PLATTSBURGH — Concerns about what impact the pending “fiscal cliff” might have on government programs and the economy drove some local citizens to the streets Monday.
“We are concerned about being pushed over this fiscal cliff, and that is why we have to speak up,” Mary Alice Shemo said.
Shemo was one of about two dozen people who showed up at noon Monday outside Congressman Bill Owens’s office on Durkee Street in downtown Plattsburgh to let people know about the issue.
She and others also rallied outside Owens’s office at a candlelight vigil from 4 to 6 p.m. with the same concerns.
“This is a showdown between two sides, and they are going to kill the goose that laid the golden egg by slowing down the economy,” Shemo said.
“But they won’t believe they killed that golden goose until they see the autopsy.”
If Congress does not reach an agreement by the end of this year, terms of the Budget Control Act of 2011 will automatically go into effect.
Concerns are that the lack of a deal will lead to a dramatic hit on the economy. Experts predict a recession could occur and that unemployment will rise.
One of the key components of the fiscal cliff is whether to allow the Bush tax cuts of 2001-03 to expire. There is also concern that programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will be curtailed.
David Curry, one of the organizers of Monday’s rallies, said those benefits should not be touched.
“These are benefits that people pay taxes on. They are not entitlements. They are something we’ve earned,” he said.
Jim King said he is concerned that President Barack Obama might give in to Republican House Majority Leader John Boehner and that those programs might be cut.