Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) is a member of the President’s bi-partisan commission on deficit reduction, but she’s not happy with the proposals put forward by the commission’s Co-Chairs, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson. They would reduce the deficit by cutting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and health care for the military.
“Social Security is not part of the deficit problem,” Schakowsky declares. “To take it out on the elderly, who have an average income of $18,000 [including social security, pensions, investment income] . . . I think that is, frankly, immoral,” she adds. “The average benefit is $14,000 a year. Nobody’s getting rich.”
Schakowsky has put together her own deficit-cutting strategy. She would close loopholes in corporate taxes, raise taxes for the wealthy, and cut funding for Cold War weapons systems that we no longer need. She also would lower health care costs–but not by cutting health care benefits for seniors, the poor, or our armed forces. Instead, Schakowsky would “put a public option back on the table, which would lower health care costs” and let Medicare negotiate with pharmaceutical companies, as the Veteran's Administration does.
In order to stimulate the economy, we need to put money in the pockets of the middle-class, who will spend the money, says Schakowsky. In particular, she emphasizes the importance of extending unemployment benefits.
Schakowsky appeared on the Lehrer Report Monday evening. You can hear what she had to say by clicking here.