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Dead Man Walking…

Ever wonder what happens when you loudly proclaim your moral stand on an issue and then sell out your putative values, all whilst in the glare of the national media?

This.

“The good news for Senator Ben Nelson is that he doesn’t have to face Nebraska voters until 2012.

If Governor Dave Heineman challenges Nelson for the Senate job, a new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey shows the Republican would get 61% of the vote while Nelson would get just 30%. Nelson was reelected to a second Senate term in 2006 with 64% of the vote.

Nelson’s health care vote is clearly dragging his numbers down. Just 17% of Nebraska voters approve of the deal their senator made on Medicaid in exchange for his vote in support of the plan. Overall, 64% oppose the health care legislation, including 53% who are Strongly Opposed. In Nebraska, opposition is even stronger than it is nationally.”

It would appear that the other show is dropping and the people of Nebraska have seen Senator Nelson new face and are less than impressed.

And, speaking of his “grand compromise,” what has the nation at large made of his thirty pieces of silver, this “Cornhusker kickback“?

“Republican attorneys general in 13 states say congressional leaders must remove Nebraska’s political deal from the federal health care reform bill or face legal action, according to a letter provided to The Associated Press Wednesday.

“We believe this provision is constitutionally flawed,” South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster and the 12 other attorneys general wrote in the letter to be sent Wednesday night to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

“As chief legal officers of our states we are contemplating a legal challenge to this provision and we ask you to take action to render this challenge unnecessary by striking that provision,” they wrote.”

So, a man sells out his beliefs, or at least his putative beliefs, for other people’s money.  His voters, shockingly, see this as a betrayal, not merely of his own beliefs, but their own as well.  Oh, at that pay-off that he accepted in their names may well prove to be less than Constitutional.

Good thing that Ben’s re-election isn’t for a couple of year, now isn’t it?

Well, at least for Ben…

Nelson’s indefensible “pork” in Senate health care bill

Senator Ben Nelson’s (D-Neb.) conduct in selling his vote on the health care legislation gives brand new meaning to the words despicable and contemptible.  And those senators who agreed to his demands behind closed doors, as well as any senators who vote for this are not too far behind.

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Ben Nelson on constitutional law – Update (Video): Lindsey Graham Agrees

Update (Jim)– Senator Lindsey Graham agrees with SOS. It’s a must watch below.

While Senator Ben Nelson (D. Neb.) is basking in the glow of his hard fought victory to make changes to the Senate health care bill, let me throw a bit of cold water on the celebration.

By now, you know that the good Senator has decided to leap off the fence and support the health care legislation because Senator Harry Reid (D. Nv.) has made changes in the legislation at Senator Nelson’s request.  Earlier this week, Nelson had proclaimed that he could not and would not support the bill unless the language prohibiting the expenditure of federal funds on abortion was strengthened, and certain other “unspecified” changes, were made.

On the abortion front, what Senator Nelson agreed to was, in fact, a weakening of the abortion language, but, we now know what “unspecified changes” he was really after, and those “concessions” he got for tumbling off the fence.

Under the  bill, the bulk of the uninsureds in this country will now be covered by expanding Medicaid, and, although the federal government will pay for those increased costs initially, beginning in 2017 the states will have to do so…that is, all states except Nebraska.  As of 2017, and into the foreseeable future, you will get to pay for all increased Medicaid costs in Nebraska.

But, I wonder whether this provision will withstand constitutional muster, and, here is why.  Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress the power to tax, but it also states,

…all Duties, Imposts, and Excises [i.e. taxes] shall be uniform throughout the United States.

Under this provision, Congress could not pass a law saying, for instance, that the lowest income tax bracket is, for example, 15%, except in Nebraska, where it it 10%.  And yet, albeit through the back door, that is exactly what Nelson negotiated.  Although Nebraskans will pay the stated 15%, they will receive an instant “rebate” of their tax dollars to cover whatever their increased Medicaid costs are, thus, effectively lowering the federal income tax rate in Nebraska.  Or, perhaps better said, increasing the taxes on everyone in this country more than they would have increased, just to cover the federal government’s new obligation to Nebraska.

To be sure, tax dollars spent by the federal government in states are not directly proportional to the tax dollars collected from the citizens of that state, nor need they be.  For example, Oklahoma may well receive more tax money for federal highways than it’s proportionate share of the national highway budget.

But, what Senator Nelson pulled off is unprecedented.  Everyone else, but those living in Nebraska, gets to pay for Nebraska’s share of Obamacare.

Yes, Nebraska, there is a Santa Claus.

Update (Jim): The SOS was way ahead of the game on this one … now backed by none other than Senator Lindsey Graham this morning on CNN.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SO0MFkFpVJg

And then, there is the tax you to pay for Nebraska

So, how do we pay for Nebraska’s windfall?

First, we tax tanning salons.  Yup, you read that right, tanning salons must now impose a 10 percent sales tax on any visit you make to one.  After all, the UV rays you receive at a tanning salon cause skin cancer, thus, a perfect target for increased taxes… much like cigarettes, and alcohol.  Before you “turn the page” and say, “well, that doesn’t apply to me”, understand this is the first time the federal government has ever imposed a national sales tax on anything.

Just asking…how long will it be before we see a national sales tax on just about anything else you can think of.  The rational, of course, will be that “heck we’ve imposed a national sales tax before (tanning salons), so let’s do it again”.

Thank you Senator Nelson for making that inroad.

Then, to help out the “impoverished” state of Nebraska, Senator Reid (D-Nev.) has agreed to raise the employment tax for Medicare from an additional .5 percent (as originally planned) to an additional .9 percent.  Of course, your employer must match that increase, so, we are really looking at an additional 1.8 percent tax increase on wages.

That should certainly help employ thousands of the unemployed.  This additional tax right now is only for folks earning more that $200,000 a year, but, don’t turn this page yet either.  How long will it be before that tax is imposed on everyone?  After all, Nebraska needs the money.

And finally, the ‘doctor” fix is dead.  Under the original Reid bill, the federally “mandated” $217 billion cut to doctors receiving Medicare would be eliminated.  In other words, under the original bill, doctors would not lose $217 billion in immediate (and basically, retroactive) cuts beginning January 1, 2010.

The theory was, if they did, they might no longer take Medicare patients.  But, to pretend that this bill will “lower the deficit by $130 billion”, and to pay Nebraska, the doctors will lose that $217 billion beginning on January 1, 2010.  Before you turn this page, understand that either the “doctor fix” will be in another bill, and, thus the alleged $130 billion in savings alleged by Obamacare will go “poof”, or, if Congress doesn’t make the “fix”, many doctors will no longer accept Medicare patients.

Wow, and all this to save impoverished Nebraska.

Liberals – Is this what you signed up for? Nelson pay off is criminal

So much for compromise and working in good faith. Our country may be lost … lost to innovation, prosperity, economic growth and good will. Your federal government has so much power and cash they can simply steal from the people and use cash to buy off the votes of other Congress-critters.

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Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson sells out for cash

The most open and honest Congress evah, backed by a President who vowed an end to “business as usual”, showed once again its true colors today. I am not surprised but I am outraged. Just follow the money folks. Read more