Feb 15 2012
Rubio: "To eviscerate defense spending the way this administration is contemplating doing ... is just unsustainable."
Senator Marco Rubio
February 15, 2012
Medved: “Now, one of the things that you’ve been very outspoken about on the floor of the Senate, and speaking around the country, Senator Rubio, is the importance of a strong national defense. We are already cutting $500 billion from the Pentagon. Do we need to cut more?”
Rubio: “No. And here’s why: you can’t grow your economy if you’re unsafe. You can’t. I mean, no country can grow its economy, no country can create jobs and prosperity if its national defense is threatened. And so, yes, there are efficiencies to be found in the defense budget. There is no doubt about it. I think that there are contracting practices that can be improved. I think there are billions of dollars that can be saved in the defense budget.
“And I think we’re already in the process of making significant reductions in defense spending. But to eviscerate defense spending the way this administration is contemplating doing, or the way, quite frankly, that the debt limit deal contemplates doing, is just unsustainable. I mean, do we need any reminder? Just today, Iran had two major announcements regarding its nuclear program.
“They (Iran) are constantly making threats about closing the Strait of Hormuz. I assure that if they do that, I assure you that if Iran gets nuclear weapons and holds the Middle East hostage, I assure you they gain leverage on the world by becoming a nuclear power that the price of gasoline for every single American is going to go up.
“And that makes everything more expensive. That makes food more expensive, travel more expensive, doing business more expensive. I mean, you paying $7 or $8 dollars a gallon for gas, you’re going to see an economic downturn unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. So our national defense is directly related to our economic well-being.”
Medved: “What do you say to those people who say, ‘We wouldn’t need to spend so much on national defense if we just minded our own business and stayed here at home’?”
Rubio: “Well, you know, the bottom line is that I think America does mind its own business. The problem, of course, is that the United States is not Luxembourg. We are the largest, most powerful country in all of human history. And everything we do economically is intrinsically tied to things that are going on all over the world.
“Every single American is directly impacted by things that are happening halfway around the planet, whether they realize it or not. Whether it’s the food you eat, or the gas that gets you to work every day, or the customers that are buying what you’re inventing, what happens around the world ultimately impacts us.
“We’re also a target of people that hate freedom and liberty. And so, for example, we get targeted by terrorists at home, who plot every single day—even though we’ve been able to thwart those things—every single day there are people plotting to attack the American homeland and the American people. We have to defend against all of those things.
“And we’re also in a battle for influence. You know, the world has benefited because America has been the most powerful country in the world. Standing for liberty and free market economics has spread around the world because America is a powerful country. And now in the 21st century, we need to decide what the rules and order of engagement in the world are going to be. Are they going to be determined by America and by the liberal democracies and the free enterprise governments, and countries like ours? Or are they going to be decided by countries like China, where the government owns the economy and uses its power to oppress its people?
“And so, I get it. I think all things being equal, we would all love to pay attention to our own things here at home, mind our own business. The problem is that the things that are going on around the world are our own business because our economy is directly linked to all of it.”