Fighting for Florida

Rubio Calls Out President's Social Security Scare Tactics

"If they don't get their Social Security checks, it’s because the President’s decided to do that, because we still have revenue coming in. ... I think people are going to be shocked to learn the real truth about what the government's done with their Social Security money."

Jul 13 2011

Sen. Rubio on “The Hugh Hewitt Show”

Sen. Rubio: People Are Going to Be Shocked to Learn the Real Truth About What the Government’s Done With Their Social Security Money

Hugh Hewitt: “Senator Rubio, you represent a lot of senior citizens in Florida. The country knows that. I think it’s despicable to scare them this way. What’s your reaction to the President’s threat to hold their Social Security checks hostage?”

Sen. Rubio: “Well, if they don’t get their Social Security checks, it’s because the President’s decided to do that, because we still have revenue coming in. Here’s the other thing I would say. If in fact the President holds up their checks for Social Security, and Medicare, and whatever else he wants to hold up to make his point, isn’t he admitting that all these programs are funded by deficit spending? Isn’t he admitting that all these programs are dependent upon borrowed money?

“And I think the folks who are on Social Security, people like my mom, would be shocked to learn the truth that the money that they’re receiving in Social Security isn’t the money they worked hard for all these years to put away, the government was going to give back to them in their retirement. The government spent all that money already. They spent it long ago on other things. This is borrowed money. This is money that we’re borrowing from our children and our grandchildren. And I think people are going to, if that happens, I think people are going to be shocked to learn the real truth about what the government’s done with their Social Security money.”

Sen. Rubio: This Issue of the Debt Limit Didn’t Sneak Up On Us

Hugh Hewitt: “Do you think the negotiations that he had lured Republicans into over the last couple of weeks have been in bad faith?”

Sen. Rubio: “Well, I wasn’t in those negotiations, so I’d hate to characterize something I wasn’t a part of. Let me say that he was late to the game.

“First of all, the President, this is not a new issue, okay? This issue of the debt limit didn’t sneak up on us. This has been around for a while. We knew this was coming. And then the President’s done nothing on it. He gave a state of the union speech this year, never mentioned any plans about how to address this. He offered a budget before Congress, and the budget was so bad, I mean, it actually increased the debt. His budget was so bad, so unrealistic, that when we put it to a vote here in the Senate, not even a single Democrat voted for it. That’s how bad it was. It didn’t get a single vote.

“So he’s had multiple opportunities to deal with this, and he’s kind of punted and moved the ball along, and focused on other things. And now, with three weeks to go, two weeks to go, all of a sudden, he wants to ride in and act like he’s leading. Well, he’s not leading. In fact, what he’s doing is he’s trying to position this as a political issue, so he can claim victory for his 2012 election. But the reality of it is that people know better, they’re going to realize it, we’re going to continue to talk about it.”

Sen. Rubio: We Need A Reasonable And Realistic Tax Package That Seriously Lowers Our Debt

Sen. Rubio: “The debt limit is a symptom, it’s not our problem. The core problem is our debt and the fact that our government borrows 40 cents out of every dollar and has no idea how it is going to pay it back. And that’s a combination of spending, we just spend way too much as a government, and loss of revenues, again not loss of revenues because our taxes aren’t high enough, loss of revenues because we have too many people who are out of work that are not paying taxes.

“So the solution seems to me to be a combination of fiscal discipline on the spending side, which you have to enforce through spending caps, a balanced budget amendment and cuts starting right now. And, at the same time, some sort of pro-growth measures that get people back to work, that creates not new taxes, but new tax payers. People that are working, paying their taxes and adding new revenue to government so that government can use that revenue not to grow government but to pay down the debt and put us on a sustainable path. That just seems to me to be the common sense approach to this. Instead we’ve got this President’s obsession with raising taxes. And, what bothers me the most about it is not just that it will kill jobs and is bad for our economy, what bothers me the most is there isn’t a single tax package out there that’s reasonable and realistic that would even put a dent on this debt crisis.

“People have no idea what you would have to raise the taxes to, just to begin to make a difference. And of course you never can raise it to that level because you won’t be able to collect them; people aren’t dumb enough to work for free. If you are going to tax all their money, they aren’t going to keep working. These are the things I just don’t get, and I wish we had done a better job earlier about outlining these choices to the American people.”

Sen. Rubio: By Every Measure, The President Has Made Things Significantly Worse

Rush Limbaugh: “Now a lot of Americans agree with every word that you’ve said and they’ve thought this for a long time. And a lot of Americans just have a tough time getting their arms around the fact that they’ve elected a man who’s leading the nation in this direction even after two and a half years of demonstrable failure. We couldn’t be more clear about how wrong and destructive these policies are. He wants to continue them and increase them and a lot of Americans can’t understand why – what, who is this man?”

Sen. Rubio: “Well here’s the problem. He has to be measured by an objective standard that every president has to be measured by. When I look at this election next year what he’s really going to be coming to the American people and asking for is an extension of his contract. He wants a four year extension to his contract to be President of the United States. But we have to measure him.

“And how do we measure him? Well, unemployment. Unemployment is higher than—significantly higher than when he took over. You know, what about the value of people’s homes? The values of peoples’ homes are down. How about the national debt? The national debt is up significantly higher, with no solution in sight, and none offered by him.

“By every measure that you can measure a president by, things have gotten worse and significantly worse. And that’s what he has to be measured by. And part of it, I think, is a flawed ideology, because I think his view of government and the people in his administrations is a flawed view that takes us away from the things that have made America exceptional.

“And part of it I think is quite frankly incompetence. I honestly believe – and I don’t say this with any disrespect, I really don’t know him, I have nothing personal against him, but I honestly think there’s a lack of confidence in terms of being able to do the job and the inability to lead on some of these critical issues. And the result is being paid by millions of Americans who can’t find a job, or are working twice as hard to make half as much, who see their country being bankrupted and no serious solutions being offered.”

Sen. Rubio: The Only Way To Generate Revenue Is To Create Jobs

Gretchen Carlson: “So I have seen your op-ed in which you say we’re being sold the wrong message that we need a balanced approach with regard to the debt talks. In what way?”

Sen. Rubio: “Well, we do need a balanced approach. I think the President’s got the wrong balance. We can't possibly raise enough taxes, even if we wanted to, we couldn’t possibly raise enough taxes to even make a dent on the debt. The only way to generate revenue for government that’s enough so that we can make a run at this debt is to grow the economy to create jobs. That's what I mean when I say what we need are not new taxes, what we need are new taxpayers. What we need is job creation and more people working. More people working means more people paying taxes. The way you do that is through regulatory reform and by simplifying the tax code, you lower the tax rate for everybody by getting rid of many of these unjustified exemptions that are the result of good lobbying, not good public policy.”


Sen. Rubio: It’s Not Just About Balancing The Budget, It’s About Saving Entitlement Programs

Gretchen Carlson: “I don't know if you happened to hear the President yesterday before another round of debt talks, but he sounded like he was appealing to the independents out there. He said he’s not going to mind taking the heat from his own party, and if you believe the insiders, they’re saying that he was willing to raise Medicare age from 65 to 67. Do you believe him?”

Sen. Rubio: “Well, I don’t know what to believe. I haven’t been in those conversations. All I can tell you is that that's where the money is in terms of on the negotiations side and the spending side. And it's not just about balancing the budget. It's about saving the programs. Medicare is going bankrupt. Medicare can't continue the way it is now because it is going bankrupt. I think we need to save Medicare. It’s an important program, and anybody who is for leaving Medicare the way it is now, is for bankrupting Medicare.”

Sean Hannity: “You know, it was interesting to watch the tax chief Tim Geithner go “There is no credible argument, no -- no responsibility leader would say the United States of America for the first time in its history should not meets its bills or obligations.” There was a guy just back a couple years ago that was then-senator by the name of Barack Obama, that said it would be irresponsible to raise the debt limit, not live within our means and pass the burden on to our kids and grandkids. And he voted against raising the debt ceiling. So, was he talking about President Obama or the current members of Congress?”

Sen. Marco Rubio: “Well, you are right. When the President was a Senator he didn't vote to raise the debt limit. But look, we need to understand the problem. At its core, the problem is not the debt limit. The problem is we have a federal government that spends one-and-a-half trillion dollars more than it takes in. Basically, it borrows 40 cents out of every dollar that it spends. That’s the fundamental problem, and that’s what’s led to this debt situation that we have, this debt crisis. And the debt crisis is not that difficult to understand: we spend too much money and we don't take enough money in. How do you deal with the first part where we spend too much money? That's where you need a spending cap some spending reductions and balanced budget amendment. And now what do you do about not taking enough money in? That's where the President comes in and says we need to raise taxes. That’s where the rest of us, who understand how to solve this, say, ‘No, what we need to do is grow our economy and you can't do that if you are raising taxes.’ These taxes that the President wants to raise, not only do they do not solve the problem because all this class warfare that he’s using, the jets, oil companies and hedge fund managers, doesn't add up to enough to put a dent in the debt. But what it will do is kill job creation, which is what we need. You want to know why the government doesn't generate enough to pay its expenses? Because there are too many people who are unemployed, and there are too many people who are employed and not making as much as they once made. Hence, you’re not collecting as much in taxes that you can use to pay down your debt. We need jobs in America, and you’re not going to get them as long as the President of the United States has this tax obsession.”

Earlier today Senator Rubio held a field hearing in Pensacola examining oil spill recovery efforts. Constituents gathered with the Senator to listen to testimony from local and state officials, business owners and fishermen.

The hearing, held in the Amos Performance Studio at Pensacola State College, focused on the spill’s environmental and economic impact as well as problems with the BP claims process.

Panelists for the hearing included Agriculture Commissioner Adam H. Putnam, Pensacola Chamber of Commerce Chairman Collier Merrill, business owners Joe Gilchrist and Carlos Faught and National Association of Charterboat Operators (NACO) President Captain Bob Zales.

Rob Williams: “That’s the other topic that’s on the radar screen, and that is the debt limit. Let’s see, one, two, three weeks away, they’re giving us some sort of deadline. What’s your take on the whole thing?”

Sen. Marco Rubio: “My take is it’s a royal mess. I don’t understand why it takes so long—I really don’t. I understand I’m not a veteran of Washington, and maybe there’s some things I’m still learning, but for the life of me, I will never understand why they leave everything for the last minute. I’ve been talking and writing about the debt limit since January and February. We knew this was out there, why did we wait so long? And now you’ve got this ‘up against the clock,’ the entire country is being held hostage because neither side will budge. I think it’s pretty simple. We have to do two things: one, we have to reduce spending. We can’t continue to spend money we don’t have, and I think everyone needs to understand that. And the places where we need to reduce spending is the places where spending is happening. So, while people talk about all the discretionary spending and the military budget, the spending is in the entitlement programs that are going bankrupt, particularly Medicare. You want to save Medicare? Then we have to reform it and not politicize it or demagogue it.

“And the other thing we have to do, because you can’t just cut your way, you’ve also got to generate revenue and you’ve got to have more money coming into the government so they can use it to pay down the debt. And the debate is how do you generate more money for government? The President wants to raise taxes, and I’m not going to get into that today because I don’t want to politicize this hearing, but I guarantee you that the last thing that these business owners in Northwest Florida who have been hurt by the oil spill need is a tax increase. The President will go out and say, ‘Well, it’s a tax increase on rich people.’ But the way he defines ‘rich people’ is very different from the way you and I would define ‘rich people.’ His definition of ‘rich people’ is anybody who makes over $200,000 a year, or anybody whose business makes over $200,000 a year, and that’s a lot of people and a lot of small businesses.

“So, I think the way to generate money for government is to grow the economy. We don’t need new taxes, we need more taxpayers. And that means getting people back to work, and what’s going to get people back to work is regulatory reform and tax reform that encourages businesses, business owners and investors to start reinvesting money in the American economy to create new business and new jobs.”

There is broad consensus in Washington that a “balanced approach” between spending cuts, controls, and increased revenue is the only possible way to reduce our $14.3 trillion national debt and avert a Greek-style debt crisis. I share this perspective.

As the ongoing debt negotiations advance, members of Congress should evaluate the components of a debt package through one question: Will this make it harder or easier for the American people to create jobs? For my part, I have never met a job creator in Florida that has told me they are waiting for Congress to pass another tax hike before they start growing their business.

Unfortunately, there are indications some are willing to accept that higher revenues in a debt package should come from a $1 trillion tax hike, even at a time when the unemployment rate is 9.2 percent and 25 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed. I vehemently disagree with this approach and will oppose a net tax increase on the economy that makes its way into a debt reduction deal.

To be clear, new revenues are an essential component of any viable debt reduction deal. We can’t simply cut our way out of this debt; we also need to grow our way out of it. The best way to do this is by increasing the number of taxpayers gainfully employed in our economy and by easing burdensome regulations, not by raising taxes.

We can generate lasting economic growth and trillions in new revenues for the federal government through pro-growth tax reform. Sen. Pat Toomey has a budget proposal that lowers top marginal tax rates to 25 percent in a revenue-neutral way and eliminates loopholes and deductions, resulting in $1.5 trillion of additional real growth over the next decade and millions of new private-sector jobs, according to the Heritage Foundation. His budget recognizes that tax cuts and an overhaul of our 70,000 page tax code will create jobs and generate trillions in new revenue.

Net tax increases are poor economic policy. Will raising taxes on manufacturers make it easier for them to hire new workers? Will raising taxes on American energy companies make it easier to create jobs? Will raising taxes on the businesses that Democrats refer to as “millionaires and billionaires” allow those businesses to expand? Across the board, the answer is “no.” Instead, these tax increases will kill jobs in every district, state, and industry in the country. Regardless of the rhetoric coming from Washington politicians, these taxes will also have a mathematically insignificant effect on deficit reduction.

I proudly support a “balanced approach” in the context of debt reduction that grows the economy and boosts tax revenues in the process. But when presented with the option of choking our weak economy with yet another net tax increase, I will oppose it. Our country needs new taxpayers, not new taxes.

You can also read this op-ed here.


CBS’ CHRIS WAGGE: In 2009 alone, NASA spent $2 billion in your state of Florida. We’re seeing that the loss of the shuttle program is having a huge impact, like we just saw in Kelly’s piece right there. What can be done to minimize the effect? What do you tell the people of a place like Titusville to say hang in there?

RUBIO: Well, first of all Kelly's piece I think accurately outlines the impact that it has locally in Florida. NASA and the space shuttle program is critically important for my state, but it’s also important for the country. I mean there's a national security component to the space program. There’s all kinds of economic and commercial applications that are developed in space so I think that the impact of it will be felt ultimately across the country including in Texas and other parts of the country where there are contractors and here's what I tell people back home that have been displaced by this, and that is the sooner we can get a replacement program in place the better, and that’s what we’re focused on because right now we don't have anything to replace the shuttle and that's why these folks are hurting.


WAGGE: I want to ask you on quick question about the debt ceiling. The President talking about a massive $4 trillion cut to the deficit, we've reported this morning that the democrats have agreed to cut into some entitlements, republicans have agreed to closing some loopholes, Representative Cantor was on the program with us this morning, do you feel that a deal is now imminent with these new plans on the table?

RUBIO: Well -- I hope – I don't know about imminent. I don't want to exaggerate but I'm hopeful that there's been progress. But ultimately the outlines of the deal have to involve the control of spending and a growth in the economy and I think one of the ways we can help grow our economy is through tax reform not tax increases.  But there things in the tax code that are broken and wrong and don't make any sense. Let's reform those things and let’s flatten the tax code so that it's fair and lower for everybody. That will help our economy grow and that will create more taxpayers and that will generate more revenue that we can use to pay down the debt.

Over the last two weeks, we’ve had a deepening divide between the White House and Congress over Libya. It’s a clash that’s been both completely avoidable and also, quite frankly, counterproductive.

First, let me say that for the life of me, I do not understand why this administration did not bring this issue to the Congress from the outset. In the early days of the Libyan rebellion, the President should have come to the Congress, informed us that an armed rebellion had arisen against Libya’s anti-American, criminal dictator. That the rebels were asking for our assistance in establishing a no-fly zone over Libyan air space so that they could take care of the dictator themselves. And that with our support, he intended to work with our allies to establish such a no-fly zone.

If this President had done that then, I believe he would have found support here and that, by the way, Qaddafi would have been gone a long time ago.

But instead, this administration waited. And while it did, Qaddafi reestablished momentum and began to carry out a new level of atrocities unprecedented even by his murderous standards. And then, only when the Qaddafi mercenaries were on the outskirts of Benghazi threatening to massacre thousands of innocent civilians, did the President finally agree to participate.

But even that was botched. First, we ceded most of the operation over to our NATO allies. And God bless them for trying, but they do not have the military capability to finish the job.

Second, the President never consulted Congress, again ignoring a co-equal branch of government unnecessarily.

And then, when finally he was pressed under the War Powers Act, he claimed that the United States is not involved in “hostilities” in Libya.

Why we have reached this point is something history will have to explain. Suffice it to say that it didn’t have to be this way. And the reason why it is, is 100 percent the result of the President’s failure to lead.

Now, with all that being said, we need to decide what to do next. This is not about Hawks versus Doves, or Interventionists versus Isolationists, or any of the other labels that people throw around here.

And this cannot be about how upset we are at the President for botching the handling of this matter.

What we need to do next should be decided based on what is in the best interest of our country.

And here is the reality: Whether you agree with it or not, the United States is engaged in a fight. And it is a fight that only has two possible endings.

It can end with the fall of a brutal, criminal, anti-American dictator.

Or it could end in the dictator’s victory over our allies and us.

I would suggest that, given these two choices, the best choice for America is the first one, the fall of the anti-American dictator.

So going forward, how can we do we do this?

First, we should officially recognize the Transitional National Council.

Second, we should provide additional resources to support the council, including access to Libya’s frozen funds here in the United States. And by the way, we should also make sure that those frozen funds are used to reimburse us, the United States, for the cost of the operation.

Third, we should intensify strike operations to target the Qaddafi regime and get rid of this guy once and for all, and as soon as possible.

Then, fourth, we should go home and allow the Libyan people to build a new nation and a new future for themselves.

Now I understand that, rightfully so, many here in Congress and across America are weary of more war and more overseas engagement during a time of severe budget restraints here at home.

But the fact remains that whether you agree with it or not, we are already involved. We are already involved in Libya. We have already spent a considerable amount of money there. And we’re going to let all of this go to waste? Are we prepared to walk away and get stuck with a lose-lose proposition? We spent all the money on Libya, and Qaddafi is still around.

It is in our national interest to get this over with already.

This afternoon, the Foreign Relations Committee will meet to consider a resolution on this matter. I am concerned that rather than push the President to do what is necessary to bring this conflict to a successful conclusion, some are pushing to restrict our campaign.

No matter how you may feel about the original decision, we must now deal with the situation as it now stands. And the bottom line here is that if we withdraw from our air war over Libya, it will lengthen the conflict, it will increase its cost to American taxpayers, and raise doubts about U.S. leadership among friends and foes alike.

Here is what withdrawal will mean in real terms:

1. The coalition would quickly unravel. Qaddafi would emerge victorious, even more dangerous and determined to seek his revenge through terrorism against the countries in NATO and the Arab League that tried and failed to overthrow him.

2. We would see a bloodbath inside Libya. This killer Qaddafi will unleash unspeakable horrors against the Libyan people. And the ripple effects will be felt all across the Middle East. For example, the pro-democracy movements in places like Iran and Syria would conclude that they too might be abandoned. And the dictators they oppose would be emboldened.

3. Our disengagement would irreparably harm the NATO alliance.

I fully understand, I do, the frustrations at the way the President has handled this situation. But the answer to any problem is not to make it worse.

Some may think that what we do here this afternoon, or later when we return, on the resolution is largely symbolic. Simply intended to "send a message" to the White House.

And yes, it will send a message to the President, but it will also send a message to Qaddafi and those around him.

And here is the message that I fear we may send: that the coalition is breaking and that Qaddafi’s regime might yet win. I know that’s not anyone’s intention around here, but it is the very real risk we run.

There is a better, more pragmatic way forward.

Let’s pass a resolution backing these activities.

For those frustrated with the President’s failure to adequately make the case for our involvement, our job in Congress is to push the administration to do a better job explaining our effort in Libya.

Here is the good news: The tide in Libya appears to be turning against Qaddafi.

And at the same time, the Qaddafi regime has been shaken by further defections and collapsing international support.

Libya is at a critical juncture. And for the United States, there is only one acceptable outcome: The removal of the Qaddafi regime and, with it, the opportunity for the Libyan people to build a free and democratic society.

On Raising Taxes In A Debt Deal

Senator Rubio: “I think clearly many in the Democratic base have said that they want that on the table. Unfortunately for them, and I think fortunately for the country, I don't think there's going to be support for that in Washington, including among many Democrats…

“I think ultimately the votes are not there, certainly in the Senate… but I know among Republicans the votes aren't there. Because, number one, there's no way you can tax your way to prosperity. Number two, our tax code is already a source of great uncertainty and worry and concern about the future. And number three, even if he wanted to, which I do not, there's no tax they could raise that would accomplish the deficit reduction they're talking about… if you raise to 100 percent the taxes on every rich American under their definition of rich, which is people making over $250,000 or more a year, it still wouldn't make a dent on the debt.”

Sen. Rubio: “We Can’t Cut Our Way To Prosperity”

Senator Rubio: “We need to grow our way into prosperity, and that means economic growth. And government can be a facilitator of that in creating an environment where job creators are incentivized to create jobs. Job creators are not governments, they're not presidents, they're not U.S. senators. Job creators are everyday people from all walks of life that start a business or expand an existing business, and what we need are government policies that make it easier for them to do that and that encourage them to do that. So if that's what the president means, I think that's very good.”

On Raising The Debt Ceiling: “A Golden Opportunity To Confront The Issues That Stand Between Us And The Next American Century”

Senator Rubio: “This debt limit debate shouldn't be just about the debt limit. It should be a comprehensive opportunity to deal with the issues that confront our nation economically. So I want some sort of regulatory reform. I want some sort of tax reform. I'd like to see us tackle or at least begin to tackle how to save Medicare and Social Security, or at least Medicare in the starting. I'd like us to see a balanced budget amendment. I'd like to see a spending cap. So these are the kinds of things I'd like to see in a package. I have said from the beginning that this debt limit debate is a golden opportunity to begin to confront the serious issues that stand between us and the next American century, which is what we have an opportunity to build here.”