Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cantor's Constituents Speak Against His Threats to Cut Safety Net Programs

As Congress is preparing to form the debt ceiling super committee that will make further reductions to the deficit, most Americans want Congress to take a balanced approach that addresses the deficit but doesn‘t destroy crucial programs. It’s simply not right, after all, to cut programs that impact the middle and working class while not asking the uber wealthy to share in the burden as well. Only one day after a debt ceiling deal was reached that only guaranteed substantial cuts, however, Eric Cantor told the Wall Street Journal that he believes we need to cut things like Medicare and Social Security without asking the rich to return to pay a little more in taxes.

Cantor, who primarily represented the tea party‘s interests in the first round of debt ceiling negotiations instead of those of his constituents, said that "promises have been made that frankly are not going to be kept for many.” This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Cantor put promises to his wealthy donors and wall street bankers ahead of the millions of Americans who are struggling to get by as we’re still recovering from the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression. Even when Paul Ryan’s plan to do away with Medicare as we know it and turn it into a voucher program was facing fierce opposition, Cantor was one of Ryan’s biggest supporters.

While Cantor might think it’s okay to break promises to the American people, his constituents realize the policies he’s promoting are wrong. Candace Graham, for instance, is a Chesterfield resident who joined a large group of Virginia’s at Cantor’s Glen Allen office a few weeks ago to protest his support of cuts to safety net programs. After hearing about her Congressman blatantly threatening the working class while saying the rich should get off without making sacrifices, Candance (through Virginia Organizing) released a statement making it clear Virginians aren’t standing by his abhorrent policies.
“As a constituent of Rep. Cantor’s I take exception to my congressman saying that the majority of his constituents want cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Poll after poll suggests that people of all ages would like to see the wealthy pay their fair share instead of cutting Medicare and Social Security. Rep. Cantor’s remarks are just one more reminder that he and many of his colleagues in Washington are out of touch with their constituents.”

“Rep. Cantor seems to have the absurd idea that those of us over the age of 55 have no concern about the retirement security of our children and grandchildren so long as our benefits are not attacked this time around. I am not content to tell my children to ‘adjust’ their lives to deal with the cuts to the safety net made by legislators who only represent the interests of the wealthy and corporations. Rep. Cantor said that ‘the math doesn’t lie,’ yet he ignores the math that suggests that ending the Bush tax cuts, closing tax loopholes and returning the tax rate to what it was under the Clinton administration would eliminate the need to raid our safety net.”
Candance isn’t alone in her opposition to Cantor’s remarks and Virginia Organizing is helping empower Virginians as they stand up for the middle and working class. Throughout the summer, for instance, they’ve had a Social Security Outreach program that’s made about 300 presentations (lead by 8 interns and a couple volunteers) that talked about the need to strengthen, not cut, Social Security. While that program ends in about a week, they will continue to organize against unnecessary cuts in the next round of deficit reduction.

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