A bill introduced by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) Wednesday to gave hope to more than 150 people Sunday at her annual barbeque in Evanston.
Schakowsky’s proposed legislation would put people to work improving schools, parks and housing, she said. It would also provide for additional police officers and fire fighters. Work would also be found for people helping with early childhood development and college students to better equip them in the employment market.
“How can we compete in a global society if we don’t educate our children,” Schakowsky said. “Our college graduates are among the unemployed,” she added referring to the fact unemployment for people out of school is higher than the national average.
Area residents speak out
Liane Couten, 79, of Evanston fears corporate interests have taken too much control of the economy. She has childhood memories of the Great Depression of the 1930’s and fears a repeat if job creation like Schakowsky’s proposal does not occur.
“If we don’t move into a situation which will produce jobs we are going to lose social security, Medicare and Medicaid,” Couten said. “If we don’t do this now by the time we recover the corporate state will have even more power.”
Longtime Skokie residents Bob and Miriam Filler, who now live in Chicago, think Schakowsky’s legislation is long overdue. “It’s the first thing Obama should have done,” Bob Filler said. “It should have been done two and a half years ago.”
The Fillers—Bob is 88 and Miriam 89— also remember the Depression. They feel the Depression was much worse than current times but believe job creation like Schakowsky’s bill is what will prevent another.
“There was so much turmoil then,” Bob Filler said of his Depression memories. “We lived through it for 10 years. This doesn’t come close. People were selling apples on the street. This is a deep recession but not a depression.”
Avoiding a double-dip recession
Schakowsky has studied enough history to know what happened in 1937. That is when the administration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt saw signs of recovery. Like today, spending was cut and programs designed to give people work reduced.
“Back then (1937) there was some recovery and spending was cut,” Schakowsky said. “We need the right medicine and that is to create more jobs. That is how we would avoid a double dip recession.”
took Schakowsky’s remarks to heart. He thinks people at all levels of government have to be thinking about job creation at every opportunity.
“Our economy cannot sustain unemployment at 9 percent,” Biss said. “People at all levels of government need to focus on job creation. People should be able to find the jobs they deserve to have.”
, who was standing with Biss, was in agreement. “We have to look at this at the state level,” she said. “We need innovation, research and development.”
Former state Rep. (D-Highland Park) shared a seat with Schakowsky when they served together in the Illinois General Assembly. Gash is a regular at Schakowsky’s annual barbeque. She likes the method of the proposed law.
“People have to have jobs,” Gash said. “Jan’s plan is realistic and goal oriented and might do the trick.”
Schakowsky plans to fund her proposed job creation legislation by increasing the tax rate for people earning more than $1 million per year. She would not touch the tax brackets for middle class wage earners.
“There are people who have been successful in this down economy,” Schakowsky said. “They need to pay their fair share at a rate less than they paid under (former President) Ronald Reagan.”
Schakowsky also explained why the government should not cut Social Security or Medicare. She does not consider them benefits handed to people without consideration.
“They’re really not entitlements,” Schakowsky said. “They’re earned rights. If you are still working you are still paying for Social Security. You are still paying for Medicare.”