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ICYMI: Rubio Joins The Erick Erickson Show
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined The Erick Erickson Show to discuss the Chinese spy balloon, the State of the Union address, the national debt, and more. See below for highlights and listen to the full interview here.
On the Chinese balloon:
“It is the first time we’ve seen [a Chinese balloon] do what this one did. We know they’ve been flying these for a while. It’s not a very sophisticated technology in terms of flying. They’ve circumvented the globe a number of times, and as part of that circumvention, if you’re going down like the equator, you’re going to pass briefly over a piece of this country, that country, and the other country. But those were really test flights more than anything else.
“We’ve seen them active in the Pacific in the past, but this is the first time and the only one that we know of that one of these balloons has come over Alaska, then entered the northwest corner of the United States, and then cut a diagonal path right across the upper Midwest, where we have places like Strategic Command, and then exited out to the Atlantic.
“[The Biden Administration] was aware that this thing was headed here at least a day before it actually entered the continental United States and made the decision at the time that they did not want to shoot it down. They were going to allow it to traverse and then deal with it later.
“It’s a collection platform. It can fit over a target for a period of time, they can control it, and it can take live video, high-resolution imagery. It can collect electronic signals and things of that nature that are being communicated. It has value as part of an overall system. When you add in satellites and everything else you have, it’s just one more way of looking at things you’re interested in.
“This case is pretty unprecedented. I don’t think it was handled appropriately. And they could have stopped it from coming over the day before it actually entered [the country].”
On the Pentagon’s claim that it kept the balloon aloft to study it:
“I don’t think that’s true, frankly. That may be what they decided once the decision was made to let it come through. But I don’t think the intelligence value of it is great in terms of watching it. Because, again, we know what it is, and it’s not a very sophisticated technology in terms of the flying, the aeronautics of it.
“NORAD’s job is to protect the United States and Canada from incoming missiles and airplanes. That’s what it’s looking for. It is not looking for a balloon at 60,000 feet. That’s just not what it’s geared towards. And it wouldn’t see it up until a certain point. The satellites are looking for launch indications somewhere, but NORAD is watching the airspace of the United States and what’s about to enter it. And it’s certainly not looking for things flying that slow at 60,000 feet in a balloon.
“But we have other elements of the government that were aware of it and made NORAD and others aware of it. The work that needs to happen here moving forward is to make sure this doesn’t happen again. My question is, ‘What’s the policy now and moving forward?’”
On the new era the U.S. is entering:
“At the end of the Cold War, everybody thought: ‘History is over. We’re going to integrate Russia and China into the Western liberal economic order, and that will make them more democratic. That will make them play by rules.’ But there’s a price to pay for that.
“Economics is a science, but it’s not it’s not a mathematical thing, because it involves human beings, human behavior. One of the things that happens when efficiency kicks in, which is generally the right outcome, is you lose capability. So in a time of conflict or pandemic, you start to realize that, ‘It is cheaper to make something in other countries, but it’s really not a good idea not to be able to make it for ourselves, especially if our source is a potential adversary or an actual adversary.’
“The other [problem] is the huge imbalance. The Western order, particularly the U.S., is very service-oriented, whereas Russia and China are not. That’s why GDP numbers don’t accurately capture the size of their economies. The Russians are very much built on raw material, energy, and foodstuffs. And the Chinese are built on export and industrial capacity. When there is conflict in the world, the ability to make things and access raw material is much more valuable than the ability to deliver food from an app to someone’s home.
“We should be engaged in reciprocal trade that makes sense for both countries involved without diminishing our own key capacity in certain industries. It should be with allies. It should be with countries that are not trying to replace us on the global stage. It should be with countries that aren’t going to start wars.
“This notion that somehow two countries, because they have trade, will never get into conflict has been disproven repeatedly. World War Two was fought by the biggest economic powers in the world. It made no economic sense for the Russians to invade Ukraine, but they did it. The Chinese are conducting live-fire exercises off the coast of Taiwan.
“The Chinese, by the way, have no interest in integrating into a global trade system. Their interest is not just self-sufficiency, but world dependency. They want to dominate all the key industries of the 21st century so they can provide not just for themselves, but also have the world depend on them. They think that’ll give them the geopolitical leverage to supplant the United States. That’s the reality, and we’ve got to wake up to it.
“[Offshoring] has had social impacts, too. When you get rid of manufacturing, you don’t just get rid of industrial capacity. You get rid of jobs that take generations and generations to replace. It has a hollowing effect on communities and families. This is related to the opioid epidemic, the lack of family formation, and community crumbling. That’s not good for a country, and that becomes corrosive.
“There’s a lot more at play than just sheer numbers on a balance sheet that have to be taken into account.”
On President Biden’s State of the Union speech:
“It was bizarre. [President Biden] used numbers just aren’t accurate when it comes to the deficit. He then went out and basically promised how the U.S. government was now going to guarantee everything from how much the airlines are going to charge you to vaccines all the way to universal pre-K and everything in between. That stuff costs a lot of money. Everything he talked about was all going to be paid for by billionaires and corporations. But here’s the truth. If you took every penny of every billionaire in America that they make this year, it wouldn’t even make a dent on the debt.
“I’m not a big fan of big corporations and some of the things they’ve done, especially the multinationals that have no allegiance to America. But corporations don’t really pay taxes. If you raise their tax rate, they’ll pay it, but they’ll pay it by raising prices, by laying off workers, by moving their location to some other part of the world where they’re not going to get taxed. It sounds really good, but it’s just not true.
“I have my own problems with the pharmaceutical industry and how it works in general, but he’s beating up on Big Pharma even as he is bragging about the vaccine that made them billions of dollars with the help of the U.S. government.
“He talks about Paul Pelosi and the attack on him, which I thought was terrible. But Brett Kavanaugh had an assassin on his door, and [Biden] didn’t even mention that part about political violence in America. It was bizarre in the sense that he almost sounded oblivious to reality.
“He’s saying that his border plan that he announced in January is working great, with over 100 boat people from Haiti arriving in the Florida Keys yesterday morning. The video is out there. He’s almost oblivious to the things that really matter.
“Note that he avoided all the woke stuff. There’s no talk of pregnant men. He didn’t get into it. It doesn’t reflect the policy of this administration, who are using all the levers of the federal government to force every industry they have their claws in, whether it’s finance, banking, or academia, to adopt everything from radical energy policy to radical cultural social policy. Not to mention the radicals he’s appointed to key executive branches. But he really didn’t want to talk about that. He left that out because he’s pivoting to general election mode and he knows that that’s not popular.”
On the national debt:
“It’s like when you get one of these bills in the mail, and you’re going to have to pay it, but you don’t want to pay it, and you pretend as long as they don’t send you that follow-up letter saying, ‘You better pay us next week or we’re going to take away your car,’ you can just ignore it. The debt is much like that.
“The truth of the matter is that what is driving our debt and will continue to drive it is mandatory spending, things that the law says we have to spend. The federal share of Medicaid, you have to spend it. It’s the same with Social Security. But the reality of it is those programs are not generating enough revenue for what is coming out.
“If you’re spending more than you’re taking in, you don’t have to be an economics major or an accountant to realize you’re going to have to borrow money from somewhere to make up the gap. And that gap is growing every year.
“[The Democrats accuse Republicans of advocating] cutting [those programs]. I’m not talking about cutting. I don’t think we should make any changes to people that are about to retire or are retired. But I do think younger workers, my generation and so forth, are going to have to accept some adjustments, or there won’t be Social Security or Medicare.
“I’ve said this for a long time, but no one wants to touch it. And you can’t do it without presidential leadership. It takes the president to lead at present, and neither party has really wanted to deal with it.”