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'We The People' Rally Against State and Federal Budget Cuts

Organizer urges advocates of a wide range of social and economic issues to unify message.

Holding signs that ranged from pro-union to anti-war, about 50 people attended a rally Saturday at the Rose Garden in Bethlehem to protest state and national budget cuts and corporate tax breaks and loopholes.

The rally was organized by Tom Ulrich, of We The People of Lehigh Valley, which according to its website promotes progressive causes. Ulrich told the gathering to “connect the dots,” to see the links between a wide range of social and economic issues such as unions, public schools, the environment, peace and social justice, and to unify over the impact of state and national budget cuts to these causes.

Ulrich said democracy does not thrive when there is huge economic disparity between people.

Craig Olsen, a naturalist from Lower Saucon Township, said he attended the rally because “I’m really getting fed up with fat cats getting all the breaks and the working people and ordinary people not getting a break.”

Judy Smullen, a retired English teacher from Bethlehem, was among the protestors who lined the 800 block of Union Boulevard. “I think it's appalling that in a time of economic crisis that [some government officials] are trying to destroy unions and the middle class,” Smullen said.

In a rousing speech, Ed Balukas, president of UAW Local 677 in Allentown, criticized Gov. Tom Corbett for not reducing the cost of running his own office and he spoke out against the maligning of teachers in the country. “Teachers are the saviours of this country. They are not the enemy,” he said.

Elisa Zaehringer, advocacy coordinator for the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley, which helps low-income families, told the crowd numerous programs that help disadvantaged people were in danger of being eliminated or cut, including Community Services Block Grants, CACLV’s core funding source.

“I ask you, where are our priorities? The common good is under attack,” Zaehringer said.

“Programs aimed at helping those who are experiencing tough times and attempt to build healthy communities are being slashed while billions of dollars are being given to large corporations who shop jobs overseas and to the wealthiest of Americans in the form of tax breaks. We need to take back democracy and demand a responsible budget from our leaders,” she said.

Tom Molinaro March 24, 2011 at 04:11 PM
Rosemary B and Bethlehem Watchdog (my anonymous friends) we are never going to agree on this. I will continue to be eternally curious about what makes conservatives tick, and I'm sure you'll keep wondering about liberals. But in this, my final comment on the subject I'll leave you with a quote by Winston Churchill and an afterthought. "Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has no heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains." ---Winston Churchill Since I'm well over 30, I guess in the final analysis, I'd rather error on the side of being brainless than heartless. Thanks for the interesting repartee. Tom Molinaro
Rosemary B March 25, 2011 at 07:58 PM
And I will leave you with a final thought. Give a man an fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats the rest of his life. I think it is less heartless to help and expect people to provide for themselves then it is to teach people to be dependent on the government. That is the difference between Liberals and Conservatives. Thank you for this respectful exchange of ideas. I hope more Librals and Conservatives can have similar exchanges.
MS March 26, 2011 at 11:26 AM
Interesting discussion, that can go on forever!....seriously though, my ambition in life is to continue my families business without being raped by higher taxes and stronger more involved government. Government needs to back off and let businesses continue to grow without the higher taxes. It's very simple, I work for my family, to feed and clothe them and to hopefully enjoy a trip to the beach every summer, right now, that's not gonna happen with the increases in taxes to my business, I am not working 60 hours a week to feed my neighbor, I'm working to feed my family
SABLE May 17, 2013 at 03:06 AM
The State can try a pilot program which separates from Federal government in order to test a business & financial model. Having a printing press which will gurantee the worth of a dollar, by silver or other precious metals backing. Other states could join the model for one independent block that can run independent of federally insured funding. Small businesses return & are given tax breaks for doing so & must use the proceeds by reinvesting them into that business. Large corporations are not punished but rewarded for supporting the small, vendor; & hiring locally & hostile takeovers are a illegal. As are monopolies & opolies illegal, as historically they had been or were supposed to be; the reason for big business are due to both. Hostile take overs & the monopolies. The larger the business, the more employees for which tax credit is given up too the capped amount. So, that's a BIG idea.
SABLE May 17, 2013 at 03:21 AM
Yes & stop funding Homeland Security "The Mother! Guard your mother Land!", as well as TSA. Do you know those xray machines still have not been tested? It's anyone's guess the amount of waves made each time one is used which would, IMO, reach beyond it's small proxcimity; but either way it's a medical device being abused. Who is responsible for liabilities having to do with these "Guard the Motherland from yourself", idea. The story of Nazi/Hitler/Germany shadows today so closely too; even though a 'hoax' as some call it faux for me, . it's right there for all to see, yet they keep flying, no signs of protest, a robotic state of mind to line-up & wait their turn. They talk of 'Freedom' on their Capitol there's a female statute named "Freedom" I would guess 1 out of 10 know that she's the devil's wife.

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