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Posted July 27, 2011 | comments 6 Comments

Local protesters heed national call

Group pickets Wolf's office, demanding protection for Medicare, Social Security

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

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.

6 Comments | Leave a comment

    They should have went to the Insurance Office and the Gas Company and then the other monopolies, because that is who actually runs the country, not the puppets in Congress.

    If we didn't elect this phony and unqualified President we wouldn't have to cross this overspending bridge now. This guy doesn't have a clue how to lead! We can only hope there will be a leader surface soon. The best thing we can hope for is that OBAMA will step down soon. Oh by the way, why does his company (GE) get subsidies and don't pay any corporate income tax? You should have to take a test before being allowed to vote.

    Sebring, Fl.

    "Smith argued that executives of large corporations can make billions of dollars and pay roughly 15 percent in taxes"

    Where is this man getting his info? Last I checked the tax rate for individuals making over $379K was 35%. Is he implying that these executives have enough deductibles to bring their taxable income down to $8,500-$34,500 (the 15% tax bracket)? I don't think so. No, he's using moveon.org talking points and villifying large corporations.

    I suppose the 15% he is talking about is the corporate taxes. Do these people realize that when a corporation makes a billion dollars in profit it doesn't all go into the pockets of the CEO or Board of Directors? Sure, they get their share (and rightfully so if they are running that profitable of a company) for which they will pay individual income taxes. But a lot more people profit as well, including employees and stockholders. Big business is not the evil empire, it's what drives our economy.

    Suggesting somehow that the Republicans would be for "raising taxes" (Meaning closing tax loopholes, not actually RAISING taxes mind you) on GE? Or ANYONE?

    You want to blame Obama for the shortcomings in corporate taxes from GE when, if it were up to Republicans, ALL major corporations would pay as little as they do?

    Nevermind the implication that somehow "The Maverick" and "Mrs. Paul Revere" would have made this all better... Though I guess it could be said that the Dems wouldn't have played THIS game with the debt-ceiling. Oh sure, they'd have whined and made a show about it like they did all SEVEN times Bush raised it, but they wouldn't have held the country hostage over it...

    Here is a thought! Stop sending billions of our tax dollars over seas for the soul purpose of combating the (so-called) over population problem. Use that money to prop up medicare and Social Security. Ease up on the enviromental restrictions and start drilling for our own oil and natural gas and coal minning. Bring American Industry back home where it belongs and then we can start paying our own way. And here is another thought. Start having more babies so those babies can grow up and start contributing to the system. The current declinning birth rate we are now experiencing will only make the matter worse. If you think we have a problem with Social Security and Medicare now wait another 30 or 40 years when fewer and fewer people are joining the work force due to the declining birth rates that we are now seeing. Wake up America! We are destroying ourselves in the name Choice. We should be having more children instead of rushing to the abortion clinics and the birth control clinics.

    Front Royal Mayor Darr says I am easily confused when these national concerns are framed in the context of local political personalities and local issues. Does my "self-inflicted confusion" allow Mr. Wolf to escape his legislative responsibilities while I foolishly attempt contemplating Mr. Darr's self-serving explanation of my confused stupidity?

    These demonstrators placed Mr. Wolf in the spotlight but he could not explain all he understands about fiscal responsibility at the national level causing increased unemployment at the local level. He chose, instead, to toot the patriotic horn of what a great country we have that allows protest demonstrations in front of his local office. Mr. Wolf-In-Sheepskin-Clothing can cram the fewest thoughts into the most words of anybody I know.

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