Debt Ceiling Protest at Peter King's Office

MoveOn.org demonstrates against possible cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

A protest rally on the debt ceiling crisis was staged by MoveOn.org early Tuesday afternoon in front of the R-Seaford.

About 15 protestors from the group known to back liberal causes gathered outside of King's Park Boulevard office in Massapequa Park, holding signs and chanting slogans.

The federal government hit its so-called debt ceiling on May 16, and the Treasury Department has said if President Obama and Congress don't reach an agreement to raise it by Aug. 2, the government may no longer be able to pay their bills.

Bob McKee, a coordinator for the Nassau chapter of MoveOn.org, lives in Lindenhurst, which lies within King's Third District. McKee says he's concerned that the answer to slashing the nation's $14.3 trillion debt will come from cuts to vital services for the underprivileged.

"We, in MoveOn.org, have been planning for about a month now to visit all our representatives about the budget issue," McKee said. "If it goes through as presently planned, there will be cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid...basically the social network that keeps people out of poverty and keeps the elderly with medicine and proper medical care."

McKee said that the burden of taxation should fall upon the wealthy who've taken advantage of the system, as opposed to the downtrodden.

"Wall Streeters basically gambled our money away a few years ago," he said. "Now we're being asked again to foot the bill. We bailed them out once, and now they're turning to the most vulnerable among us in society to pay off the so-called deficit. It's the Debt Ceiling...we already spent the money. At least pay off the debtors, and in the process, ask to get money from those who most benefited from the many years of growth in America...the wealthy, the corporations."

"Bring the troops home, find them jobs, invest in infrastructure, put people to work," McKee added. "And ask those who benefited the most to pay taxes."

John Moore of Farmingdale has been an active member of MoveOn.org for several years.

"I've been with MoveOn.org since I retired in December of '09," he said. "The reason I go with MoveOn.org is that they have the best numbers on the street against the far right. My dream is for the left side to get comparable power that the right side has enjoyed for the last 40 years."

Georgia Yesmont of Huntington made the trek to Massapequa Park to make a statement about programs she feels very strongly about.

"I really believe that our benefits - Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid - did not create the troubles that we're having now...they don't cost the debt anything," she said. "It's important to protect these benefits...we need a safety net for people. I think that Congressmen become out of touch with ordinary people because they have so many benefits themselves."

Republicans in Congress have argued that the debt ceiling should not be raised unless they're accompanied by a reduction in the deficit. Many in the GOP insist that the reduction should come from spending cuts rather than tax increases.

King bashed the organization that staged the protest by releasing a statement saying, "I am proud to be opposed and picketed by Moveon.org."


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