All across America, a Main Street Movement has broken out to defend the middle class against right-wing attacks on labor rights and basic public services. In recent days, this movement has turned on GOP House members who voted to effectively end Medicare and turn seniors over to private insurance companies when they approved Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) radical budget bill.
On Tuesday, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) was the latest congressman to face the ire of Main Street America during a town hall event with constituents who stopped being polite and started getting real.
First, constituents explained they were upset that Ryan’s plan would cut off people under the age of 55 from Medicare. Then, others directly challenged Duffy about defending tax breaks for the wealthy for voting to effectively replace Medicare with a voucher system:
CONSTITUENT: I hear you saying two contradictory things about taxes. One you want to reform the tax code so that corporations to pay more, and two you don’t want corporations to pay so much so that they’ll somehow stimulate business. So I don’t understand that contradiction. The CBO […] the Ryan program proposes to turn Medicare into a voucher program.
DUFFY: It doesn’t, No it doesn’t.
DIFFERENT CONSTITUENT: Yes it does.
DUFFY: No, it doesn’t there’s no voucher.
CONSTITUENT: That’s what my understanding of what it is.
CONSTITUENT: They count the cost to seniors if it goes into a voucher program, it’s going to be trillions of dollars for those young men like this guy in front.
DUFFY: It’s a premium support it’s not a voucher. The bottom line is if we do nothing, if we do nothing, you can all say this is all fine and dandy, you can get it and I know any young people here you can all get this program.
CONSTITUENT: I agree that if we do nothing we’re in trouble, that’s why we have to raise taxes on the rich, and raise taxes on the corporations who have never been richer than they have now. And you guys just cut their taxes again.
ANOTHER CONSTITUENT: Oh, Yeah!
DUFFY: When you say cutting taxes, if taxes maintain the same level and rate is that a tax cut.
CONSTITUENT: To maintain the same level that was long ago, that was sold on the premise of creating jobs by giving more money to the wealthy.
OTHER CONSTITUENTS: Yeah! [inaudible]
This isn’t the first time Duffy has faced the ire of his own constituents at a town hall. Earlier this year, he told some constituents that he is struggling to get by on his $174,000 salary. Wisconsin Democrats responded by holding a “food and clothing drive for poor Sean Duffy.” (h/t: spooneradvocate YouTube account)