Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2012, 7:22 pm

Activists protest tax breaks, benefit cuts

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By Leon Lagerstam, llagerstam@qconline.com

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Photo: John Greenwood
Members from organized labor unions, Alliance for Retired Americans, Progressive Action for the Common Good, MoveOn, and numerous faith-based organizations in the Quad-Cities held a rally outside Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-Iowa) office in Davenport on Monday afternoon to stress to Grassley their thoughts on taxes and other issues. They want no tax breaks for the richest 2 percent and no cuts in Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits. About 16 people showed up to stage a candlelight rally.
DAVENPORT -- Local activists gathered outside senators' offices on Monday to talkabout "no-no's."

"No" to tax breaks for the richest 2 percent and "no" tocuts in Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits served as rallying cries.

Sixteen people representing labor unions, the Alliance for Retired Americans, Progressive Action for the Common Good, MoveOn and other groups met in front of the U.S. Bank building at the corner of 2nd and Main streets in Davenport with signs reading "Hands Off My Social Security."

They also sang two choruses of a quasi-Christmas carol, "Vote for Income Tax Equality," to the tune of "Deck the Halls," with verses such as "cuts for millionaires are folly" interlaced with ''fa la la la la, la la la la."

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has an office on the building's seventh floor, but a note on his door said he was out of the office and wouldn't be back until morning, according to Dino Leone, Quad City Federation of Labor vice president.

They left informational fliers, including a Batman comic titled ''Wake Up SLAP! on Social Security'' brought by Tom Seymour, of the QC Alliance for Retired Americans. In the comic, Batman slaps a character who said, "If we want to get a fiscal cliff deal, Social Security should be on the table."Batman's comic-bubble reply was, "Social Security doesn't contribute to the deficit you moron,'' according to the flier.

"Social Security doesn't add one penny to the deficit and shouldn't be used as an excuse for it,'' Mr. Leone said.

The protest coincided with International Human Rights Day, with people across the nation participating in more than 100 Candlelight Campaign events opposing tax breaks for the richest and cuts to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.

Local activists carrying small, electric tea light-sized candles gathered in front of the Rock Island office of U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., earlier Monday, Mr. Leone said.Temperatures dropped considerably between the two gatherings, but, according to Jay Saxon, of U.S. Steel Workers Local 105, it wasn't as bad as a ''freeze out by the government."