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Protests at Right Wing "Fiscal Solutions Tour" in San Francisco and San Jose
The Peter G. Peterson Foundation and the Concord Coalition, right-wing think tanks that have railed against Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for years, have started a national "Fiscal Solutions Tour" to promote their agenda. Bay Area residents attending the presentations spoke out during Question and Answer sessions in favor of saving social programs, reducing military expenditure, and cutting health care costs with a single payer plan. There were protests outside the Fiscal Solutions Tour in San Francisco and San Jose, California.
Bottom line message from the Fiscal Solutions Tour: "After our financial and policy wizards have whisked away the temporary problems of unemployment, deflation, and war, there will be new, deep fiscal problems that will threaten America's economy and even its national security. To solve these problems, seniors, people with disabilities, and the poor must give up Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid."
In San Francisco, the Gray Panthers countered this right wing rhetoric with a message of their own: "These are the country's most successful, popular, and life-sustaining social programs. We've already paid into them. They are not failing. We will not give them up!" The Gray Panthers and allies protested outside the Commonwealth Club, where the Fiscal Solutions Tour presented yesterday.
On September 24th, members of California Alliance for Retired Americans and the Raging Grannies attended the Fiscal Solutions Tour in San Jose. After demonstrating outside the event, they listened to the speakers inside and asked some hard questions. The panel members avoided discussion of decreasing the military budget as a solution to the deficit and dismissed a single payer health care system out of hand. But most appallingly, one of the presenters spoke of the problem of borrowing from "other countries that do not share our values". The Raging Grannies addressed this last comment after the event, telling the Concord Coalition representatives that this kind of Tea-Party talk does not sit well with Californians or with anyone who appreciates diversity of cultures and is, in fact, racist.
Peterson tried to stampede the public into demanding Social Security cuts last June, with "America Speaks," nineteen razzle-dazzle Town Hall meetings held simultaneously across the country, and inter-connected by closed-circuit TV. It completely backfired. Though participants were given slanted background materials and slanted choices, they rejected cuts to social programs, endorsed higher taxes on the rich, demanded single-payer healthcare, and demanded huge military cuts.
Peterson's "Fiscal Solutions Tour" is another try at pushing the same message under more controlled surroundings.
Speakers in San Francisco included Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition; David M. Walker, president and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation; Isabel Sawhill, senior fellow in economic studies, Brookings Institution; Michael Boskin, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and Stanford economics professor. A similar line-up was at the San Jose Convention Center.
In both San Francisco and San Jose members of the audience as well as protesters sent a clear message to the Fiscal Solutions Tour: "Hands Off Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid!"
Protesters talked to television crews about their concerns with the right wing rhetoric of the "Fiscal Solutions Tour". In San Jose, California Alliance for Retired Americans spokesperson is interviewed by Telemundo Channel 48.
Tabling with literature to counter the skewed statistics being presented by the right wing inside. (San Jose)