'Bloated and wasteful': Schakowsky suggests cutting Pentagon budget to ease inflation

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky says reducing military spending can help ease inflation.

"The Pentagon budget is bloated and wasteful," said Schakowsky, an Evanston Democrat representing Illinois' mostly suburban 9th District. "I continue to vocally support a significant reduction in our defense top line."

Schakowsky, who serves on the House budget committee and the energy and commerce committee, spoke about inflation and other issues with the Daily Herald in an online interview and a questionnaire. Republican challenger Max Rice of Chicago refused to fill out the questionnaire or participate in the interview, instead sending a political provocateur who crudely insulted Schakowsky before being booted from the session.

Rice's campaign website nor his social media pages include any favored economic solutions, either.

Rising retail costs and high gasoline prices have been great concerns to many Americans, and stock markets have tumbled this year because of fears of inflation, rising interest rates and the possibility of a recession.

Inflation especially hurts Americans with lower incomes, Schakowsky said.

"It's critical for government leaders at all levels to be mindful of impacts of spending decisions they make and how they might affect low- and middle-income Americans," she said.

Schakowsky noted that the current inflationary trends aren't unique to the U.S. They have been driven, she said, by the COVID-19 pandemic recovery, supply chain problems and what she called "corporate price gouging."

Schakowsky called Russia's war with Ukraine another factor in the global economic struggle.

As for countering U.S. inflation, Schakowsky said provisions in this summer's Inflation Reduction Act will lower health care costs, such as insurance through the Affordable Care Act and what senior citizens pay for prescription drugs. It also will help reduce energy costs by easing dependence on fossil fuels, she said.

However, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated the bill would have little impact on inflation.

Schakowsky also said projects in the American Rescue Plan Act and federally funded infrastructure improvements will create more jobs and put more money in people's pockets.

Redrawn and expanded ahead of this election, the 9th District includes parts of Cook, Lake and McHenry counties. It stretches between Chicago's North Side and the Crystal Lake area.

Election Day is Nov. 8. Early voting has begun.

• Daily Herald wire services contributed to this report.

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