In his column today, Paul Krugman rips “proud centrists” such as Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ben Nelson (D-NE), who fashioned the Senate’s compromise recovery legislation. That “compromise” includes slashing aid to schools and states that was originally in the House package. Today on MSNBC, Nelson played semantics, claiming that the “cuts” were really just “adjustments downward”:
Q: Do you agree, or how do you respond to Paul Krugman in the New York Times who said that centrists have done their best to “make the plan weaker and worse?”
NELSON: Well, first of all, they’re not cuts. Let’s just get that up front. These are adjustments downward from numbers that were offered by the House in their version and by the Senate in its version.
Nelson’s compromise bill provides 12 to 15 percent fewer jobs than the House legislation. Yglesias notes that Nelson helped cut one of the “least-controversial and most highly-stimulative provisions, deciding that that was a good place for ‘adjustments downward.’”