El Rushbo Talks with Senator Marco Rubio
July 12, 2011
RUSH: We welcome to the EIB Network Senator Marco Rubio from Florida. It's great to have you on the program, sir, and welcome.
SENATOR RUBIO: Well, thank you for having me.
RUSH: I want to play for you... I know you heard this, but I want to play for you Speaker Boehner at his press conference yesterday in Washington talking about you.
SENATOR RUBIO: Okay.
SPEAKER BOEHNER: If you want to see an increase in government revenues, then let's grow the economy and create jobs, broaden the tax base and lower rates. As Senator Rubio said last week, "We don't need more taxes; what we need are more taxpayers."
RUSH: And you are also on record as saying, "Every aspect of life in America is worse since Obama took over." Republican voters aren't used to hearing this from elected Republicans. Congratulations to you.
SENATOR RUBIO: Well, maybe I just haven't been here long enough to know better, but... (laughing)
SENATOR RUBIO: You know, the first part about it, Rush, is something you know on this debt limit thing. I said to somebody earlier today in the hallway, one of these media types that waits out in the hallways to interview you. They wanted to talk about the debt limit. I said, "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¢ out of every dollar and has no idea how it's gonna pay it back; and that's a combination of spending -- we just spend way too much as government -- and loss of revenues."
Again, not loss of revenues 'cause our taxes aren't high enough. Loss of revenues because we have too many people that 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 and a Balanced Budget Amendment and cuts starting right now -- and, at the same time, some sort of pro-growth measures that get people back at work that create not new taxes but new taxpayers: People that are working, paying their taxes, adding 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 commonsense approach to this, and, 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. I mean, people have no idea what you'd have to raise in taxes in this country to just to begin to make a difference. Of course you never can raise it to that level because you won't be able to collect them because, you know, people aren't dumb enough to work for free. I mean, if you're gonna tax all their money, they're not gonna keep working. So these are the things I just don't get and I wish we had done a better job earlier of outlining these choices to the American people.
RUSH: Well, you're doing it now. It's not too late, is it?
SENATOR RUBIO: I hope it's not too late. I mean, you know, part of the game, the play-up here is, "Wait 'til the last minute. Wait 'til the final days or weeks and then basically tell everybody, 'Well, guys, you know, it's either take it or leave it. Either we do this, you know, the world falls apart. The government falls apart. We default on our debt.'" We've known about this for months, for years. This is an ongoing issue and I think part of that is strategy; part of that is just a political process that hopes someone's gonna come in and solve it for them.
RUSH: Well, we know what they do. This is as old as the Democrat the playbook and a lot of us wonder: Why do Republicans continue to fall for it? Why are we so afraid that something... You just articulated it. I'm sure if you know it, every other Republican on Capitol Hill knows it. Why, then, is it such an over-the-cliff thing?
SENATOR RUBIO: Right.
RUSH: If we know what they're trying to do to us, if we know what their plan is -- we know they're gonna have newspaper stories coming soon praising Republicans that disagree with Boehner and McConnell -- why is it so hard to resist this if we know what their plan is?
SENATOR RUBIO: Well, part of the fear... I'll tell you what it is. Part of the fear that members have up here is they're afraid that at some point here soon Geithner and others are gonna start sending letters to benefits and Medicare beneficiaries and troops in the field and tell them, "You're not gonna be getting your paychecks because, you know, we can't pay you." So they're afraid of what the reaction to that would be.
RUSH: Let me interrupt you. Obama just did that. Obama just did that. They just excerpted his interview with CBS News, and he just said -- just released last ten minutes -- that he cannot guarantee Social Security checks will go out after August 2nd if we don't raise the debt limit.
SENATOR RUBIO: And, again, this was by design because he knows that these checks are due -- the majority of them -- to start getting paid August 3rd. So that's why August 2nd was picked as a date. It's as much a political ploy as anything else and that's the leverage they're gonna use -- and, again, the American people are being held hostage. But we have an advantage that I don't think existed in 1995 or another year that people are so traumatized by for whatever reason, I'm not sure. But the advantage is we have multiple ways to communicate that didn't exist back then -- and also I think thanks to programs like yours and others that are out there doing this service, people are more aware of this than they've ever been. I mean, they now I think clearly understand the choices. There's a much greater awareness in the American population about how government works and how government doesn't work, and what our problems are. So I think, ultimately, this problem is a big deal. I mean, this is not some small dispute that you can cut in the middle and everybody gets something. I mean, this is a major issue that -- if left unresolved -- is gonna lead to a sovereign debt crisis, and ultimately the redefinition of government's role in America and America's role in the world. This is as big as it gets and we need to treat it that way both in our solutions and in our approach.
RUSH: 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, after 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. Who is this man?
SENATOR 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 the election next year, what he's really gonna be coming to the American people and asking for is an extension to his contract. He wants a four-year extension to his contract to be president of the United States. So we have to measure him, and how do we measure him? Well, unemployment. Unemployment is higher, significantly higher than when he took over. You know, what about the value of people's homes? The value of people's 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. His view of government and the people in his administration is a flawed view that takes us away from the things that have made America exceptional and part of it 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 competence in terms of being able to do the job and the ability to lead on some of these critical issues and the result is being paid by, you know, 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.
RUSH: Yeah, he sees it being bankrupted, too. This is the thing, he sees it's not working. I guess this is just the result of sitting around the faculty lounge at Harvard and talking about your theories all your life and finally getting a chance to implement them, and I want to go back to this Social Security business 'cause it's the playbook, as you said, hold the seasoned citizens and the military hostage, tell 'em that their payments aren't coming, that is economic terrorism. Tell me, can Congress prioritize the payments of the debt if we were to get to that circumstance --
SENATOR RUBIO: Yes.
RUSH: -- can you can guarantee who gets paid and who don't?
SENATOR RUBIO: Senator Pat Toomey has a bill that does that, that actually directs them to pay certain things first, and I don't think Harry Reid, with all due respect, is gonna be giving it a hearing any time soon, but there is a bill out there that will direct that, and I am a cosponsor of it as are most of my Republican colleagues in the Senate.
RUSH: So we will only go into default if Obama makes us default. I mean he can stop this, right?
SENATOR RUBIO: Sure. He can stop it right now by basically saying, "You know what, we need to do something to grow our economy. Let's pass tax reform. Let's pass regulatory reform." He can stop this by also starting to implement some of the spending measures we think are necessary. He can also stop it by basically prioritizing spending on certain things if it comes to that. But let me tell you one thing, Rush, that no one said yet or maybe they have, the fact that payments on Social Security and Medicare may stop is a stinging indictment and a wake-up call. What Americans should realize, "Hold on a second, my Social Security check and my Medicare benefits are borrowed? The money that you're using to pay for my Social Security are borrowed? I thought I paid into a trust fund. I thought I worked my whole life to pay into some system and now you're paying my money back and you're claiming that the money is being borrowed?" That's what they're basically conceding when they're saying this.
RUSH: Yeah. You know, that's exactly right. We always thought Social Security was in a lockbox.
SENATOR RUBIO: Well, maybe a Chinese lockbox because that's what we're borrowing the money from. The point is if that comes to pass or he's threatening to do that, then the wake-up call and the message to Americans is, hey, your Social Security benefits, your Medicare benefits, what we're paying soldiers in the field, all these things that are being cut off, this is borrowed money. This is not money we have or money we saved for you. This is money we are borrowing from your children and your grandchildren, and we have no way of paying it back, and that alone should send a chill up the spine of millions of Americans.
RUSH: We're speaking, by the way, to United States Senator Marco Rubio from Florida. Speaker Boehner said today that he wants to see the president's plan, that the Republicans have presented plenty of specificity, haven't seen any from the president. What are your thoughts on the Republicans saying to the president, "You know what, we're gonna stop this endless parade of meetings, we're not accomplishing anything here. You get to play the adult in the room, you created this problem, and now you sit around and talk about fiscal responsibility and putting our house in order as though it's our fault. We've got some suggestions. You have no specificity. You let us know when you're really willing to talk about it and we'll come back."
SENATOR RUBIO: Yeah, I mean that's right, and that's exactly right. I would say the president has offered a plan already, it's the budget he offered earlier in the year that instead of reducing the debt actually increased it dramatically and increased taxes to boot. So it actually grew taxes and grew the debt, and that plan that the president put forward earlier in the year, his budget, you know how many votes it got in the Senate? Zero. Not a single Democrat voted for his budget, that's how outrageous and preposterous it was. So that's the president's budget that he put forward. So the bottom line is this president has not led on this issue. Again it's partial incompetence, part of it is just playing games with this politically. I think they've always designed it to come to this last moment where he can hold the economy hostage and say, "Look what's gonna happen if you don't give me my way on these things." But the reality is the long-term implications of the direction he's taking our country are hard to exaggerate.
RUSH: One minute remaining. Where do you think it's gonna end up or how?
SENATOR RUBIO: I have no idea other than to tell you that here's what I think is the worst possible outcome. The worst possible outcome is an increase in the debt limit without any corresponding fiscal discipline or cuts, because the message that's gonna send to the world is America is still borrowing more than it can pay back and it has no plans to reverse course, and if you think this debt limit problem is catastrophic, these guys go around thinking that, just wait 'til the rating houses downgrade us because they say America has no way to pay back this debt that they're taking out. Then you're gonna have a really catastrophe on our hands and at that point our options are virtually nil so I think that's the worst possible outcome. We can never allow that to happen.
RUSH: Senator, thanks so much for your time.
SENATOR RUBIO: Thank you, Rush.
RUSH: You bet. Senator Marco Rubio from Florida, hell-bent for leather. And that is why I wanted him to come on the program today. We need to hear this kind of thing from elected Republicans in Washington, not just from America's Anchorman. You know, they say that raising the debt limit is kicking the can down the road, but we're running out of road, is the point. I mean shovel-ready jobs in the stimulus, we're supposed to build new roads. We didn't build any new roads and the road the can is on is filled with potholes and doesn't have a whole lot of road left on it.