In response to Congress' failure to reach a deal on how to balance the budget, about 50 senior citizens dressed as turkeys rallied outside of Sen. John Kerry and Sen. Scott Brown's offices Tuesday afternoon.
The seniors met with the senators' staff to tell them not to 'gobble up' social security, Medicare and Medicaid in their attempts to solve the country's debt crisis.
"I think folks understand that the threat to these programs is really strong," said Carolyn Villers, an activist with Mass Senior Action Council, which organized the protest along with the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare. A simultaneous rally was held at Kerry's office in Springfield.
"Without Medicaid, Medicare, I wouldn't have any hope," Mary Gorman, of South Boston, told fellow seniors at the rally.
The protesters were particularly concerned about the vulnerablilty of these programs since Republicans in Congress have said they will not raise taxes or the debt ceiling, leaving cuts to the big spending items – the military, education, social security, Medicare and Medicaid – the only way to lower the debt, said Jason Stephany, communications director with MassUniting, a partner organization to Mass Senior Action Council.
"The government wants to do away with some of these programs, (and that will) actually hurt and kill people," George Bayers, of Malden, said. "We're trying to stop these yo-yos. People have been paying into these programs their entire lives. Now they call them 'entitlements.'"
Seniors blamed not only Congress but, echoing a refrain from the Occupy movements nationwide, the richest 1 percent of the population.
"(It's also) corporate greed. I'm part of the 99 percent, (but) the gap is spreading so far it's resembling the country before the 1930s."