Editorial Report by Corey Mattson
On Saturday, May 7th, Freshman Representative Adam Kinzinger (R) held a poorly-attended town hall meeting on the Illinois Wesleyan campus, focusing on the national budget and debt crisis. Kinzinger called the town hall one day before the day of the event, resulting in only 50 people in attendance in the spacious Hansen Student Center. Approximately 2/3 of the crowd were Kinzinger supporters and 1/3 were vocal liberal-minded activists bringing important issues to the legislator.
Most of Mr. Kinzinger’s presentation, titled The Choice of 2 Futures: A Fact Based Conversation on the Federal Budget, consisted of graphs taken directly from Paul Ryan’s Republican budget proposal, accurately called “ludicrous and cruel” by economist Paul Krugman. The Ryan Plan is based upon the same failed trickle-down schemes of the Reagan and Bush regimes, favoring the rich and centered around the fantasy that tax cuts result in economic growth and higher employment. In his talk, Kinzinger argued for the reform of social security, Medicare and Medicare, and mostly ignored the massive defense budget.
Like his Republican colleagues, Kinzinger seeks to balance the budget on the backs of the working-class and the poor. He claims social security is an easy fix, without providing any details. And he fails to mention that raising the cap on income subject to Social Security payment taxes is the easiest and most just fix of all. But for Medicare, in line with the Ryan plan, Kinzinger proposes an outsourcing privatization plan for people 55 years of age or younger. These individuals would receive a payment from the government with which they can purchase government-approved insurance plans from the wasteful private insurance industry.
Kinzinger assumes, as does Ryan, that government spending on health care is what causes cost increases, but the real cost problem results from the highly inefficient, profit-taking health insurance industry. Furthermore, as Paul Krugman correctly points out, health care costs under the Ryan plan are sure to rise and that the governmental subsidy would cover 1/3 of most individual plans by 2030.
For Kinzinger’s comments on Medicare, view the YouTube video below. Take note in how he emphasizes how the Ryan Plan would not threaten the Medicare those now over 55 enjoy.
Attacks Against Women
Progressives from Bloomington-Normal asked Kinzinger pointed questions on issues. Susan Burt criticized Mr. Kinzinger’s votes for defunding Planned Parenthood and for HR 3, a bill that implements misguided and misogynist interrogatory methods in determining if a woman was raped and therefore eligible for subsidized medical services. See the video interview of Susan Burt below for more information on this issue.
Gregg Brown argued against use of nuclear power, providing a report of the ever-present leakage of radiation into the environment. Some people on the right argued against wind power, specifically the construction of wind farms in rural areas. Kinzinger disagreed with this view, seeing the wind industry as deserving of governmental subsidy in its early years. Others on the right spoke in favor of more domestic drilling of oil, a view which Kinzinger agrees with. It appears that Mr. Kinzinger is not categorically opposed to alternative forms of energy, such as wind, but wants the option to invest heavily in dirtier and dangerous forms of energy such as coal and nuclear.
Post-Town Hall interviews
After the Rep. Kinzinger’s town hall Q&A, Just BloNo interview two local activists on their reactions to the town hall and Kinzinger’s responses to their questions.