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N.C. workers and retirees tell Congress to protect safety net, tax the rich

Jeremy Sprinkle
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Contact: Jeremy Sprinkle, Communications Director, 336-255-2711, [email protected]


At meetings with Congressional Reps. and Sen. Hagan, constituents ask for promises not to cut Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security to pay for more giveaways to the top 2%

(RALEIGH, NC - 11/8/12) – Two days after the election, middle-class families in North Carolina told their stories about how they would be hurt if Congress cuts Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security to extend George Bush’s tax cuts for the top 2%. At meetings in Asheville, Greensboro, and Raleigh, constituents delivered letters for Congressmen Heath Shuler and Mel Watt and Senator Kay Hagan, respectively, urging them to promise now to not cut the social safety net to further fill the already-deep pockets of the richest 2%.

Painful automatic budget cuts that will cost jobs for the middle class, cut education for children, and deepen economic insecurity are scheduled to kick in at the beginning of next year unless Congress passes legislation to cancel them. Simply letting the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2% expire as originally intended would raise $1.2 trillion - more than enough to cancel the cuts.

“The folks we represent, we can’t ask them to do with less,” said Jim Moore, president of the North Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans. “They are barely making it by as it is. To take their money and give it to the top 2% would be immoral.”

“I’ve spent my life working hard to pay the bills for myself and my family. I believe that every person deserves the chance to retire in dignity. Two years out from the next election, we need Senator Hagan to show us that she shares that belief,” said Dave Haynes of Roxboro.

“I voted Tuesday to protect the programs that protect my family and for a President who says the top 2% can afford to pay more,” said Benny Hunnicutt of Lexington. “Now is the time for Congressman Watt to say ‘NO’ to more tax cuts for the richest 2% of Americans! Say ‘NO’ to benefit cuts for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid!”

President Bush’s tax cuts for the richest 2% were a monumental failure. They failed to create jobs, and they were an outrageous waste of money. A new study by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service finds no evidence that tax cuts for the rich increase economic growth.

“The election may have just ended, but North Carolina’s working families are already mobilizing to hold Congress accountable, telling them we can’t afford to make cuts to our social safety net to transfer more wealth to the already-wealthy,” said state AFL-CIO president James Andrews. “Voters rejected that kind of Romney-economics when they re-elected President Obama.”

“You cannot seriously claim to be worried about spending while wanting to shower the richest 2% with tax giveaways that would cost the rest of us $1 trillion over 10 years,” said Mark Case, Asheville-area AFL-CIO president. “I don’t think Rep. Shuler wants such a wrong-headed policy to be his legacy. We are sure he realizes that working families who rely on these vital programs need more economic security, not less.”


The North Carolina State AFL-CIO is the largest association of local unions and union councils in North Carolina, representing over one-hundred thousand union members, fighting for good jobs, safe workplaces, workers’ rights, consumer protections, and quality public services on behalf of all working families. PO Box 10805, Raleigh, NC 27605.

Constituents meet with Senator Kay Hagan's staff member (front right) in Raleigh, ask Hagan to reject more tax cuts for the rich, benefit cuts for the rest.

Constituents explain to Rep. Shuler's staff why holding the line against benefit cuts, tax cuts for the rich matters.