Thursday, May 20, 2010

Money from a wall?

First, we'd just like to note the photo the OWH has been using for Senator Ben Nelson lately.

This is the best the paper has of Nelson? Really?

Heck, we've seen and used plenty of shots of Nelson, but even we would suggest that this shot isn't worthy of the mighty OWH.

And as we note there, are they suggesting that Nelson is a hobgoblin? Because that's the gist we got from it.

Interesting choice there OWH. Interesting choice.


The Capitol Hill newspaper "Roll Call" printed this "Overheard on the Hill" item the other day:
“I don’t even know how to use one.”
— Sen. Ben Nelson, confessing his inexperience with debit cards to reporters Tuesday. Asked about ATM fees, the Nebraska Democrat says he only pays with cash or credit cards and confessed to being “frugal.”
Then the OWH picked up on it to quiz Nebraska's senior (citizen) Senator on his use of ATMs and credit cards.

Nelson noted that, "But I could learn how to do it just like I’ve . . . I swipe to get my own gas, buy groceries. I know about the holograms...I mean, I'm not without some skills."

(You know, like nunchuku skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills...)

The OWH didn't follow up on Nelson's original claim that he uses credit cards instead of debit cards, because he's frugal -- missing out on the point that credit cards charge interest while debit cards are just a plastic version of cash. Ah well, we'll assume he has a staffer that can educate him on this machine of the little people.

While Mike Johanns said he has only used at ATM "fewer than five times" in his life -- well at least he was familiar with the concept. But is the ATM really that new fangled?

Why those crazy kids with their ATMs and their Walkmans and their Vanilla Ice.

Question: Are these "ATMs" open on Sundays?


Oh, and by the way OWH:  Considering that Roll Call had this story matter what header you put on the story, it ain't an "EXCLUSIVE".


Congressman Lee Terry is continuing to hammer his opponent, state Senator Tom White on White's support of the ObamaCare Health Care Reform.

Recently the Congressional Budget Office stated that the cost of the new law will jump by $115 BILLON, based on requirements for new IRS cost and other new government programs and services.

Terry is asking White how White would propose funding these new costs.
“Tom White supported the healthcare legislation while I did not. The cost of this initiative has now suddenly jumped by $115 billion. My opponent needs to step forward and tell us if he is willing to cut other programs to pay for this new spending or raise taxes to cover it. Either way, he owes us an explanation.”
Not to worry though White campaign.  Our guess is that this is the last time in the campaign that Lee Terry will mention Tom White's support of the new health care law....


Pat said...

Your ignorance is excusable. Lee's is not.

Lee knows that the Congressional Budget Office clarified that of the $115 billion mentioned, $86 billion represents a continuation of programs that existed before the health care law was passed (e.g. $39 billion for Indian health services). Of the remainder, $19 billion is possible spending on programs created by the health care law (Congress would still have to pass a new law that actually spends this money first) and $10 billion in administrative costs.

And don’t forget that the health care law had a net deficit reduction of $138 billion, so even if Lee’s lies were true (which they’re not) the law would still be in the black.

Anonymous said...

Pat--you need to read the CBO letter.

The NEW administrative costs are at lest $10 billion and could be $20 billion, according to CBO.

That's alot of new federal employee and offices--the cost of which were not included in the bill when it passed.

Then there are the programs and grants "authorized" but not costed out in the bill. Because of last week's CBO letter, we now know the true "costs" of these--$105 billion over 10 years.

Add those to the bill's bottom line and it pushes the real cost to about $1.05 trillion.

Terry's right on this.

Jamie said...

Either way it's a good talking point because of the animosity towards the bill and the fact hardly anybody will research the technicality of why that might be less than accurate.

One Out In The Third said...

So Ben pleads ignorance? That's so Ben.

Anonymous said...

Apparently the Terry machine is a little behind or considerably ahead. Got a knock at the door last night and was handed a Terry mailer and asked to vote for him. The Primary date was blocked off with a see through label.
- charles

Anonymous said...

White hasn't said much about the healthcare law recently...buyer's remorse?

Anonymous said...

$5 billion to $10 billion in new money for the IRS? Great.

I wonder how much of that will be to hire the employees who are responsible for imposing fines on people that don't buy insurance.

Anonymous said...

11:01--since Tery's campaign is out knocking on doors, I'd say they are way ahead of White. Where is Tom, anyway?

Anonymous said...

Boo surcharges!!!!

Anonymous said...

Pat, is your ignorance excusable?

You say the healthcare bill is still in the black. Was that before or after the doctor fix?

And what about the $500 BILLION they're taking from Medicare to pay for the healthcare bill that they're really not taking from Medicare? Or are they? Didn't the CBO projection that put this crapfest of a healthcare plan in the black assume that $500 BILLION would come from Medicare? Is it?

What about the fact that the benefits don't kick in for 4 years? Aren't the people who wrote this bill gaming the system by averaging 10 years of payments for the bill against only 6 years of benefits in order to claim deficit neutrality? What happens the next 10 years?

Pat, only in your little Democrat dream world can you start a massive new entitlement program and have it actually save money. Out in the real world where the rest of us live, this thing is a gigantic budget bomb.

Anonymous said...

The bottom-line is when Congress passed the bill in March, the cost estimate did NOT include the $115 billion now identified by CBO.

Anonymous said...

Street Sweeper, Roll Call got the item walking by Joe Morton's interview on Tuesday.

Anonymous said...

It was a hallway interview in Washington. Reporter from Roll Call was in the scrum.

GeosUser said...

There's one born every minute...
The health care law will produce a deficit reduction of $138 billion? You're either an idiot or smoking crack. The actual costs will be at least 10 times what the CBO projects, as evidenced by their historical failure to accurately project the real cost of any major entitlement program. But then again, anyone who would support expanded/new entitlement programs is likely to be a Democrat Obama voter...the very definition of clueless. BTW, the only thing the Benator is frugal with is his own money. He's the stereotypical drunken sailor with taxpayer's money.

Street Sweeper said...

12:21 & 12:26,

Call it whatever you want -- it still isn't "exclusive".

And seeing how it came after the Roll Call note, it wasn't even first.

And for the love of Uncle Rico, please see the EBN quote we added to the post...

Bob Loblaw said...

Who the hell doesn't use an ATM? How do you get cash? I wonder if Ben & Johanns go to the senate cafeteria, whip out their checkbook and ask if they can write it for $10 over. I simply cannot fathom that in 2010 you don't use an ATM or debit card. These guys have no clue how 95% of americans live. And these are the guys who claim that there going to fix our economy? We're all screwed.

J said...

Bob - my mother is 49 years old and she's never used an ATM.

Where do you get cash????

It's called a bank. They actually have real people who work there and they hand out real money too!

Anonymous said...

Nelson and Johanns are used to just having wheelbarrow loads of the stuff dumped in their offices by their friends from corporate America.

Anonymous said...

Does Tom White use an ATM--alot of multi-millionaires like him have private bankers.

Bob Loblaw said...


Its 2010 not 1987. And I know there are banks, I use them too . But just because theres still newspapers doesn't mean I shouldn't read news online.

And my grandma hasn't ever used the internet but I expect my leaders and representatives to be a little more in touch with technology and society than her. Especially since they have the power to regulate industries.

Anonymous said...

Sweeper -- don't be too hard on the OWH. E. Ben looks terrible these days no matter what angle or light. You'd be tired, too, if you had to fight Linguine Spine all day.

Macdaddy said...

I don't know. I think you're reaching on this ATM thing. I haven't heard anyone claiming that ATMs are tanking the economy. In addition, you can use credit cards just about everywhere in the big city. I have a hard time doing anything but shrugging my shoulders on this item, but I do appreciate you changing the subject from the last post.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of ATMs:

ATM inventor John Shepherd-Barron dead

London: India-born Scot John Shepherd-Barron, inventor of the Automated Teller Machine (ATM), has died after a short illness, aged 84.

He is survived by his wife, three sons and six grandchildren.

The businessman, who worked for a printing firm at the time, came up with the concept of a self-service cash dispenser in 1965 while lying in the bath after getting to his bank too late to withdraw money.

“It struck me that there must be a way I could get my own money, anywhere in the world or the United Kingdom. I hit upon the idea of a chocolate bar dispenser, but replacing chocolate with cash,” he had said in a 2007 interview.

The first ATM was installed at a London bank in 1967.

He died this past Sat. (5/15)

Nathan said...

If you have very good credit score, credit cards can actually be beneficial. Some cards offer a certain percentage back on purchases, an amount that can actually negate the surcharge for having the card.

Anonymous said...

joe morton dont know what the word exclusive is. well this is the same world herald that has joe dejka and michaela saunders as ops mouthpieces, I mean education reporters.

Gobble Gobble said...

Ben Nelson is very frugal. Did you know he raises his own Turkeys and Cattle on his meager Platte Valley property. I wonder how many Benjamins are in Benjamen's pocket from his AG Lat tax savings.

Anonymous said...

"If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch"

Brian T. Osborn said...

While we're on Kipling:

“Power without responsibility - the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages”

Jamie said...

Thank God we are having a good honest debate on the practices of ATM users. It's not like there are any issues like illegal immigration being discussed by our state legislators. Like Janssen wanting to bring AZ's immigration law to NE essentially.

Where's the beef, Sweeps?!

Jamie said...

No money will be taken out of Medicare. Period. No politician, when it comes down to it, has the junk to do it. It's always been proposed but the program is too popular despite its inefficiencies. For all purposes, you should add the $500B in Medicare cuts to the cost of the bill in its entirety.

Papio Dem said...

For the person who asked where Tom White is: he's having an open forum for Sarpy County on May 25th at Lansky's in Bellevue (36thish and 370). 6pm-7:30pm. Come if you'd like!

Anonymous said...

Wow, Lee gets criticized for not taking the General Election for granted and criticized for not wasting donor dollars by throwing away campaign literature?

Ian, you really should get a job, or something. Actually, when are you going to give up your taxpayer funded job and healthcare and make your Bossman Tom start paying you from his donor dollars.

The taxpayers are sick of funding Tom White's Federal Campaign. His donors should be paying all his staffers.

As far as where is TW? It would be nice to know where he is on issues that matter. Immigration, abortion, spending cuts.

I already know where he is on jobs and healthcare. Tom White is batting zero with the voters on his positions in full support of the Democrat controlled agenda in Washington.

Jamie said...

I concur with the last anon- Tom White does seem to be pretty bad at getting his position on most issues easy for the public to see.

Have you seen his website? Nobody is expecting a platform analysis like McCain's or Obama's, but a bit of a platform would be nice so we know the difference between him and Terry is.

Terry's positions are just a paragraph long on his site, but it's pretty apparent what you're getting. White has a short bio and how to donate or volunteer. I think overall White would be a much better candidate if his campaign were run better, but since most Dems in NE can't, they're gonna get spanked this fall, save for a few legislative seats.

Pat said...

Anon 5/20 @ 12:20 pm:

“doc fix” –

The “doc fix” is a separate issue from the expansion in coverage and insurance reforms provided in the health care law. In 1997, Republicans passed a law that was meant to cut doctor payments. But nobody actually wanted to do that so Congress began delaying the cuts. Republicans did it 2003, 2005, and 2006. Democrats did it 2007 and 2008. So the “doc fix” is actually a bipartisan thing that would have happened with or without the health care law. Why should it count against the total cost of the bill?

“money from Medicare” –

It’s a reduction in the rate of growth in the Medicare program, not a cut to current budget or benefits. From factcheck dot org:

“Whatever you want to call them, it’s a $500 billion reduction in the growth of future spending over 10 years, not a slashing of the current Medicare budget or benefits. It’s true that those who get their coverage through Medicare Advantage’s private plans (about 22 percent of Medicare enrollees) would see fewer add-on benefits; the bill aims to reduce the heftier payments made by the government to Medicare Advantage plans, compared with regular fee-for-service Medicare. The Democrats’ bill also boosts certain benefits: It makes preventive care free and closes the "doughnut hole," a current gap in prescription drug coverage for seniors.”

“Aren't the people who wrote this bill gaming the system by averaging 10 years of payments for the bill against only 6 years of benefits in order to claim deficit neutrality?” -

No. Google “ezra klein 10 years of taxes for only 6 years of benefits” and look at the chart in the first result. The spending and taxes are actually pretty balanced throughout all 10 years. CBO actually estimates that the bill will save more in the second decade than in the first.

You’re welcome for the facts from the real world. You should visit sometime. It’s a much better place than Fox News fantasy land.

Macdaddy said...


Don't forget the most important of Tom White's positions: voting for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker. Makes whatever position he claims to hold on the rest of those issues irrelevant.

macdaddy said...


You're criticizing people for watching Fox News when you're referring us to Ezra Klein?!?!?! You have got to be kidding me.

Perhaps you'd like to google CBO report and obamacare and look at the helpful little graph they show. Spending for Obamacare doesn't really start to kick in for 3 more years while the taxes kick in beginning Jan 1. Despite that, in 10 years, Obamacare is expected to run a $65 billion deficit each year. But, hell, compared to $1600 billion deficit this year, who cares?

Shoe Salesman said...

Sweeper - Kudos for you for not going overboard on this one as the OWH so embarassingly did.

One note: its actually cheaper to use credit cards for your spending than it is to use an ATM.

First - the float - an ATM automatically deducts from your balance immediately - instantaneously ending interest accumulation (not debating the meagerness of bank interest but if you have millions in the account as Sen. Ben does, it adds up.)

Second - credit cards don't chage you 2, 3, 4, or $5 per transaction to access your own money.

Third - if you pay your credit card balances off every month there is no interest charge. Considering Nelson's notorious frugality - Its a safe bet to assume he does. Also, if you manage your cards this way many offer points or miles that add up to free stuff - some even offer actual cash back.

So you see - Nelson actually has it right. ATM cards are exepensive. He doesn't pay the fees. He gets his cash from a real person. He isn't out of touch as the OWH desperately tried to portray him. He's actually got the system figured out.

Most Americans - myself included - have accepted outrageous ATM fees as a cost for convenience. We don't think about the $3 we pay to get $40 of our own money. But I looked at my statements today - I spend more than 300 a year on ATM fees. Outrageous. Good for Nelson for not paying the banks to access his own money. Maybe we all could learn.

Street Sweeper said...

You spin like seasoned Press Secretary...

1) If you use an ATM authorized by your bank, there are no fees. (They WANT you to not use their tellers.) Otherwise you are paying for the convenience of having a cash machine at your fingertips.

2) Huzzah for those who can pay off their credit cards fees each month. For those who don't/can't, Debit cards are the much better option.

3) The point on all of this is that the Senator has shown himself to be oblivious to a staple of modern society. And of course that's why it turned into a national story.

4) Of course, you know all this and are just trying to help out the good Senator from looking like Monty Burns up on his Senate perch. But whatever.

GeosUser said...

ATM??? A machine that dispenses money??? Like the Benator when I want some folding money, I just call my friend, the CEO, at the bank and they messenger it over to me. Why would I ever touch some machine used by the unwashed masses. Unlike the Benator, I don't have lobbyists handing me those super convenient envelopes full of folding money. Maybe someday...

Anonymous said...

You want to be a butt and go after Nelson cause he doesn't use an ATM, let me point you to a story about Mike Johanns a few years ago before he quit his job as Ag Sec. He talked about cleaning the house, when going shopping with the wife, he's point out he food pyramids on the cereal boxes like some type of special kid, and his wife would give him an allowance of $20 a weeks for spending money. Seriously? That freaks me out more than a Senator who's just like my parents - they make a trip to the bank every Saturday, and don't use ATM's either!

Anonymous said...

Pat--let's keep it simple.

Tom White supports the healthcare bill. It is based on $500 billion in cuts to Medicare. Terry opposed that.

White = cut Medicare $500 billion.

Terry = protect seniors from these cuts, which only will encourage docs to limit their ### of Medicare patients or drop out altogether.

Any questions?

Pat said...

macdaddy -

The chart is CBO's - EK's page just happened to have fewer pages to sort through to get to the chart I wanted to reference. (It's page 4 of 15 in the CBO presentation two clicks away from the EK page I referenced) But since you clearly didn't do the search and see what I was talking about you wouldn't have known that.

Your description of CBO's chart is way off base. I encourage people (at least those who are interested enough to wade through blog comments) to do the search I suggested and see for themselves.

Pat said...

Anon 2:53

Your phrasing equates a reduction in the future rate of growth with a "cut." Most people don't think that way.

The US will continue to spend more on Medicare - just not as much more as if we had done nothing about health care. Calling it a "cut" is a good talking point for the GOP, but (like many talking points on both sides) doesn't convey an accurate sense of the policy choices being made.

Will Lee Terry campaign on a pledge not to reduce the rate of growth in Medicare expenses?

Anonymous said...

The health bill also contains nearly $500 billion in tax increases, much of which hits small buinsesses.

Tom White = raise taxes by nearly$500 billion--hit small businesses.

Terry = "no". Small businesses create most of the new jobs in the country.

Any questions, Pat?

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot.

Many thanks to Tom White for his support of the fed stimulus program. The extra $787 billion (borrowed $$$) was promised to keep unemployment at 8%. It's now 9.9% and probably going higher. Thanks for adding $800 bil. to the national debt, Tom.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Tom. good work.

macdaddy said...

I do implore the rest of you to look at the chart. Pat is the one who is misinterpreting it. Either that or a $40 billion head start is not much money to him, but where I come from, that used to be a lot. That's the amount of head start that Obamacare gets from increased taxes. In addition, if you look at the CBO's estimated savings, Obamacare gets a $60 or 70 billion head start in the first three years. Again, maybe that's not much money anymore. The third thing to look at is that the overwhelming source of the "deficit reduction" from Obamacare according to the CBO comes from "savings." I'll believe it when I see it. That's the scam of Obamacare. There will be no savings anywhere in the bill, especially if democrats have anything to say about it. I won't even get into the false promise of being able to keep your healthcare coverage if you like it. Not with businesses already plotting to dump healthcare coverage and just pay the fine.

But then, the whole point of Obamacare never was to save money or improve care. The whole point is to gain control. Tom White thinks that's just fine and dandy.

Anonymous said...

TOTALLY off topic, can someone tell me why in god's name any woman would knowingly want to be married to 2 men at the same time?! Honestly, isn't one husband with a hunny do list every weekend enough?

Anonymous said...

Back on topic, ditto to all the people thanking Tom White for supporting all of the failed Democrat leadership positions on the economy, healthcare, energy, the Mae and the Mac, student loans, and stimulus.

Now, I am still waiting to hear whether he stands with the Congressional Democrat Leadership on abortion and immigration. Actually, I am just asking a question that someone posted on Tom White's Facebook a few weeks ago that he has yet to reply to.

Anonymous said...

Not knowing the difference between a credit card and a debit card isn't frugal, it is stupid.

This pudgy Forrest Gump votes on federal bills that threaten to plunge America into economic chaos. Perhaps he is so tired of his fame as slimiest politician in America that he's willing to play the role of Simple Jack.

Watch the drool, Ben. You are overplaying the part.

Jamie said...

you know who i like? mark fahleson.

Anonymous said...

The ONLY way Democrats win this fall is to run as Conservatives, hiding hteir true identinty.

Do you think Tom White will talk about anything to do with the Obama/Pelosi agenda? No

Name a single Democrat across this state who will campaign the way they really feel:
McGill? Nope
Rear end Nankins? Nope
Lathrop? Nope
Rogert? Nope
Whitehead? Nope

It is bait and switch season, not election year.

Anonymous said...

That's why Murtha's Chief of Staff ran on a conservative values background-oh, and, "I can keep getting you the cash you are accustomed to."

Macdaddy said...

A West Virginia multi-term Democrat congressman lost his primary to a guy who is pro-life, favors repeal of obamacare, is against cap-n-tax, and said he won't vote for Pelosi for Speaker.

Anonymous said...


Repub pick-up yesterday in the Hawaii open congressional seat.

Anonymous said...

I think the Ben Nelson ATM bit turned into a national story because it was fluffy and easy for the national press who prides themself on junk reporting to be devoured in volume by the masses as a way to increase their beloved ratings. A Senator who doesn't use an ATM? That's great theater. His position on the complicated stuff in the finance industry or hidden in bills dealing with same is one long snore to ignore when ratings are bottomline.

Macdaddy said...

I think it bacame a national story because the msm is truly pissed at Nelson for being so ham-fisted that they lost Ted Kennedy's seat. They still think it's the messenger and not the message. The good news for Nelson is that they have no credibility and nobody cares what they think. The problem for Nelson is that he has no credibility and nobody cares what he thinks. The problem for the Republicans is that they'd better have a message and it better be credible if they are going to take advantage of Nelson's troubles. And by the way, not knowing how to use an ATM is NOT one of Nelson's troubles. The GOP should not get suckered into this. Stick to the issues.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the OWH is back in the business of defending Nellie. See Koterba today?