Preaching to the Choir?
In many ways the close to 50 individuals who showed up at the state Capitol Tuesday to oppose the budget put forth by Republicans in Congress were preaching to the choir of Connecticut’s all-Democratic Congressional delegation.
But that didn’t matter.
They weren’t there to talk about the continuing resolution the House approved Tuesday, which acts as a three-week stopgap measure. They were there to “Defend the Dream” and talk about the Republican budget proposal which cuts $100 billion from the federal budget.
The protest comes as budget talks between Republicans, Democrats and President Barack Obama seem stalled and it was one of 276 similar protests across the country.
While the size of the crowd wasn’t as big as some of the protests past and present, it was just as passionate as the hundreds gathered a few weeks ago defending the rights of Wisconsin workers to collectively bargain.
Not well-versed on Connecticut’s budget situation, the group including a MoveOn.org organizer from Massachusetts and a college professor, attempted to inspire the crowd as they focused on the federal budget situation.
Deb Emmelman, a state college professor, said she showed up at Tuesday’s rally because she’s angry and frustrated. She said she wants to hold the people causing the economic problems accountable and force the wealthy to pay their fair share.
Using statistics she dug up on Citizens for Tax Justice, a public interest research organization focusing on tax policies, Emmelman said the lowest 20 percent of income earners in Connecticut pay 12 percent of their income in taxes, while the wealthiest 1 percent pay 6.5 percent of their income in taxes. She said that’s not fair.
She said recently the wealthiest 1 percent in the country benefited from the extension of the Bush tax cuts, while the lower income individuals saw few little benefit.
Pat Fiero, the MoveOn.org organizer, said the $100 billion in cuts included in the Republican budget proposal will result in 65,000 teachers being laid off, drastic cuts to community health centers and Head Start programs, in addition to financial aid for low income college students.
She said in Connecticut alone 8,700 jobs will be lost as a result of the proposal. Nationwide 700,000 jobs will be lost and 10,000 veterans will be left homeless, Fiero said.
In addition to the budget cuts, Fiero urged those in attendance to text the word “GIVE” to a Wisconsin group that is attempting to recall all the Republican lawmakers there who voted to repeal certain collective bargaining rights of unionized workers.
U.S. Rep. John B. Larson said he voted against Tuesday’s continuing budget resolution.
“Republicans must stand up to the extremists in their party who would rather shut down the government than compromise on their reckless demands which would throw 700,000 more Americans out of work and weaken the middle class,” Larson said in a press release.
“Our Caucus stands firm on Social Security, Medicare, and the education needed to drive innovation in this economy to out innovate, out educate, and out grow our competition. We know that the best way to reduce the deficit is to put Americans back to work; and that’s what we want to do.”
The continuing resolution passed 271-158 Tuesday by the House will go to the Senate before the end of the week for approval. U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Joseph Lieberman haven’t said how they will be voting on the resolution.