Group holds candles to save Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - As we inch closer to the deadline to avoid going over a fiscal cliff, lawmakers work to find an agreement on a plan.

Monday evening, people in the Heartland met outside U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson's office to hold candles. They wanted to create awareness so lawmakers won't make cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid when they make a plan to prevent going over that fiscal cliff.

The group said cuts to those programs would make it very difficult for a lot of Missourians.

"Social Security makes up about half of my retirement so any cut to that would be devastating," said Roy Gunter.

Gunter stood outside in the cold holding his candle, to help prevent cuts to programs like Social Security.

"I can't say that it would bankrupt me, but it would certainly make it a lot harder for me to make it," said Gunter.

"It would mean that I would have to cut back," said David Meinell.

Meinell said government programs like these are important to everyone…young and old, wealthy and poor.

"The dollars that the elderly people that are retired receive goes directly back into the economy," said Meinell.

"They are possibly what separates us from being a Third World country," said Mark Baker.

"We have so many grandparents in this state who are taking care of their grandchildren, and that small benefit that is coming to those children is what really keeps them going and keeps them in school," said Judith Parker.

The group of Missouri workers who stood outside Monday evening said the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans needs to go.

"Seems like a very selfish thing for the people today to say you know I need more tax return, so you know, we'll throw the people who can't make it under the bus," said Gunter.

"It's time they pay their dues," said Parker.

Baker said the tax cuts to the wealthiest have proven that plan doesn't work to improve the economy.

"The whole concept that if you provide tax cuts at the top then they're the job creators and they'll trickle down, if that were true, then we would be in one of our most economic rich times because we've had the 2 percent tax cuts in place for so long," said Baker.

"We feel that we should be taken care of, and let the other folks who are at the top 2 percent pay their fair share," said Meinell.

Now it will be up to lawmakers, how much of the Fiscal Cliff prevention plan is ending tax cuts and deductions, and how much might be cuts to government programs.

At this time, President Obama insists in higher taxes for the wealthiest Americans, and smaller cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, and no cuts to Social Security.

Republicans say additional revenue should come from tax reform, like fewer deductions and loopholes, and save money on making cuts to programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

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