Local protest calls for equality on taxes
Posted: February 21, 2013
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — A small group of protesters gathered downtown Wednesday to call for the preservation of social programs such as Medicare and Social Security.
They stood outside the Winchester office of Rep. Frank Wolf, R-10th, on North Cameron Street holding signs demanding that Congress make corporations pay rates equivalent to average workers before cutting social benefit programs.
The protests are part of a nationwide effort by left-leaning organizations, such as Americans for Tax Fairness, Fair Share Alliance and a wide range of unions and think tanks, amid continual debates over the federal budget that have some legislators in Congress calling for changes to Medicare and Social Security.
Shortly after 11 a.m., four protesters braving freezing temperatures quickly began to draw the attention of those passing by.
Winchester resident Audrey Corbin, 73, stopped to talk with the protesters as she walked on Cameron Street. And a short time later, she too was holding a sign.
“I can’t stand the thought of cutting Social Security or Medicare or Medicaid,” she said.
Corbin said she is a Democrat but has always voted for Wolf.
“I’ve always admired the work he’s done for seniors,” she said, noting that she hopes he will fight to preserve programs that serve the elderly.
In an interview last week after a similar local protest, Wolf advocated for a “grand bargain” fiscal solution along the lines of the Simpson-Bowles. That plan would close tax loopholes while also lowering rates. It would also aim to slow the spending growth of Medicare and gradually raise the age at which individuals would become eligible for Social Security.
Wolf has consistently called for the closing of corporate tax loopholes and often criticizes companies like General Electric Co., which he says paid no federal income tax for 2011.
One of the protesters, White Post resident Mary Bathory Vidaver, 51, said she lost her job last year and that her partner’s retirement savings were decimated by the recent recession, which she blamed on the George W. Bush administration’s failure to regulate the financial industry.
She said middle class families should not shoulder efforts to balance a federal budget that had a hole blown in it by Wall Street recklessness.
“I paid 33 percent of my income in taxes when I was working,” she said. “That’s fine — it’s part of being part of a civilized society.”
But she thinks every company and every individual should have to pay at least the same as her.
“If corporations are people, they should pay the same rate,” Bathory Vidaver said, referring to a Supreme Court ruling that deemed them as such.
— Contact Conor Gallagher at email@example.com