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A Conversation with Jan Schakowsky

Jan S

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, a member of the House Democratic leadership, stopped by Minnesota for a roundtable with small business owners about the President's commitment to a strong middle-class. Before she left, the congresswoman sat down and answered a few questions for us.

Why are this election and the President's accomplishments so important?

I think that this probably is the most important election in my lifetime because it's going to decide the direction of the country. Are we going to have a robust middle class opportunity for our kids? Are we going to invest in thriving small businesses which create 2 out of 3 jobs in our country-the real job creators-or are we going to have a country where we give all the benefits to the wealthy?

What did you talk about with the small business owners today?

All of the great things that Obamacare will offer. For example, a 35% tax credit for any health insurance they provide to their employees if they have 25 or less. And that really represents a lot of small businesses. They also pay taxes mainly as an individual. The Romney plan would give 90% of the tax breaks to 0.6% of businesses. Extending tax cuts for the middle class is going to really help thousands of businesses here in Minnesota alone. We want to make sure that all small businesses are aware so they can spread the word that it's really Barack Obama who's looking out for them.

The other thing that we know from [talking to] small business owners is that the real job creators are customers. We all succeed when people have money in their pockets. That's what extending tax cuts for 98% of Americans will do. It makes sure that people will come into their clothing store or coffee shop to buy things, like where we're sitting right now.

One of the interesting things that you mentioned in the round table was about taxes. Under Governor Romney's plan, if you make $3 million, your taxes could go down $250,000. But if you make under $250,000 they would go up $2,000. Can you expand on that?

When you say to most Americans, "Here's the plan: if you make $3 million, you're going to get a $250,000 tax cut. But in order to make sure that happens, if you make less than that, your taxes are going to go up," most Americans are going to say "I think that's a pretty bad deal." I do not want to pay more taxes to give people who are already doing quite well another tax cut.

It's not just about those individuals. It's not good for our economy. You take money out of the pockets of people who make $250,000 or less, and you're going to see all these small businesses running dry of customers. This is going to hurt our economy. We're not going to be able to have the economic growth that we want. There's only so much you can buy after $3 million. Not all of that is going into the economy. But if you're a family of four and you won't even have enough for a little vacation or to go out to dinner, not to mention buying school clothes for kids, to pay your mortgage and buy the basics of a good middle class life, not having that money is going to really hurt the economy of the United States.

You can learn more about what Barack Obama is doing for small businesses here.

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