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ICYMI: Rubio Joins Business Minute With Lily López

Apr 18, 2024 | Press Releases

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Business Minute with Lily López of the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to discuss the most pressing issues facing our nation. Rubio spoke about the rising number of criminals crossing our southern border, the sickness in American culture, and much more. See below for highlights and watch the full interview here.

On economic challenges facing our nation:

“[The most immediate issue] is the cost of living. I don’t need to tell that to anybody watching this. If you’re in South Florida, I think we actually have been ranked the most expensive place in the country to live right now. I think it’s more expensive than D.C. Add in that our car insurance is more expensive than anybody else’s, that the property insurance is more expensive than anybody else’s, and then just the regular cost of everything else. It’s almost impossible to buy [a house] for most people at this point. That’s certainly a challenge. 

“But I think if you take a step back and look at the big picture, and it really is a big picture, I think the economy’s really changing very fast in terms of the kinds of jobs that are being created. It is harder than ever for someone to go out and find a job that you can do for 30 or 40 years and pays you enough to own a home and raise a family and retire with dignity. To me, that’s a big challenge, because without that, you can’t build community, and embedded in that is everything from wages to the availability of these jobs. A lot of things are driving that. International trade sometimes destroys certain jobs and creates new ones. Technology may do that.”

On foreign-policy challenges facing our nation:

“Internationally, we’re facing a world where there’s just these major changes happening. China and Russia both want to challenge the global order, which they think is dominated by America and our allies. They want to become more powerful. They want us to be less powerful. There’s challenges, whether it’s in the Middle East, whether it’s in Ukraine, whether it’s in the Indo-Pacific, with eventually Taiwan, but right now with the Philippines and others. 

“[We have to] juggle everything around, and it’s requiring us, from a foreign-policy standpoint, to care about [things happening all over the world]. But it also has implications on the global economy. For example, any disruption in oil production is going to raise the cost of and the price of gasoline, because that’s on the global market. All of these things are happening all at one time, and coming out of a pandemic, which was also very disruptive.”

On criminals crossing the southern border:

“You can’t let seven, eight, nine million people enter your country [and keep out criminals]. There’s no way you can vet that [many people]. Even if you tried, you couldn’t do it, because you don’t know who they really are. Their paperwork might not even be really who they are. That’s a challenge.” 

On the sickness in American culture:

“There’s a lot [of terrible things] going on in our culture. Why are people today so willing to take human life? Here in D.C. a few days ago, two girls, not even adults yet, assaulted a disabled, homeless man and killed him. If you think about that, and you ask yourself [about it], [it’s clear] there’s something deeply wrong in the culture. I don’t know if government can fix that as much as we have to ask ourselves, what kind of culture have we created in this country where these things are happening? 

“By multiple measures, we’re the most advanced economy in human history. Despite things being tough in America, they’re better here than anywhere else in the world right now. That’s why people keep coming. Yet we have this epidemic of depression, especially among young people under the age of 18. There’s something happening in the culture and in society that I think requires [something] beyond government to [fix]. You can make things illegal, but it doesn’t [solve everything]. You have to deal with the underlying root that’s causing people to do this….

“You have these horrible cases of individuals that have a problem or whatever it is, and they go in and decide, ‘We’re going to [shoot a bunch of people].’ Then you’ve got these disputes where two people get into an argument somewhere and, right now, there’s not much of a distance between that and escalating it to, ‘I’m going to shoot up a place, I don’t care who I kill and who gets hurt in the process.’ That happens every night, everywhere.”

On our skilled labor shortage: 

“We have a labor market that’s asking to hire skilled labor. But we’ve spent 20, 30 years telling everybody to go to college as if somehow, if you don’t go to college, it’s bad. But we don’t have enough welders, plumbers, electricians, all these people that work at making things. 

“I had a group here yesterday from Saint Pete College that’s starting a robotic technician [program]. You see all this robotic surgery going on. Well, who’s going to fix those machines when they break? They’ve started a program to train that. 

“These are jobs where people can graduate at 21 years of age making 90, 100,000 dollars a year. But we don’t have an education system yet, although we’re getting there, that’s building what we used to call vocational training, but really is job training, because those are the jobs that are becoming available. 

“If you know how to do that stuff, you’re going to find a job a lot faster than if you have a sociology degree or a political science degree, like I had, because that’s what the economy is demanding. I think we need to create opportunities for more of that to happen, because it’s hurting business, and ultimately, it’s hurting people that don’t have those skills.”

On how we can have a low unemployment rate and a lack of good jobs at the same time:

“The unemployment rate is the percentage of people that are looking for work that say they can’t find work. But a lot of times, people aren’t just looking for a job. They’re looking for a job that pays them enough to do the things they want in life to make it productive. Job fairs are important, because oftentimes it’s hard for employers to tell people, these are the opportunities that are available out there if you have the right skill training.”