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Left and Right Protest Movements Target Super Committee

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call
Protester Barry Knight waves a sign at traffic during an Occupy DC march on the Key Bridge in Washington today.

Budget experts, however, said they were skeptical.

“That is a fairly unbelievable number,” said Joseph Antos, a health policy expert at the American Enterprise Institute, referring to the entitlement savings. “I don’t think I would pay as much attention to the numbers as I would to the ideas. ... I think the specifics here are pretty light.”

The FreedomWorks plan includes several ideas already offered by tea party sympathizers in Congress such as legislation introduced by Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) that would replace Social Security with personal retirement savings accounts. The proposal would also allow all new Medicare beneficiaries to enroll in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan after 2013, an idea championed by Paul.

The proposal could also end up serving as a tool to help lawmakers fight tough re-election battles.

“We are gently under attack by members of our own party who don’t have the you know what,” said Rep. Joe Walsh, an outspoken freshman challenging the more moderate first-term Rep. Randy Hultgren for re-election in Illinois’ newly created 8th district. “I will walk around with the FreedomWorks debt commission report in my hand for the rest of my term.”

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