Florida Senator Marco Rubio has officially announced that he is throwing his hat into the ring for the upcoming presidential race. On the younger side of his forties and lower on experience than most, if not all of his competitors, Senator Rubio stands in fifth place in the primary race with 8.3 percent support according to an aggregate of polls collected by Real Clear Politics. However, with over a year and a half until the presidential elections he has time to make up ground and represents the Republican Party’s best chance to take back the white house in 2016.
A self-proclaimed product of the American dream, Senator Rubio hails from West Miami and similar to a large segment of that area’s population, is of Cuban descent. His parents migrated in 1956 and worked their way into the middle class. His father was a bartender and his mother a maid, cashier, and retail clerk. He attended undergraduate school at the University of Florida followed by law school at the University of Miami.
His political career began as the City Commissioner for West Miami before he was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2000. He then rose to the position of Speaker in 2006 before being elected to his first senate term in 2010.
A quick run-through of the Senator’s stances on our nation’s most important issues yields many consistent ideologies with the rest of the GOP. Beginning with his stance on our budget, he believes that spending should be frozen in all areas except defense (we’ll get to that later), according to PBS. Our entitlement program is growing at an unsustainable rate and drives our debt, one that has skyrocketed under the current administration he says in a letter to CNN.
Where Senator Rubio really separates himself from the pack is when it comes to his newly proposed, and highly criticized, tax plan. Although after reviewing the plan, it contains ideas that could appease all. According to a Fox Business article, this plan simplifies the current seven tax brackets down to two: a 15 percent rate for couples making under $150,000 per year and a 35 percent rate for those over that mark. This should entice those who believe that the wealthier class in America does not pay their fair share.
The other part of the plan includes a provision that would slash the corporate tax rate from 35 percent (the highest among developed countries) to 25 percent. This would ensure that, while the upper class is being taxed appropriately, they would save money on this corporate tax thus making America a better place for job creation by bringing businesses back into the states.
As stated before, Senator Rubio believes our country spends too much on entitlement programs. Regardless of what your stance on these programs such as Medicare and Social Security are, the undeniable truth is that they are heading towards bankruptcy. On his website, the Senator pegs 2033 as the year that Social Security will become insolvent, citing a lack of economic growth and an aging population.
Without raising taxes, the only options to reform the system would be to raise the retirement age for younger Americans, reduce Cost of Living Adjustments, and other changes to benefits according to an article by the American Enterprise Institute. While these changes would be unfortunate, Senator Rubio should be applauded for his willingness to take on the tough issues, especially one that could turn into a serious problem if not addressed soon.
As for Medicare, it would be transformed into a “premium support system” which would empower seniors with choice and market competition according to Senator Rubio in a letter to Fox News. This is part of his three part plan for health care reform. He promises to repeal Obamacare but believes the current Supreme Court case called King v. Burwell will do it for him.
After this, his Medicare reform along with a reform of current insurance regulations to encourage innovation and an “advanceable, refundable” tax credit would round out his policy. This should come as good news to the many who have lost their doctor and insurance policy under Obamacare and will be good news to all if King v. Burwell strikes a huge hole in the current president’s bill.
Although it is good to have a backup plan to the current system, Senator Rubio still has work to do in explaining how his plan will improve an American health care system that is far more costly than any other in the world and yet yields only the 37th best outcomes according to the World Health Organization. This abysmal ranking being due to the vast amount of money we spend on acute health care as opposed to preventative.
Back to the earlier statement about Senator Rubio wanting to increase spending on defense. Here he brings up an excellent point about the current state of our enemies: “from the rise of the Islamic State and the spread of Islamic terrorism, to Russia’s aggression in Europe, to Chinese expansionism in the South China Sea, the threats to American security are growing,” according to CNN.
Indeed the situation in the Middle East and even Africa have been going downhill since troops were pulled from the area. So much so that troop withdrawal has been put on hold. Combined with the growing nuclear threat that is Iran, it only makes sense to increase the budgeting for our military to combat these threats.
Senator Rubio, with his Hispanic heritage and his belief in reforming old structures, should be able to cut into demographics that have troubled Republicans when attempting to reach out to minorities and the youth of America. These attributes coupled with his humble beginnings and nice-guy demeanor will go a long way in helping him win over voters. His patriotism and belief in fiscal responsibility will ultimately bag Republicans and turn him into the best threat the GOP has to take the white house.
Ryan Clabaugh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.