November 2010

My Plan for Reducing the Deficit

As a member of the President’s Fiscal Commission, my task is to put forward a responsible plan to reduce the deficit and balance the primary budget by 2015 while ensuring that the economic needs of my constituents and the American people are met.  Because of that responsibility, I cannot endorse the plan laid out last week by co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson.  Their plan asks those who are suffering the most from the current economic downturn to sacrifice even further. 

We must remember that the goal of fixing the deficit is not an end in itself.  Economic policy does not exist in a vacuum, the federal budget represents our shared priorities as a nation, those things we all believe we need to do together.  We also need to remember that the deficit was caused by two wars that weren’t paid for, and a massive tax cut that benefitted mainly the wealthiest Americans.  

That is why I’ve released my own plan (Click Here for the details),  because we can achieve sound fiscal policy without doing it on the backs of poor and middle class Americans.   Long-term economic growth requires that we put a stop to the troubling trend of concentrating more wealth in the hands of the rich and less in the hands of a middle class.

Here is what my colleague in the House, Rep. Raúl Grijalva, co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, had to say :““From large elements to small, this plan is a vast improvement over the Bowles-Simpson proposal and represents a more thoughtful approach to debt reduction.  Our middle and lower class families did not cause our current budget shortfalls – they were largely caused by the avoidable housing crisis, by irresponsible Bush-era wars paid for with borrowed money, and by unnecessary tax cuts for the wealthiest earners. Rep. Schakowsky’s plan reflects the fact that, as she has said so often, the sacrifices of the past several years have all been made by the middle class. It’s time we stopped telling these hard-working families to tighten their belts again for the sake of another millionaire tax cut. We need to bring our taxing and spending in line with reality, and her proposal is a big step in the right direction.”

Think Progress, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, also weighed in: "Rep. Schakowsky's Deficit Reduction Plan should be given as much consideration as the Bowles-Simpson proposal...  She's shown that there is a way to balance the budget while simultaneously protecting the middle class and making important investments, and she should be commended." 

My proposals aim to bring the federal deficit under control using policies that will put people to work and strengthen the middle class. 

Stand with me, help me send a message to Congress and the media, sign on to my plan.

Pollak Contributors Make Bad Investment

 In 2006 the Republican candidate for Congress was Michael Shannon.  He did not report spending any money on his campaign that year to the Federal Election Commission.  However, he received 39, 916 votes – apparently the ambient Republican vote in the District.  

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky received 116,967 votes.
In 2010 Tea Party Republican Joel Pollak spent at least $604,700.  He received 54,254 votes.  
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky received 114,969 votes.
Even though Pollak spent much of his money attacking Schakowsky, she received only 1,998 fewer votes in 2010 than she did in 2006.  And in strong Democratic areas like Evanston, and in the 49th and 48th wards of Chicago, Jan Schakowsky actually received more votes in 2010 than in previous mid-term election in 2006. 
 And in spite of running in a year that was very favorable for Republicans and spending $604,700 more than Michael Shannon, who reporting spending nothing, Pollack received only 14,338 more votes in 2010 than Shannon did in a Democratic year, 2006.  Each of those votes cost Pollack $42.17.
Pollak also had a hard time communicating his message closer to home, he still wasn’t able to convince his neighbors in the Devonshire neighborhood in Skokie to support him, those precincts went for Schakowsky 63%-33%.
 Overall, Schakowsky still beat him better than two to one (66.2% to 31.3% -- third Party got 2.5%).

Thank You!

I want to thank each and every one of you for your support during this election season. The signs you posted in your yards; the smiles and thumbs up you gave me when I saw you out-and-about; the volunteer hours you spent knocking on doors and making phone calls to get out the vote -- this is the stuff of a true grassroots effort and I’m humbled by your commitment and your enthusiasm.

With our 2 to 1 victory, we sent the clearest of messages to Tea Party-endorsed candidates and their right-wing agenda:  “The soil of the 9th Congressional District of Illinois is no place to put down roots.  Don’t even think about it!”

I wholeheartedly thank you for your vote. Casting a ballot is one of the single most powerful things that a person can do to exercise his or her voice. I am so grateful and honored by the fact that you’ve chosen to put your support behind me. And I promise to continue fighting for you, for our district, and to keep this country moving in the right direction.  

While we had many disappointing returns in the races for the House of Representatives and in the Illinois Senate race, we cannot hang our heads and throw in the towel.  We’ve been dealt a setback, but I can tell you it won’t be a setback for long.  We already know how quickly the political winds can change direction.  In the face of our losses, I pledge to stand up even taller and to fight even harder.  But I need you to promise me that you will not give up!  We have to roll up our sleeves and come back fighting as we head toward 2012 when we re-elect President Barack Obama and take back the House.  Yes we can!