St. LOUIS - "We cannot cut our way to job creation," the Rev. Roosevelt Broadnax told labor and community allies here as they held a Dec. 10 press conference outside of the Delmar-Loop Social Security office.
"We cannot balance the budget at the expense of the middle class, or destroy programs that provide a measure of economic security for millions of Americans," he added. "We need to do what's right for all Americans, not just a few Americans, not just the two percent."
The Delmar-Loop Social Security office is just a few blocks away from Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill's St. Louis office.
"Medicare and Social Security are bedrock programs that Missouri's seniors depend on," said Earline Jones, from the Missouri Alliance of Retired Americans. "Any deal that includes cutting either of these programs is a nonstarter for seniors, families, children and workers who rely on them."
Jones, who also serves as a vice president for the Communication Workers' Union of America (CWA) Local 6300, added, "Social Security did not cause this deficit and it should not be used to fix it."
"Washington, do not use our hard earned benefits as a piggy bank," she added.
"With any cuts to programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, the seniors and people that I care for would be forced to choose between whether or not they pay rent, buy groceries or purchase their critical prescriptions," Ella Giles, a home health-care worker told the press conference.
"That's not a choice we should be forcing our seniors to make just so that we can give another tax break to the wealthiest two-percent."
Alex Townsend, with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), said, "Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security must not be cut. The wealthiest two percent need to pay their fair share."
Broadnax added, "We need to wake the town and tell the people 'We're tired and fed-up, but we're not going to take it anymore.'"
He chastised the Republican obstructionists in Congress and said, "They were elected to represent all Americans not just the two percent."
He then praised President Obama and Sen. McCaskill and added, "Stand firm. Preserve the tax cuts for working Americans. Make the wealthy pay their fair share."
Directly following the press conference, people delivered letters to Sen. McCaskill's office from constituents across the state urging her to protect vital programs that millions of Missourians and Americans depend on during the current fiscal cliff crisis.
The press conference was called by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, the Service Employees International Union, the National Education Association, and numerous other coalition partners including the AFL-CIO.
Photo: Tony Pecinovsky/PW