who is Paul Ryan?  What exactly does he stand for?

Paul Ryan has represented a suburban district of Milwaukee since 1998. Interestingly enough, Ryan has never held a job in the private sector - his entire career has been in Congress either as an aide or a member of the House of Representatives.  In 2005, Ryan said that the radical fiction author Ayn Rand was the reason he entered politics and he requires all staff and interns to read her books. A recent analysis of Ryan's voting record by Nate Silver of the New York times indicates that he is roughly as conservative as Representative Michele Bachmann, the controversial congresswoman from Minnesota.

Ryan's radical background is certainly reflected by the extreme agenda that he supports and that has been adopted by the Republican Party. Ryan's "claim to fame" so to speak is his plan that would convert Medicare into a voucher program and would require senior citizens to purchase private health insurance. This plan would also bring back pre-existing conditions clauses.  The vouchers wouldn't keep up with medical costs and the average senior citizen would incur an additional $6,000 to $8,000 in annual out of pocket medical expenses. Thus far, none of the Ryan plan's supporters have explained how seniors will be able to buy affordable, comprehensive health insurance from the private insurance industry after pre-existing condition clauses are back.

This regressive plan would impose huge cuts in domestic spending. Approximately 62% of the spending cuts in the Ryan budget would come from government programs that help those with low incomes.  Moreover, the Ryan plan would repeal Obama Care and that would strip health insurance coverage from millions of Americans.  Passage of the Ryan plan would likely produce the largest redistribution of income from the bottom to the top in modern U.S. history and likely increase poverty and inequality more than any other budget in recent times.

And it gets even worse. The Ryan plan would cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans by $1 trillion by reducing the top marginal tax rate and top corporate rate from 35% to 25%.  This plan would also establish a territorial tax system that would allow corporations to shift their profits overseas and avoid U.S. taxes altogether.

The Republicans tout the Ryan plan as a deficit reduction and balance budget plan.  However, the Ryan plan wouldn't balance the budget until 2040.  Instead, the Ryan plan is more of a blueprint for the implementation of the Republican party's radical and regressive agenda of slashing the safety net and redistributing money upwards.

The Ryan plan is so extreme that when a Democratic Super PAC informed a focus group that Romney supported the Ryan budget plan - while also advocating tax  cuts for the wealthiest Americans - the respondentssimply refused to believe any politician would do such a thing. Moreover, the Ryan plan was described as "radical" by none other than Former House  Speaker Newt Gingrich. (Newt Gingrich calling the Ryan plan "radical"  is like Charlie Sheen saying, "That party is too wild for me.")

Ryan's plan to transform  Social Security is as extreme as his plan to privatize Medicare.  Both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan support George W. Bush's ill fated scheme to partially privatize Social Security.  This plan would divert trillions of dollars in Social Security taxes that are financing benefits for senior citizens and give them to Wall Street to invest in the stock market.  As recently as 2011, Ryan described Social Security as a "Ponzi Scheme."

This debate over the future of our social safety net will play out here in Nebraska this fall.  Jeff Fortenberry, Lee Terry and Adrian Smith have all voted two times in favor of the Ryan plan in the House of Representatives.  (Mr. Terry also supports the Bush Social Security privatization scheme.) Thus far, State Senator Deb Fischer hasn't taken a position on the Ryan plan.  (No surprise there.) However, I fully expect Ms. Fischer to vote in favor of the Ryan plan if she is elected since she is running as a hard core GOP partisan.

Romney's selection of Ryan has raised the stakes in this fall's elections.  The very existence of the Progressive Reforms of the 20th century that saved the middle class are on the line this fall.  What  this means is that we Nebraska Democrats have to warn our moderate friends about the GOP's truly radical and frightening agenda.  It also  means that we have to work extra hard to elect our slate of Democratic candidates.  We can count on President Obama, Senator Kerrey, Korey Reiman, John Ewing and Mark Sullivan to protect our senior citizens and the middle class from the agenda of the radical right.

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INSPIRING WOMEN: A TRIBUTE TO MAYOR HELEN BOOSALIS

Don't miss this fantastic annual event!

INSPIRING WOMEN: A TRIBUTE TO MAYOR HELEN BOOSALIS

When: Friday, August 24, 2012,
Time: 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Where: The Country Club of Lincoln, 3200 S. 24th St, Lincoln

Please join the Nebraska Democratic Women's Caucus for the 4th Annual Inspiring Women Luncheon, a tribute to former Mayor Helen Boosalis and her legacy to women in Nebraska.

Speaking to us on the importance of community involvement and civic duty will be:

  • Julie Stauch, National Political Strategist and Activist
  • Paige Hutchison and Kate Fitzgerald, two previous Boosalis scholarship winners.

The program will conclude with the NDWC Inspiring Women Boosalis Scholarship Award being presented to our three 2012 scholarship winners .

Tickets:

  • $35 - Individual
  • $15 - Students


Please reserve by Monday, August 20, 2012
Register at: https://secure.actblue.com/page/ndwc

OR Mail reservations and payment to:

NDWC, c/o Mary Herres, NDWC Chair, 2840 S. 33rd, Lincoln, NE 68506, Email: maryherres@aol.com

 

http://www.nebraskademocrats.org/sites/default/files/Boosalis 2012 LuncheonInvite.pdf

 

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Keep the Country Safe - Vote Democratic

Looking for a proven track-record on National Security? You'll find that on the Democratic side of the ticket this year with Obama and Kerrey.

 

National security is an important issue even though most voters are (justifiably) largely focused on the economy.  We still live in a dangerous world and it just as important as ever to have experienced leaders in Washington who can keep the country safe. 

Recent history teaches us that the Democratic party is superior to the GOP when it comes to keeping country safe.  The difference between the Bush and Obama Administrations on handling  Osama Bin Laden provides an excellent example of the difference  between the two parties on national security.

Shortly after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Bush publicly boasted that he wanted Bin Laden "dead or alive."  Unfortunately, the next seven and half years demonstrated that there was a huge gap between Bush's cowboy like bluster and his Administration's actual performance.

The Bush Administration got off on the wrong foot when its incompetence allowed OBL to escape from Tora Bora in December 2001. After that blunder, Bush no longer made the killing or capture of OBL a high priority.  Instead, on March 13, 2002, George W. Bush said of bin Laden, "I truly am not that concerned about him." Subsequently, in July 2006, the Bush administration closed its unit that had been hunting bin Laden. In September 2006, Bush told Fred Barnes of Fox News that an "emphasis on bin Laden doesn't fit with the administration's strategy for combating terrorism."

In contrast, shortly after he took office in 2009, President Obama directed the CIA to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority.  It was, in other words, a major shift from the previous administration. Thanks to that change in priorities, Obama did in two and a half years what George W. Bush, despite all of his "dead or alive" big talk and swagger, couldn't do in over seven years.

This fall in the Presidential election, the voters face the choice between President Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Unfortunately, Romney is the least experienced major party nominee since the GOP chose Wendell Wilkie in 1940.  Romney's only experience in government was his lone four year term as Governor of Massachusetts and Romney doesn't even like to talk about that term.  If you listen to Romney, one would think he was in a federal witness protection program between 2002 and 2006!

Here in Nebraska in the U.S. Senate race, we have a similar choice between an experienced and proven leader and somebody who completely lacks any national security experience whatsoever.  The voters shouldn't have any problem determining that there is a vast stature gap between former U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey and State Senator Deb Fischer on the issue of keeping the country safe.

During Bob Kerrey's tenure in the U.S. Senate from 1989 to 2001, he served on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.  After that, he served as a member of the prestigious and bi-partisan 9/11 Commission. One of the many important findings by the 9/11 Commission was that on August 6, 2001, then National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice gave Bush a security briefing entitled, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike In U.S."

In sharp contrast, Fischer as a State Senator has no national security experience at all.  As a matter of fact, her entire national security platform on her website contains around 160 words and entirely consists of the usual tired right wing talking points that typify her vacuous campaign.

What this all means is that the choice this fall for the voters on national security is very clear.  We can back  President Obama and Senator Kerrey - who both have extensive and successful records on national security.  Or the voters could select the two amateurs that the Republican Party has offered up.  I'm confident that the voters will recognize on Election Day that only our fine slate of Democratic candidates can be trusted to keep the U.S.A. safe.

 

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Medicaid Expansion Saves Both Lives And Money

One of the most important features of Health Care Reform is that it will expand States' Medicaid programs. Under the law, the U.S. government will cover 100% of the cost for states to expand their Medicaid programs, scaling that back to 90% by 2020. (Currently, the U.S. government pays an average of 57% of the cost of the Medicaid health program.) However, the Supreme Court's recent decision in the Health Care Reform case gives States the right to opt out of that law's Medicaid expansion.

Unfortunately, Governor Dave Heineman seems inclined to opt out of Health Care Reform's Medicaid expansion - even though he hasn't made a final decision on the issue. Heineman has contended that Nebraska "can't afford an unfunded Medicaid expansion" and he said the expansion would cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars. Once again, Heineman pitted one group of Nebraskans against another by claiming that Medicaid expansion would cause cuts in education funding.

As usual, as on most issues, Heineman is wrong. A recent analysis from Arkansas indicates that Medicaid expansion would save that state $372 million in the first six years. The savings would come from additional federal money, more compensation to health care providers for indigent care, and potential new state revenues from the financial boost that hundreds of millions of dollars in federal fund would inject into Arkansas' economy. In my opinion, there is no reason not to expect a similar result here in Nebraska.

Medicaid expansion would not only save money - it would also save lives. According to a new study from the New England Journal of Medicine and Harvard University indicates that Medicaid expansion may end up saving thousands of lives. This study found a 6 percent drop in the adult death rate in Arizona, Maine and New York, three states that have recently expanded coverage for low-income residents along the general lines of the federal health care law. This study also found that for every 176 adults covered under expanded Medicaid, one death per year would be prevented. "Policymakers should be should be aware that major changes in Medicaid - either expansions or reductions in coverage - may have significant effects on the health of vulnerable populations," wrote the researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health.

What this means then is that the Medicaid expansion in Health Care Reform is a win-win proposition for Nebraska. It is obvious that Heineman is ignorant of the policy ramification of Health Care Reform's Medicaid expansion and that he is playing politics - again. Heineman has a history of pandering to the worst instincts of the base of his party and seems to be uninterested in actual governing and policy making. The Governor is all about partisanship and rarely exercises any real leadership. He might as well be back in his old job of executive director of the Nebraska GOP.

What this means for us Democrats is that we need to elect more State Senators this fall who share our values - Nebraska values. There are a lot of open seat Legislative races in districts that have been held by the Republicans. If we elect more Democratic State Senators we can muster up the necessary 30 votes to override Heineman's inevitable veto of a Medicaid expansion bill. This is a very realistic goal since Heineman is now a lame duck and the Legislature voted to restore taxpayer funding for prenatal health-care benefits for undocumented immigrants over Heineman's veto earlier this year. Now let's get to work!

Dennis Crawford is our newly elected 2nd Associate Chair. He will begin serving his term on the NDP's executive board at the first State Central Committee meeting following November's election. Thank you to Dennis for his contribution to the NDP's blog.

 

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Deb Fischer Is No Friend Of The Middle Class

In a recent interview on KFAB radio, State Senator Deb Fischer said that: "I don't believe we should be raising taxes at all. As you know, I've been against raising taxes." These remarks came up in the context of her criticism of Senator Bob Kerrey's Social Security rescue plan which includes some modest tax increases on people who earn six figure incomes. Just what is Fischer's record on taxes? Has she always been against raising taxes?

Fischer would only like you to know that she has signed off on corporate lobbyist Grover Norquist's no new taxes pledge. By signing this pledge, Fischer has taken the position that she will not vote for a tax increase (or otherwise compromise) in an effort to find a solution to our nation's deficit and spending problems. That is an irresponsible position to take in light of our country's serious financial problems. Is that no new taxes pledge the only thing we know about Fischer's attitude towards tax increases?

Many people would be surprised to find out that Fischer has supported numerous middle class tax increases during her eight years in the Nebraska Legislature and has even voted to give herself a big property tax cut. Fischer's tax record contains a record of supporting a long list of middle class tax increases:

  • In 2008, Fischer voted against a bill that would've exempted $325 million in sales taxes for Omaha area residents.
  • Fischer has voted to increase gas taxes 12 times.
  • Fischer produced a report which contained no fewer than 31 tax increases on the middle class, including tax increases on food and soda pop.

Fischer's record regarding property taxes is especially appalling. In 2007, Fischer voted for a bill that gave property tax credits to landowners as opposed to a credit that would benefit homeowners. The biggest beneficiary of this property tax plan was Ted Turner - the ex-husband of "Hanoi" Jane Fonda, a billionaire, and one of the state's largest landowners - who receives a yearly tax cut of nearly $100,000.

Fischer herself has made out very nicely thanks to this legislation.

Because she and her husband own over $3 million in property, they have saved $2,400.00 per year on their property taxes. In contrast, the average home owner in Fischer's home county receives a property tax credit of $70.26 per year.

If you were only to listen to Fischer and the Republicans you would think that Bob Kerrey's record on taxes is as bad as Fischer's. Once again, Fischer isn't telling you the entire story. It's true that Senator Kerrey voted for the 1993 budget which balanced the budget and created an economic boom. What they're not telling you is that Senator Kerrey voted for the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997. This law enlarged the child tax credit, cut capital gains taxes, reduced taxes on the sale of one's personal residence and cut estate taxes. This tax cut contributed to the greatest peacetime boom in U.S. history.

The record is clear that Deb Fischer is no friend of the middle class tax payer. She has repeatedly voted for regressive taxes that burden the middle class. What she told KFAB radio earlier this week was simply false.

In contrast, Senator Kerrey has made the tough choices on the budget in the past and is telling us the truth about the tough choice ahead if we're to balance the budget and save Social Security. The choice for the voters this fall is clear. They can either vote for Bob Kerrey - who is part of the solution. Or Deb Fischer - who is part of the problem.

Dennis Crawford is our newly elected 2nd Associate Chair. He will begin serving his term on the NDP's executive board at the first State Central Committee meeting following November's election. Thank you to Dennis for his contribution to the NDP's blog.

 

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Mike Johanns Votes To Hold Middle Class Tax Cuts Hostage

On July 25, 2012, the Senate held up-or-down votes on two competing tax plans: the Republican plan, which would have kept Bush-era tax breaks in place for everyone - including the wealthy, and the Democratic plan, which would extend tax breaks for all income up to $250,000. The GOP plan was rejected by a 54 to 45 margin, but the Democratic proposal passed 51 to 48. The votes by Nebraska's Senators followed partisan lines. Senate Ben Nelson voted for the Democratic proposal and against the GOP proposal, while Senator Mike Johanns voted with his party.

What the votes by Senator Johanns mean is that he will not vote for the tax cuts for the middle class unless the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy are extended as well. In other words, Johanns is willing to hold hostage the middle-class tax cuts for 98% of Americans and nearly every small business owner in order to provide tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. The last thing a typical middle class family can afford is a $2,200 tax hike at the beginning of next year.

Johanns rationalized his irresponsible votes by contending that, "A massive tax increase will drive our economy to its knees and bring about another recession." It's pretty evident here that Johanns is woefully ignorant of recent economic history. As I've discussed here before, every Republican predicted in 1993 that raising the top marginal tax rate to 39.6% would cause a recession. Rolling back the Bush tax cuts for those who make over $250,000.00 per year would bring back that top marginal rate of 39.6%

I would like to take this occasion to give Mr. Johanns a little history lesson. After the 1993 tax increase on the wealthy, the Republicans were proven to be dead wrong. The country experienced its greatest peacetime economic boom in history. On the other hand, the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy that Johanns supports were an abject failure. Bush had the worst job creation record since Herbert Hoover and the economy collapsed in 2008.

Senator Johanns has a history of voting against middle class tax cuts.

As recently as December 2011, Johanns voted against a Social Security payroll tax cut that only benefited the middle class. (Senator Nelson voted in favor of it.) Mr. Johanns' opposition to middle class tax cuts exposes an inconvenient truth about the priorities of today's GOP. If the wealthy don't get a tax cut, Johanns will simply allow taxes to go up on the middle class. Johanns and the Republican Party once again have demonstrated whose side they are on. What these votes means is that there is nothing that the GOP and Johanns won't do to assist the wealthy - even at the expense of the middle class.

Dennis Crawford is our newly elected 2nd Associate Chair. He will begin serving his term on the NDP's executive board at the first State Central Committee meeting following November's election. Thank you to Dennis for his contribution to the NDP's blog.

 

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Bob Kerrey Is The True Fiscal Conservative

In the U.S. Senate campaign, Deb Fischer and the Republicans have made a big issue about a constitutional amendment requiring that the federal budget be balanced. They've criticized Senator Kerrey's opposition to this amendment and have touted Fischer's support for it. Just what is contained in the balanced budget amendment supported by Fischer? What is Kerrey's record on fiscal issues? The answers are very revealing.

Earlier this year, Ms. Fischer endorsed the GOP's balanced budget amendment to the Constitution which they have slickly labeled: "Cut, Cap, and Balance." However, what Fischer hasn't told you is that this extreme proposal would result in big cuts to Social Security and Medicare as well as lock in the failed Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.

One thing crucial feature of "Cut, Cap and Balance" is that it requires a 2/3 super majority before any tax increase is approved. Simply stated, this 2/3 super majority requirement makes it impossible for any President or Congress to reverse any of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

Another feature of "Cut, Cap and Balance" that Fischer hasn't mentioned is that this proposal caps federal spending at levels not seen since the 1960s. This provision capping spending combined with the requirement that any tax increase must be approved by 2/3 of the Congress would require huge cuts in Social Security and Medicare. Economists say that assuming defense spending wasn't cut (the GOP steadfastly opposes cuts in defense spending), we'd have to cut around 25% from these programs or over $500 billion in order to reduce federal spending to levels we haven't seen for over 40 years.


If Fischer supports a balanced budget, why doesn't she just propose one and tell us how she would cut $1 trillion from the federal budget? Instead, Fischer seems to content to run a cynical and cowardly campaign
where she refuses to take any specific stands on the issues and is counting on the Super PACs to destroy Bob Kerrey with deceptive ads financed by out of state special interest groups.

Unlike Ms. Fischer, Senator Kerrey has actually shown real courage in his career when it comes to budget issues. It's true that Senator Kerrey voted against a GOP balanced budget amendment to the Constitution in 1997.  However, Kerrey made tough and courageous choices in his Senate career that helped bring about the last balanced budgets we had between 1998-2000.

In 1990, Kerrey supported a budget plan sponsored by President George H.W. Bush that both cut spending and raised taxes. Three years later, during the first year of Bill Clinton's Presidency, Kerrey once again supported an unpopular budget that consisted of spending cuts and tax increases. In 1993, every Republican opposed President Clinton's budget plan - claiming it would cause a deep recession.

Just how did those Republican predictions of doom and gloom play out? As we know, they were dead wrong. What followed the passage of the 1993 Clinton budget package was the greatest peacetime economic boom in U.S. history. During the Clinton Presidency, 22 million new jobs were created, unemployment declined from 7% to 3%, median family income rose, and poverty declined to its lowest rate in 20 years. The Clinton budget also converted what was then the largest budget deficit in American history to the largest surplus.

If Fischer and the Republicans want to have a debate this year about fiscal policy, I say bring it on. We Democrats will defend Kerrey's courageous votes in favor of deficit reduction plans proposed by Presidents of both parties over Fischer's advocacy of yet more tax cuts for the wealthy and big cuts to Social Security and Medicare any day of the week. What this tells the voters is that Bob Kerrey's judgment on economic issues is vastly superior to that of Deb Fischer and that he is the only true fiscal
conservative in this race.

Dennis Crawford is our newly elected 2nd Associate Chair. He will begin serving his term on the NDP's executive board at the first State Central Committee meeting following November's election. Thank you to Dennis for his contribution to the NDP's blog.

 

 

 

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Fischer’s refusal to debate, reliability on website raises questions

With the recent announcement of a debate date between senatorial candidates Deb Fischer and Bob Kerrey for August 25th at the Nebraska State Fair, a resounding question has been raised- what took so long?
Since the May 15 primary, there have been no debates held between Kerrey and Fischer. In June, the perfect opportunity for a debate came up with a request from Cornhusker Boys and Girls State. Kerrey accepted the invitation, but Fischer declined with little explanation for her refusal.


Another refusal from Fischer to debate came at the beginning of July. Following the Supreme Court's historic decision to uphold President Barack Obama's health care reform law, Kerrey requested a debate specifically centered on health care. Fischer refused, explaining, "I don't think it's necessary to have one specific debate on health care. That's just one of many issues Nebraskans are concerned about," according to ktiv.com.


What happened to the Fischer who claimed, "I hope we have a lot of debates... We had 7 debates [in the primary] and I was the only candidate at all seven," on March 1 during a KLIN DTL Radio Interview? What about the Fischer who stated on March 5th on the KFAB Good Morning Show that "We need to be talking about the issues. I plan to be at every debate I'm invited to?"


That Fischer has been replaced by the Deb Fischer who claims she does not need to debate because she has a campaign website. As Fischer told KHAS TV, "people know my positions. As I said, I have been out debating a number of times. I have a website where we have had it up and have had positions up since November and December. So people can go to that website, too."


Fischer's downright refusals to debate raise serious questions about her ability to perform in a live debate platform. However, with surely no invitations to be accepted by Fischer in the near future, it seems we will be in the dark until August 25th, when both candidates will finally take the stage to debate. Until then, it seems, we'll just have to keep checking Fischer's catch-all website. Get your browsers ready!

 

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