Group pickets Wolf's office, demanding protection for Medicare, Social Security
By Alex Bridges -- firstname.lastname@example.org
WINCHESTER -- More than a dozen people gathered outside Rep. Frank Wolf's downtown office on Tuesday afternoon to protest his stance on current issues, including the national debt and cuts to the federal budget.
A nationwide effort, spurred by the liberal group moveon.org, called upon people to tell their congressmen to protect funding for Social Security and other programs. Volunteers with AARP Virginia delivered more than 27,000 petitions calling on representatives not to cut Medicare or Social Security benefits to balance the federal budget.
"It was really not organized," said Clarke County resident Lowell Smith, standing outside Wolf's office at 102 N. Cameron St. "It was simply suggested by moveon.org that those who were interested in getting more social and economic justice and fairness might want to come to our congressman's office and let him know what we want."
A group stood holding picket signs expressing their views and demands, which included protection of Medicare and Social Security. One participant noted none of the congressman's aides were in the office when they gathered for about an hour.
"Part of what we want is we do want to balance the budget," Smith said. "We want to do it in a fair way, though, and doing it in a fair way means you have to have both revenue increases as well as some budget cuts."
Reached at his main office in Washington, Wolf, R-10th, lauded the participants for gathering and expressing their concerns.
"I think it's good that they're doing that," Wolf said. "Everyone has a right to be involved and I think that's very healthy."
The congressman noted he had not heard what the protesters said, but commented his position on the issues has remained the same for years.
"Everything should be on the table," Wolf said. "The country's in a difficult time and I think you have to come up with a bipartisan solution. You have to put everything on the table and these are tough times."
Smith claims Wolf supports budget cuts that affect the middle class and the poor but does not back increasing federal revenue. Smith argued that executives of large corporations can make billions of dollars and pay roughly 15 percent in taxes while middle-class workers give up about 37 percent of their income in taxes. The government could draw more revenue by taking "unfair advantages" away from wealthier citizens and balancing the budget, Smith said.
"But cutting poor people's Social Security, cutting Medicare aid and only focusing on that like Mr. Wolf wants to do is unfair, unjust and socially disruptive in the long run," Smith said.