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VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: Town Halls Spawn Main Street Movement Pushback On Republican Ideas

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 30th, 2011 4:36 am by HL

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: Town Halls Spawn Main Street Movement Pushback On Republican Ideas

Town hall attendee in Orlando

The GOP-led House’s passage of a 2012 budget — engineered by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) — has laid the Republicans’ values out in the open for all to see: Strip huge amounts of funding from Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs aimed at supporting middle- and lower-income Americans, all to balance the budget (depending on whose numbers you believe) while keeping taxes on the wealthy at unprecedented lows.

Now that Republican representatives have returned to their districts for the congressional recess, everyday Americans at town hall meetings across the country are reacting with outrage at the perverse priorities of the Ryan budget. And this latest manifestation of the burgeoning Main Street Movement against the right’s economic agenda has only grown in intensity since both ThinkProgress (and even some mainstream media outlets) began reporting on the phenomenon.

Watch a compilation video of some highlights from town halls across the country over the past week:

GOP Freshman Ends First Town Hall After Tough Questions On Tax Cuts For The Wealthy: ‘We’re Done’

Freshman Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR) became the latest Republican to face the ire of his own constituents for voting for the Medicare-ending GOP budget when he was repeatedly challenged by attendees at a town hall meeting in Jonesboro, AR last night. At his first town hall since being seated, Crawford had attendees write their questions on index cards and then read them out loud, “but a handful of audience members weren’t satisfied and shouted at Crawford from their seats.”

While Republicans have insisted that their budget saves Medicare, Crawford veered off message at one point, responding to the question “why are you going to end Medicare as we know it?” by saying, “the answer to that is because Medicare as we know is bankrupt.”

Later, Crawford faced a heated question about why the GOP budget cuts taxes for the wealthy and corporations while slashing social services. Crawford replied, “I don’t support tax cuts for the wealthy over help for socio-economically challenged individuals.” A number of his constituents repeatedly challenged him on this claim, accusing Crawford of “class warfare against the poor people” and explaining that tax cuts don’t create jobs. Crawford apparently did not appreciate this, and ended the session:

CONSTITUENT 1: [The GOP budget ] is a significant tax cut for the wealthy.

CRAWFORD: A 10 percent tax cut?

CONSTITUENT 2: Wouldn’t that be class warfare against the poor people?

CRAWFORD: Well, you’re asking me if I want to continue taxing at a higher rate the people that are creating jobs and no –

CONSTITUENT 2: They’re not creating jobs, though! They haven’t created any more jobs! … They’re taking them all overseas!

CONSTITUENT 3: Are you taking any more questions?

CRAWFORD: No, we’re done.

CONSTITUENT 3: We’re done?

CRAWFORD: We’re done.

CONSTITUENT 4: During the Bush administration, and the tax cuts, how many jobs were created?

CRAWFORD: I don’t have those numbers.

CONSTITUENT 4: Three million. During the Clinton administration, where he raised taxes on the highest bracket to 39.5, how many jobs were created? 22 million. You’re going to tell me that tax cuts create jobs?!

Watch a video shot by Arkansas progressive blog Blue Arkansas, and edited by ThinkProgress for length (full videos here):

Crawford walked away from the podium and left the meeting moments later.

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