A small group of protesters gathered outside U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman’s Hartford office Thursday afternoon to ask him to change his mind on extending the Bush-era tax cuts to all Americans.
“We’re out here today to try and encourage Senator Lieberman to vote for the middleclass tax cuts and not vote for the bailout or the tax cuts for the upper two percent,” David Nanfeldt of Southington said.
Lieberman has been saying since at least Sept. 13 that he is in favor of extending the Bush era tax cuts for all income brackets.
“I don’t think it makes sense to raise any federal taxes during the uncertain economy we are struggling through,” Lieberman said on Sept. 13. “The more money we leave in private hands, the quicker our economic recovery will be. And that means I will do everything I can to make sure Congress extends the so-called Bush tax cuts for another year and takes action to prevent the estate tax from rising back to where it was.”
Lieberman’s spokeswoman Erika Masonhall said in news release Thursday that “Senator Lieberman has indicated that we should consider raising the revenue necessary to guarantee our country’s economic security from the wealthiest Americans, but not when the economic recovery would be jeopardized by a tax increase.”
“Senator Lieberman’s priority is getting the economy moving and creating jobs for the people of Connecticut and America,” Masonhall added.
U.S. Rep. Jim Himes is the only other member of Connecticut’s delegation in favor of extending tax cuts across all income brackets, but he disagrees with Republicans that want to make the tax cuts permanent.
Len Lombardi, another protester who showed up outside Lieberman’s office Thursday, said he’s fairly well off, but is concerned with the widening gap between the rich and poor in this country.
“We don’t think the tax cuts should be extended to people that have so much money,” Lombardi said. He said it’s also not fair that payroll taxes aren’t collected on anything more than $90,000 in income.
A recent New York Times Magazine story, which offered a question and answer segment with 84-year-old hedge fund manager Peter Peterson, revealed that the billionaire receives a $2,700 Social Security check each month. He told the Times he gives it away to a foundation aimed at lowering the national deficit and dealing with the nation‘s long term financial problems.
The very notion that he even receives a Social Security check when Washington is talking about lowering Social Security benefits infuriates Lombardi and his wife, Dana.
Peterson told the Times that he thinks Social Security benefits for the wealthy should be reduced and increased for the poorest 20 percent.
As they waited for a representative from Lieberman’s office to take their arguments back up to the office they talked about why the tax cuts shouldn’t be extended to the wealthy.
“Tax cuts for the top 2 percent mean program cuts for the other 98 percent,” was just one of the arguments the group wrote down. “The wealthiest 2 percent have not used their tax savings to create jobs,” was another.
One member of the group called the extension a threat to democracy.
But won’t extending the tax cuts to the wealthy, responsible for job growth, help everyone?
“We haven’t seen it yet,” Nanfeldt said.
The group handed Frank Rowe, Lieberman’s Congressional aide, their list of reasons why he should favor middle class tax relief and not a “millionaire bailout” as their signs suggested.