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My Message To Deb Fischer: You Didn't Build That

Earlier this year, the Romney for President campaign hosted a series of events centered on the theme: "We Built This." The origin of these events was a comment that President Obama made pointing out that businesses didn't build the infrastructure that they depend upon to make a profit. Romney's theme was based upon a misrepresentation of the President's remarks in the hopes of convincing voters that Obama is anti-business. What was particularly interesting about many of these events was that numerous Republican business owners featured at these events were the recipients of lucrative government subsidies, contracts and loans. Obviously, that reality rebutted the theme of the events and opened them up to charges of hypocrisy.

Deb Fischer would've fit in very well at these Romney events since she is the beneficiary of a lucrative government subsidy where she pays less than $5,000 a year to graze 1,000 cattle on about 11,000 acres of federal land. That's far less than the more than $110,000 that Fischer would have to pay a private landowner for those grazing privileges.

What this means in simple terms is that Fischer is receiving over $100,000 annually or about $325 per day in free rent courtesy of the taxpayers. Over the last 30 years, this sweet heart deal has saved Fischer around $3 million in rent payments. Furthermore, out of Nebraska's roughly 20,000 beef producers, only 136 ranchers receive the kind of subsidy that Fischer has enjoyed for all of these years.

When Senator Fischer was first asked eleven months ago about this corporate welfare she is receiving, she said she would have to "research the matter." I suppose since then Fischer has probably said we should "have a discussion about it" since she continues to collect this lucrative subsidy from the taxpayers. But at the same time of course, Ms. Fischer calls for spending cuts for everybody else. That's why Fischer has deservedly earned the moniker of the "Welfare Rancher."

This issue also exposes Deb Fischer as a phony fiscal conservative.

During the course of her campaign, she has continued to call for spending cuts but she has yet to identify a single specific spending cut that she supports. At the same time, Fischer calls for the permanent extension of the failed Bush tax cuts and says that we can balance the budget by increasing the level of economic growth and reducing unemployment.

That's the same kind of rhetoric we've heard from the Republicans over the last 30 years. The results of these vague promises to cut spending and specific promises to cut taxes have been soaring deficits. During the Reagan Administration, the national debt was tripled. During the eight years of the George W. Bush Presidency, the national debt was doubled. Obviously, Fischer supports a return to these failed fiscal policies.

Senator Bob Kerrey is the true fiscal conservative in the race. As Governor of Nebraska, he inherited a budget deficit and turned it into a surplus when he left office in 1987. When Kerrey was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1988, the country was running then record budget deficits. As a U.S. Senator, Kerrey voted for deficit reduction plans from President George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton that resulted in a balanced budget by the late 1990s.

A vote for Senator Kerrey is a vote for a bi-partisan approach to solving our country's fiscal and economic problems. Senator Kerrey has pledge to reach across the aisle to find solutions to our problems. His past history as Governor and U.S. Senator is proof that Kerrey will work on a bi-partisan basis to reach solutions.

In contrast, Fischer is running as a staunch partisan who will simply follow her party leader's instructions and mindlessly vote with them if she is elected to the U.S. Senate. Since it is looking increasingly likely that President Obama will be re-elected, a vote for Fischer is a vote for more job killing, partisan gridlock. Over the last year, the Republicans in Washington, D.C. have refused to allow an up or down vote on President Obama's jobs plan that would create 2 million new jobs. Our country simply can't afford four more years of that kind of dysfunction in Washington, D.C. That's why the voters should support Bob Kerrey for the U.S. Senate.

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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