"NO MORE TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH"
"DON'T CUT MY SOCIAL SECURITY"
"DON'T CUT OUR MEDICARE BENEFITS"
Those were among the signs displayed during Saturday's rally at the eternal flame outside the Columbus Government Center as 16 folks gathered in support of a national budget agreement by the end of December to prevent the country from going over the "fiscal cliff."
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The event is part of a statewide tour organized by the Georgia chapter of the AFL-CIO labor union. The coalition also includes representatives from the American Association of Retired Persons and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. They want Georgia's congressional delegation to support President Obama's proposal to extend middle class tax cuts immediately, while allowing the Bush tax cuts for the top 2 percent of income earners to expire.
Eddie White, vice president at-large of the American Federation of Government Employees, said a rash of recent buyouts already has his fellow workers nervous.
"Tension is running high," he said. "People are scrambling for positions."
The only jobs he wants to see lost are the politicians who don't support Obama's proposal. Those opponents are "trying to balance the budget on our backs. We want them to stop playing games with our lives."
Theresa El-Amin, AARP Columbus chapter president and Southern Anti-Racism Network regional project director, warned a "grand bargain" could leave ages 50-55 without access to Social Security. She urged Obama to stand his ground.
"Stand for what is right," she said, "for working people in this country."
Sam Gonzales of the Georgia AFL-CIO concluded, "It's about middle class over millionaires."