Jan Schakowsky is the Democratic candidate for U.S. Representative in the 9th Congressional District. She is seeking re-election for an eighth term in Congress. She currently serves as Chief Deputy Whip and is a member of numerous committees, including the House Select Committee on Intelligence and the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Jobs/Economy: The biggest crisis that faces the United States is the jobs deficit, says Rep. Schakowsky. Rather than the much-talked-about options of cutting spending and raising taxes, she says there is a third option: growing the economy by putting people back to work. Public subsidies of “companies that outsource American jobs and use overseas tax shelters to avoid taxation should be eliminated,” she says, because they “outsource jobs and profits.” Jobs should be created in at least two areas: repairing and improving infrastructure and creating innovative “21st-century jobs” in such areas as technology and alternative energy.
Debt/Taxes: Rep. Schakowsky points to findings by the non-partisan Congressional Budget office that identify “three major causes for our current debt and deficits: the unfunded Bush tax cuts, the unfunded wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Great Recession.” She says three “key steps” are needed to balance the budget without crushing the middle class: creating good jobs and promoting economic growth; avoiding spending cuts that lead to unemployment or exacerbate existing problems (such as “slashing needed investments in education, transportation and infrastructure); and promoting cutting-edge innovation.
Health Care: Rep. Schakowsky says she opposes efforts to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. She says the act “solves many of the problems that my constituents face in obtaining comprehensive, affordable and quality care for themselves and their families,” such as pre-existing medical conditions, the “doughnut hole” (the gap in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage) and the inability to afford to buy insurance. Saying that the law needs to be fine-tuned, she supports, among other things, the inclusion of a public option in the insurance exchange, and making health insurance companies everywhere “disclose and publicly justify unreasonable premium increases.”
She says it is “important to realize the critical role that Medicare and Medicaid play in providing health care in a cost-efficient manner. … We need to address the underlying causes of health-care inflation – but simply cutting back on [them] by cost-shifting to individuals and families, businesses and state and local governments is not the answer. Instead, we need to look at ways to make health care more efficient, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provides many mechanisms to do so.”
Education: The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, ESEA, created in 1965 as part of the War on Poverty, has been reauthorized regularly by Congress. In 2002 it was called the “No Child Left Behind” Act. Rep. Schakowsky feels that since it is up for reauthorization, there is an “opportunity to move our education system into the 21st century – reducing class sizes, utilizing comprehensive growth models to measure student improvement, and improving access to supportive services that help underserved and impoverished youth remain in school.”
Poverty has a negative effect on education and the achievement gap remains. The government should provide support “for all students in all public schools.” She says she sees “value” in the Race to the Top program as an “incentive for school districts and states to implement new ideas to improve school-wide performance. … Skimping on investments in education will have lasting consequences for our nation.”
Timothy Wolfe is the Republican candidate for U.S Representative in the 9th Congressional District. He is a resident of Arlington Heights and has had his own tax and accounting practice for 20 years. He has bachelor degrees from Illinois Wesleyan University and Illinois State University and a master’s degree in taxation from Northern Illinois University.
Jobs/Economy: “I believe that government is often a roadblock to job creation,” said Mr. Wolfe. “The government needs to create a better environment for job creation which includes a simpler tax code with lower rates for businesses, as the U.S. has one of the highest corporate income tax rates in the world. … And most importantly and immediately, the government needs to remove onerous regulations such as those prohibiting offshore drilling, stifling environmental regulations and creating unnecessary costs to the banking system.”
He would foster job creation by making energy independence a national priority, by limiting new regulations and rolling back existing regulations to the year 2000 level, and replacing the Affordable Health Care Act (“ObamaCare”).
Debt/Taxes: “If anyone thinks that we can continue to rack up debt year after year, then they need to look at Greece and the catastrophe that is unfolding there,” said Mr. Wolfe. He said some areas he will address to begin reducing the nation’s annual deficit are “simplifying the tax code for businesses and individuals; the efficiency of government (updated technology and techniques such as six sigma); fraud, waste and abuse in Medicare; overpayment of salaries and benefits to governmental employees; reduction of Federal payroll; reduction of burdensome and over-reaching regulations such as in the EPA and Health and Human Services, reform of the banking system including getting rid of Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley.” Mr. Wolfe would also eliminate the Affordable Health Care Act, which he said “may be the single biggest drag” on the economy. “Once employment levels go up, the deficit can begin to shrink,” he said.
Mr. Wolfe said almost every American should pay some income taxes. “I will support proposals for a tax system that makes income taxes more logical and easier to administer,” he said. “I would consider an alternative taxing system like the FAIR Tax (national sales tax) or the Flat Tax, with the proviso that there can be only one tax system.”
He said it is impossible to say what share of deficit reduction should come from revenues and what share from expenditures. He said, “We don’t need higher tax rates in order to generate higher income tax collections.” When total business profits rise, tax collections will increase even if income tax rates are lower, he said.
Health Care: The Affordable Care Act “is a detrimental law and must be completely gutted,” said Mr. Wolfe. “We must come up with better solutions to our health-care problems.” He said the federal government need only be involved in making pre-existing coverage a requirement, enabling health insurance companies to sell across state lines, limiting liability insurance costs through tort reform, and making costs for the uninsured a state or local responsibility.
As to Medicare, he offers a number of proposals including, “We must also move towards making Medicare a premium-supported program – that is, through private insurance or a private-insurance model.”
Education: “The Federal government believed in the necessity of educating the public because our Founders had a sense of manifest destiny which required citizens to be educated. Today, we are not fulfilling that original goal of educating our citizens. Because the Department of Education has not met its goals efficiently or effectively we must eliminate the Department of Education,” said Mr. Wolfe. “We should push responsibility down to the local, level where accountability should be.”
The Evanston RoundTable prepared the candidate profiles using information obtained from the candidates’ websites and from information provided by each candidate in response to a Chicago Tribune questionnaire. In the profiles, the RoundTable provides a short summary of the candidates’ views on selected topics, each of which is complex. For a fuller explanation of the candidates’ views and for their views on other topics, readers are encouraged to visit their websites.