Missoulians to Protest Rehberg’s “Cut, Cap and Balance” Vote, Friday Noon… Send a Message to Baucus and Tester too?

By JC

If you’ve been paying attention to all the hoopla, you’ve heard by now that the House passed a draconian bill to address the looming crisis over the debt ceiling. I’m not going to go into details. Pogie put up a nice summation of what is going on over at ID, and I’ve got some comments about what’s going on there.

As part of the discussion over there, Steve W. mentions that there will be a protest at Rep. Rehberg’s Missoula office at high noon on this friday in front of Rehberg’s office at 301 E. Broadway.

While showing solidarity against Rehberg’s vote is a good thing, I still feel that everybody left of center should be aware that part of the right wing strategy here is to suck democrats into some kind of vote against Medicare and/or Social Security and Medicaid so as to blunt the effects of them having gone on record as wanting to privatize Medicare with their budget vote in the spring.

Republicans would love nothing better than to be able to turn the tables on dem candidates by showing them to have voted against Medicare, S.S. and/or Medicaid on the debt ceiling vote.

And of course, we have no way of knowing what will be in the final debt ceiling bill, and how our two dem senators will vote. Which is why I’d like to suggest that folks turn out in droves to the protest at Rehberg’s office and carry signs telling Baucus and Tester to keep their hands off of Medicare, S.S. and Medicaid cuts.

For those who want a bit more meta on the debt ceiling story from the left, George Ochenski has a great article “Dear Democrats” over at the Missoula Indy. And he puts my sentiments very clearly:

“When I hear Obama say Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are all part of what might have to be chopped in his secret deal-making with Republican leaders, deep resentment wells up in me. And I am not alone.

…there are a handful of Democrats, including former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who say they will never renege on Social Security. But it’s a very tough thing for Democrats who want to keep faith with the party’s working-class base when their President is so obviously willing to give in to outrageous Republican demands…

So here’s the simple message to Democrats: We are watching and we are fed up with you selling us out. Your choice at this juncture is equally simple: Listen up—or lose.”

I’ve appended a version of the email alert that went out in Missoula today about the rally after the jump.

————–
MEDIA ADVISORY

For Immediate Release

CONTACTS:
Starla Gade, Chair Missoula County Democrats/MoveOn Member (cell) 406-529-0622
Mark Anderlik, Missoula Area Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO (cell) 406-207-1884

Missoulians to Rep. Rehberg: Support Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid

Local Residents To rally at Representative Rehberg’s Congressional Office at:
Friday, July 22, 301 E. Broadway, Missoula – Noon – 1pm

As Republicans in Congress continue to oppose a debt deal just so they can protect tax breaks for millionaires, local Missoula MoveOn members will join with Missoula Area Central Labor Council, Missoula County Democrats and Montana Organizing Project to rally at the office of Rep. Rehberg urging him to prevent a major economic catastrophe by ensuring America does not default on its debts and maintain support of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. This local grassroots movement will rally in front of Representative Rehberg’s congressional office with signs and support for those who would be most affected by this potential disaster. We will also deliver this message to his staff.

“Why is Congress seriously considering cuts in benefits for seniors, children and those least able to provide for themselves, when many hugely profitable corporations are paying little to nothing in taxes?” said Mark Anderlik, Pres., Missoula Area Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO.

If Congress does not vote to lift the debt ceiling by August 2nd, many financial analysts and economists warn it could send America’s economy into a tailspin. So far, the House Republican Leadership is refusing to prevent this economic disaster from happening all so they can protect tax breaks for millionaires and corporations. If Congress does not vote to lift the debt ceiling, Americans could witness a major meltdown in the financial markets, and seniors may stop receiving their social security checks.

“We are here today to tell Rep. Rehberg that the Republicans in Congress must stop threatening our nation’s economic future just so they can protect tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires,” said local Missoula County Democrat Chair “Rep. Rehberg must do what’s needed to protect the American economy from disaster, and start putting Montana’s before corporations and the rich.”

WHAT: Rally to Support Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid
WHO: Local members of MoveOn, Missoula Area Central Labor Council, Missoula County Democrats and Montana Organizing Project.
WHERE: Rep. Rehberg’s office 301 E Broadway, Missoula
WHEN: Friday, July 22, Noon – 1pm

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  1. Excellent. It is really the U.S. citizens versus both parties. We must stop our Democratic senators and president from “strengthening” (read: cut) Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Do not for any congressperson of either party that touches ONE cent of those three programs.

  2. Buzz Feedback

    Will they go protest Baucus and Tester if they signal they would support something like the Gang of Six plan? I won’t hold my breath.

    • Of the plans being offered today, the Gang of Six plan is the least painful to both the recovery of the economy and the future budget welfare of the US. That said, it is not anywhere near a perfect solution. To truly resolve the issue the following would have to occur –

      1) The wars would have to end. These financial black holes have damaged the US economy to the point that ending them should be a no brainer. Sadly, none of the plans even address this issue.

      2) Medicare and Medicaid would have to be addessed – see my previous comment

      3) Corporate Welfare would have to end. This simply won’t happen in today’s political world. The corporations have too much money tied up in buying politicians for them to end that revenue source for campaigning.

      4) the Tax Structure would have to be resolved. While the gang of six plan does somewhat address this, they fall way short of actually making a difference in the overall scheme of things. The Bush Tax cuts damaged us a great deal and continue to damage us as long as they are in place.

      There are other things that would have to be done but, as with the above four things, there isn’t enough political will on Congress do any of it. They will end up passing the McConnell plan and we – the taxpayers – will take it in the shorts.

  3. I left out “vote”. Do not vote for any body who would touch one red cent of these programs. We pay into a fund for Social Security and Medicare. It is supposedly invested in T-Bills which must be redeemed when tendered. If not, then get the money from the crooks who stole it, not from we the people. But if you are a typical liberal, you will just care about some pet cause of yours and sell working people down the river which actually includes you.
    I’ve been fed up for a long time with this farce, this kabuki theater of the so-called two party system. It was obvious that Obama was put in place to dismantle the New Deal. Bush couldn’t do it. Read Paul Street or Glen Ford on blackagendareport.com. Don’t waste time railing on just the Republicans. It’s their intransigence that has kept Obama so far from tearing a teeny but lethal hole in the social safety net. It wasn’t Bush who created the Cat Food Commission over the objections of Congress. Gang of Six is gang rape of working Americans. Shared sacrifice means we are the sacrifice and then they take our share.

    • Steve W

      back in January when they cut workers retirement contributions to Social Security Insurance by 33% i knew the economic issue was total BS.

      SS is costing too much so lets cut revenues?

      Only an idiot would fall for that.

      It’s create a crisis.

  4. Not that I think posting my opinion matters here at all, but Medicare/Medicaid has to be addressed. By itself, it will end up bankrupting America because it was based on the flawed assumption that actual medical costs would not rise faster than inflation. As we all know, that was not the case. The only way to save Medicare/Medicaid would be to either institute universal Health Care, or figure out a way to fix medical and pharmasutical costs. Since both of these things are currently politically unfeasable (though absolutely necessary), Medicaid/Medicare is likely to take a huge hit when the budget is finally addressed. Maybe, just maybe, it will encourage enough people to get active about actually addressing the real issue with health care in America – the runaway costs of actual health care. Free market forces are meaningless to an industry that is insulated by both the Insurance industry and the Federal Government. This can only be addressed by legislation. This is where the ACA failed. In fact, the ACA only made the problem worse. I know many of you see it as a “necessary first step” but that means nothing if the second step isn’t taken.

    As far as SS, I agree with you. It is solvent at least until 2035 and would be solvent again if more people were back to work. Further, most of the problems with SS could be fixed by adjusting the maximum income you pay SS on. Since the current number is unrealistic in todays world, it makes sense to do that. Sadly, when did making sense ever mean anything in today’s politics?

    • JC

      Well, Medicare and Medicaid were addressed in the ACA, love it or leave it. And that process took months and months of hearings, testimony, debate, yada, yada. Even given that Baucus suppressed the ideas of a whole contingent of single payer advocates, the ACA was nothing if it wasn’t thorough and tedious legislating.

      Allowing Medicare, S.S., or Medicaid to come under attack in behind the doors negotiations and be gutted without any public input is tantamount to the dem party giving up all that it stands (stood???) for.

      A debt ceiling bill is the absolute wrong vehicle for discussing matters of major policy like Medicare, which is why it has never been done before.

      And if Tester and Baucus want to get sucked into that debate and vote to cut those programs without having their constituency weigh in and a lengthy public debate in the regular legislative process, well, then there will be hell to pay at the polls. And not just because I say so. But because a majority of Montanans don’t want to see cuts there, they would rather see tax increases.

      Take a look at this recent poll I posted last week. Unless dems don’t believe that Montanans are good to their word, then they will not vote against Medicare, S.S., or Medicaid. To do so is political death at the polls next year.

      • ” Unless dems don’t believe that Montanans are good to their word, then they will not vote against Medicare, S.S., or Medicaid. To do so is political death at the polls next year.”

        They may not have a choice if it comes down to either voting for a debt ceiling bill that includes them or voting against it. Believe me when I say that defaulting on our debt is a much larger issue than any changes in Medicaid and Medicare. If you think it isn’t you aren’t paying attention. Our defaulting will effect the entire world’s economy.

        As far as Medicaid and Medicare being “addressed” by the ACA, please explain that one to me. How did the ACA resolve the issues with funding for Medicaid and Medicare?

        • JC

          Have you forgotten the details of the ACA? Remember it was mandated to reduce the deficit. There are many, many structural changes including revenue raisers and expense streamlining.

          Don’t you think those should be given a chance to see if they are effective? Or should we just play craps in the dark and hope for a good turnout?

          And I’m not one usually to do your homework for you, but there are multitudes of sites explaining the mechanics of the ACA. Here’s just one on revenue raisers. Need more?

          • Nothing in that link was news to me (though a few elements listed have been specifically challenged in court). What this site (and every other site I have looked at) has failed to show is just how much revenue these “measures” have supposedly generated. Further, no site I can find has compared those revenues with the exponencial increase in both health care actual costs and health care insurance since the passage of ACA. You have made some rather broad statements that ACA provides funding for Medicare/Medicaid but you have failed to back those statements up. It is not my job to prove your statements for you. The Congressional Budget Office has stated many times that Medicare/Medicaid – as it exists now with ACA – will exceed our ability to pay for it by the end of the Decade. This is a very real issue – one you seem incapable of even admitting exists.

            • JC

              So you admit we got a decade until Medicaid/Medicare expenses exceed revenue. Why the hurry to “fix” it in a last minute back-room hostage situation? Sounds like you’ve been drinking the tea.

              Why should I be concerned about a problem that isn’t going to have any impact for a decade? Much more pressing issues at hand–like ending 2 wars. Why don’t you advocate we end the wars in the debt ceiling bills? That would save trillions down the road? Or is propping up faux democracies in foreign lands more important than taking care of our seniors and disabled?

              • First, I did not say that Medicare/Medicaid would not impact the Federal Budget for a decade. I said that it would exceed our ability to pay it by 2020. It is already impacting the budget and is one of the largest expenditures we have today. That is why there is so much focus on it.

                As far as the wars, I have been steadfast in my support for ending them before it was “vogue” to do so. I have a son and daughter in law in the military and they have already been impacted by these useless wars. In fact, if you look at the first reply I posted to this thread, I listed ending the wars. I am not your enemy, quit trying to make me one.

              • JC

                I’m not trying to make you an enemy. I just don’t think that my post was about debating the future solvency of Medicare. I just don’t happen to think it is an issue that needs to be attended to in a hostage-style, backroom, 11th hour debt ceiling bill.

                I disagree that the focus on Medicare right now is because of its prominence in the budget. The focus is on it for ideological reasons, that the right wants to privatize at a minimum, dissolve it on the extreme. ANd as long as Medicare is being attacked ideologically, it should be done in the normal process.

                The tea party is trying to use the Rahm Emanuel tactic of not letting any crisis go unexploited. Except here, the tea party is creating the crisis by playing chicken with the debt ceiling.

                I’m not anti-reform. You should know that about me by now. I just think that major reform needs to be accomplished in the regular process. Democrats allowing a debt ceiling bill to become a vehicle for major changes to hugely popular government programs is not “reform”. It is giving the hostage taker what he wants in hopes he goes away and doesn’t take a hostage again.

                Except as we’ve seen, our president is susceptible to ransom demands. And he doesn’t seem to be learning his lesson.

      • Further, who are Dems suppose to vote for if they don’t vote for Tester? Rehberg (who just voted for the cut cap and balance bill)? If you are suggesting that they just not vote, I am sure Rehberg will appreciate that. Sadly, we just don’t get much of a choice in today’s elections. You are welcome to prove me wrong… forward a candidate to primary out Tester and explain why I should vote for them. As it stands now, I will vote for Tester because he is better than Rehberg – unless he votes not to increase the debt limit. In that event, I think things could get really interesting before the next elections. I think I will go back to cleaning my guns now.

        • JC

          If dems want to vote for politicians who are participating in the unravelling of the three pillars of liberal social contract, thats their problem. And they’ll have to pay for it at the polls.

          WHo should they vote for? I think dems would probably have to worry more about just getting voters out of their apathy for dem candidates and out to the polls. If 2010 was any indication, any more negative news for dems, and turnout is going to be even worse. And if dems are betting on running on Obama’s coattails again, ell, good luck with that.

  5. Quest

    If you take a look at the event on the facebook link, folks are asked to contact Sen. Tester & Baucus as well and express their support over Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as well.

    Rehberg’s location is the closest thing to a local Republican office, and while much of the focus is on his votes, all representatives to Montana should hear this same clear message.

    • Dem Antidote

      Electronic links to representatives are like pissing in the ocean. Contact is an illusion. They prefer you do that, as you have no way of knowing if anyone read it.

      Why not carry signs at Tester and Baucus offices? Why are you concerned about the ones you know will not support you rather than the ones who supposedly will?

  6. Ingemar Johansson

    Sorry, I can’t make the protest.

    Throw a couple bricks thru Denny’s windows for me.

  7. Pete Talbot

    I was at the rally in front of Baucus’ office two years ago when he wimped out on health care reform. I will be at the rally in front of Rehberg’s office on Friday to denounce his social security/medicare/medicaid cuts.

    That’s how I do things, anyways.

  8. Smurf

    The only change to Medicare/Medicaid that needs to happen this year is to negotiate drug prices, Right now the drug prices have the program’s cost skewed.

    http://theincidentaleconomist.com/wordpress/what-if-medicares-drug-benefit-was-more-like-the-vas/

    Anyway these programs are nothing compared to the Wars

    http://thinkprogress.org/health/2011/07/14/269827/medicare-iraq-afghanistan/

  9. Ingemar Johansson

    Couldn’t resist.

    • lizard19

      thank god Rehberg had enough integrity to avoid taking credit for stimulus funded projects that he is so ideological opposed to.

    • Steve W

      Iraq spent it all.

      Thanks Ingy for being accountable for our mess.

  10. rawr

    I like how you’re “not going to go into details” about cut, cap and balance. That’s because you didn’t even read the details. You’re just a partisan hack and cheerleader of all things “progressive.” We don’t need cheerleaders anymore. We need coaches.

    • we don’t need any more coaches. we need the people to rise up and demand that their government represent them.

      we need a new party in america. one that represents people- not corporations who pay politicians to ignore us.

    • JC

      Partisan hack??? Hahahahahahaha. You obviously haven’t been paying much attention to what’s been going on lately.

      And I did read the details. This post is about a protest. Not about the content of a bill that is DOA.

      And a coach? That’s rich. What kind of coaches do you think we need? Ones to coach the cheerleaders? Just like in high school?




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