At the August 25th Nebraska Cattlemen Debate, Dan Buhrdorf, 5th generation Nebraskan seeking a US Senate seat, consistently drew a clear line between the rise and dominance of Wall Street and the weakening of our economy, budget cuts, poor healthcare, a low standard of living, and war. In the middle of an economic depression, the US establishment has put their significant weight behind more of the same: more speculation, more deregulation, more establishment hack politicians who will gladly capitulate to the needs of Wall Street speculation rather than the needs of the Nation, its citizens, its labor, and its productive capabilities.
Dan Buhrdorf’s opening statement reminded the audience that the struggle of today is the same as that of our grandfathers and great grandfathers. He reminded the audience that a promise had been made. A promise that the misery suffered by Americans during the great depression would never again be revisited. That promise, Dan reminds us, has been broken:
Our grandfather’s generation was promised three times, before, during and after World War II, that there would never be the kind of economic misery again in America like we saw during the Great Depression. Fredrick Douglas said, ‘Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.’ I’ve come here tonight to tell you the truth: you have to demand your economic rights, your birthrights won by your parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. I’m even talking about your rights to access fair markets for your produce. There is an alternative to this stagnant economy; this alternative has saved the country before from foreign threats, civil war, and the Great Depression.
I have a plan that strengthens our middle class and creates a better future for our children and grandchildren. We’ll do this without increasing our national debt or increasing the burden on taxpayers. Our plan creates an economic recovery with 30 million new middle class consumers buying what you produce. Thirty million new jobs. We’ll put those Americans to work building 21st century infrastructure, 21st century power, world-class internet worthy of America, and 21st century transportation. We’ll cut energy prices in half by regulating speculation in the markets, while giving industry and agriculture 0 percent to 1 percent capital costs. We will lower health insurance costs to 100 dollars per person per month. Imagine being able to offer that to your employees. I want to talk about these issues tonight. My name is Dan Buhrdorf, and I will fight for you in Washington.Dan's Opening Statement
Affordable Care Act
Perhaps the simplest answer of the night came with the first question of the debate. What would the candidates change in regard to the Affordable Care Act? Dan’s answer was simple: Medicare-for-All (sometimes called Single-Payer) paid for with a Wall Street sales tax and cure diseases through a fully-funded program of biomedical research. No more subsidies for insurance companies that speculate with derivatives:
My response to Obamacare is less than one page. It says remove the age requirement for Medicare. Ask your grandmother if she likes Medicare. Give everyone the option to join Medicare for 100 dollars per person per month. We can fully fund Medicare …with a Wall Street sales tax.
Healthcare requires more than insurance. We can save money by fully funding research programs to find cures for cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's, and other diseases. How much money was spent last year on Polio compared to the 1930’s and 1940’s?
...think about zero percent or near-zero percent college loans for students, including medical students. A highly skilled, highly educated workforce is necessary to solve the medical problems and in order to engineer a recovery. We need serious investments in healthcare, not subsidies to predatory insurance companies that cover their bets on derivatives.Dan on Health Care
Veterans Administration Cuts and Obstacles
In response to the question regarding the problems our veterans are currently facing, Dan addressed the root of the problem:
We have to live up to our commitments to veterans. They served us in the military and now we have to serve them. And this includes no cuts to veterans' benefits, no cuts to hospitals, no cuts to healthcare. It means expanding and fully funding the VA. This can all be paid for with a 1 percent Wall Street sales tax on derivatives and other financial transactions, by clawing back the tarp bailout from too-big-to-fail banks, and by ending aggressive military actions overseas. The US is currently engaged militarily in more than 160 countries around the world. No more expensive foreign wars. You want to balance the budget? How do you think we pay for the wars? With debt. No more dead GIs and maimed GIs and no more debt to fund wars. At the same time we need to find cures and treatments… This can be done through a fully-funded program of research and treatment.Dan on cuts to the Veterans Administration
In response to Bridget Fargen’s question about tax reform, Dan reiterated that the tax burden should be shifted on speculation and away from our productive economy by taxing Wall Street 1 percent on derivatives and other forms of predatory speculation. This will provide enough revenue to support the social safety net, halt cuts to Medicare, veterans benefits, public libraries, schools, and more. This tax, coupled with harnessing the Federal Reserve to generate credit for 30 million high-paying productive jobs, would not only bring us back to near-full employment, but will create a revenue surplus. Thirty million new well-paid workers means 30 million new consumers. This means larger markets and a greater ability for the middle class to grow.Dan on Tax Reform
Farmers and the food they produce are one of the most vital components to a modern nation. A guaranteed price for their commodities through parity is a necessity not only to ensure the health of the small and medium farmer, but also to curb the market distortion via speculation in the commodity futures markets.
When you look at myself, Mr. Domina, and Mr. Sasse, you’ve got candidates of parity, charity, and austerity. The Republicans want farmers at the mercy of Wall Street. The Democrats want to bail them out with subsidies and crop insurance. I’m the only candidate who wants them to be guaranteed the fair price [parity] they’ve earned.Dan on Agriculture
Dan's position on immigration is a reminder that under his program of 30 million new high-wage jobs, our immigrants will be a much needed component of our blooming economy, especially in agriculture. These workers should be immediately brought up the status that the rest of Americans enjoy, so as to prevent them from being exploited and from driving wages down.Dan on Immigration
EPA Water Regulation
Dan is against EPA overreach that ultimately restricts agricultural production. Dan also noted the overreach of the EPA into areas such as energy production. The way around such invasive and stifling regulation would be to invest in 21st century energy, infrastructure, and research into new areas of technology.
Where is our moon landing for this generation? Is it going to be fusion power? How do you afford such research? You have to harness the Federal Reserve to pay for that.Dan on the EPA, Energy, and National Research
Country of Origin Labeling (COOL)
Dan supports openly negotiated trade agreements, and protection of the Nebraskan beef industry via such agreements as COOL. Dan reminded the audience that trade is essential to the modern nation. One of the main facilitators of US trade and job supporters of small businesses is the Export-Import Bank. Dan's support for this “independent, self-sustaining agency with an 80-year record of supporting US jobs by financing the export of American goods and services,” was evident.Dan on Trade and the Export-Import Bank
Dan Pokes a Member of the Establishment
Dan effectively poked the establishment on Monday evening by pulling a red flag on Ben Sasse, a Tea Party favorite whose bio reads like a DC insider. Sasse claims to be a Nebraskan homeboy who wants to be a politician because he’s a “Dad.” However, his establishment career suggests that the position of Nebraska Senator may be just another stepping-stone on his way to the White House.
A former employee of the elite Boston Consulting Group, Sasse advised the FBI, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and the Government of Iraq. His position as assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Humans Services along with his degrees from Yale, Princeton, and Harvard make him just a bit more than a father concerned for his daughter’s future. Ben Sasse is without a doubt a figure of the establishment.
After a disingenuous display of bragging about his Nebraskan donors, Dan caught Sasse off guard by noting his many Super PAC and out-of-state donors:
I'm sorry Mr. Sasse but your largest donors are the Senate Conservatives Fund and big PACs from the coasts.
Although not audible on the recording, reports are that the state fair crowd seemed to enjoy watching Sasse squirm in his seat as his donor-base was outed by a fellow 5th generation Nebraskan. Sasse's bragging about the majority of his funding being from Nebraskan donors can be refuted by facts on the official FEC website.Dan pulling a red flag on Sasse
Despite Dan’s jab at a rather dubious, up-and-coming figure of the establishment, his closing statement was an important reminder of what, institutionally, the establishment really is:
When deciding who to vote for, remember Republicans and Democrats in reality offer the same vision for America: one where Wall Street speculators, corporate interests, and too-big-to-fail banks control the congressional agenda. During the course of this campaign I’ve listened to Nebraskans. And we need a Senator who will vote based on what’s good for America, and not what’s good for Wall Street.
The pervasive influence of Wall Street means Nebraskans like you don't get the support you need for educational funding, infrastructure projects, strengthening the social safety net. We want to shift the tax burden away from hard-working taxpayers and on to Wall Street. With my plan, we can rebuild infrastructure and the economy by creating 30 million new good-paying jobs with public credit, not with debt to China. Imagine mobilizing the Federal Reserve bank to act like a national bank that creates credit like our founding fathers intended. Instead of bailing out the banks we can rebuild America and the American way of life by creating 30 million great-paying jobs. With my leadership we can build public infrastructure and get back on track. I ask for your vote and I ask for you to join us as we historically challenge Washington to move away from Wall Street interests and back toward the common interest. I’m Dan Buhrdorf and I will fight for you in Washington.Dan's closing statement
For the full details of Dan's economic recovery program, visit DanForNebraska.com.