It came out last year that Republican Senator Sean Nienow of Cambridge was more than $900,000 in debt because of a failed small business loan he’d borrowed.
Last week, Nienow was cleared of the indebted $840,000. But instead of admitting he made poor financial decisions and working out a loan repayment plan, he tried to paint the business attempt as something for which he should be praised:
If people don’t take risks with businesses we don’t have an economy. On paper, everything worked. Everything looked responsible.
Jon Tevlin of the Strib pointed out that recklessly spending other people’s money, as demonstrated by Nienow’s inability to keep up on payments, is one of the easiest things to do. If Nienow has shown that he can’t even keep his own financial situation in check, how can Minnesotans expect him–as a member of the Senate Finance Committee–to responsibly manage our tax dollars?
Nienow’s campaigns have been filled with rhetoric that touts him as “fiscally conservative” and a watch dog of taxpayer money. But considering that 75 percent of the hundreds of thousands of dollars Nienow owed lenders will be repaid by the federal government, it seems the senator doesn’t see the contradiction between claiming you’re fiscally conservative and taking what Nienow would surely call a government handout to help relay his six-figure debt.
There are also some flaws in logic for one to call himself fiscally conservative when the only reason he was able to file for bankruptcy was because of work championed by progressive legislators like Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who brought the issue of bankruptcy in the context of middle-class families to Congress in 2005.
If fiscally conservative policies are Nienow’s way to go, then why must he rely on policies proposed by lawmakers who share vastly different financial views from him?
The short answer is because progressive legislation works for everyone who may find themselves in difficult times, not only those who may never have to worry about struggling.
If fiscally conservative politicians had been able to get their hands on bankruptcy reform, Nienow could have easily found himself with a nearly million dollar tab and no solution. With seven children living at home and a family income reported at $2,600 per month, that would have been nearly impossible for Nienow to pay off.
As he brags about his small business plan in an attempt to glorify the failed loan, Nienow may want to keep in mind that he’s only debt-free because taxpayers are footing his bill.