Marco Rubio. True Reagan Conservative, or Establishment Rhino?
Welcome to the Gazette’s third analysis of a Presidential Candidate: Marco Rubio.
Let’s lead off with the main issues that Marco would like to address:
- Stop China from undermining America.
- Stop Common Core and return Education to State and Local control.
- Stand up for democracy and fight Communism in Cuba.
- Rein in Washington spending and balance the budget.
- Stop abuse of Eminent Domain laws.
- Enable the United States to become energy independent and make it more profitable and attractive for all types of energy producing companies to operate in the United States.
- Enforce strong Foreign Policy through strength, prosperity, and promotion of America’s core values throughout the world.
- Repeal and replace Obamacare with a new Market driven alternative healthcare system.
- Overhaul the outdated higher education system in the United States, making it more affordable and less time consuming.
- Secure the border.
- Defend a free enterprise internet system.
- Stand against Iran and the Iran Nuclear Deal.
- Stand against ISIS.
- Stand with our closest Middle-Eastern ally, Israel.
- Promote a pro-business economy through deregulation and tax cuts.
- Improve K-12 Education through School Choice.
- Protect life from conception to natural death.
- Rebuild and Modernize the United States Military.
- Stand against North Korea.
- Restrain regulation on the Economy by creating a National Regulatory Budget, setting a limit on the amount of money regulations can cost.
- Stand up to Putin through protection of Europe, particularly Ukraine, and by reestablishing the United States as the main power broker in the Middle East.
- End sanctuary cities.
- Defend the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens and address the problem of violence in America at its core rather than on the surface level.
- Get government off the backs of innovators.
- Protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare.
- Institute a pro-growth and pro-family tax plan.
- Reform the VA.
- Return highway control back to the states and enable the states to innovate and control their transportation systems.
As you can see, Marco has no shortage of things he would like to address. Since there are so many, let’s stick with the ten that Marco seems to emphasize the most in this election cycle:
- Balancing the budget/Reining in Washington Spending
- Repealing and replacing Obamacare
- Illegal immigration
- Improving the Economy
- Reforming the VA
- Rebuilding the Military
- Standing against ISIS and Iran
- Standing up to Russia and Putin
- Defending the Second Amendment
- Tax reform
Let’s dive right in:
- Balancing the budget. This is extremely important for every Republican candidate to emphasize, seeing as the deficit poses one of the most dangerous threats to the United States economy and nation as a whole. How will Marco do it? Well according to the plan on his website, he plans to push for the Balanced Budget Amendment, repeal Obamacare, push for line-item veto power, reduce the size of the federal workforce, reform and save Social Security and Medicaid, among other things. Read the detailed plan with the link above.
- Repealing and replacing Obamacare. Marco plans on repealing Obamacare and replacing it with “consumer-centered health reforms.” What does this mean? Well, Marco would like to expand access to affordable, quality health coverage by giving Americans a refundable tax credit that can be used to purchase insurance. he also wants to reduce the cost of healthcare, promote innovation in the healthcare sector, and reform existing healthcare regulation so that vulnerable people and people with pre-existing health conditions have access to quality coverage and are protected by the law. He also has a plan to reform and save Medicare. See the full Marco Rubio plan for healthcare reform here.
- Illegal immigration. Here’s one where Rubio might find a little trouble for himself. His plan claims that he will cancel all of Obama’s executive actions on immigration, stop federal funding for sanctuary cities, deport criminal illegal aliens, hire 20,000 new border patrol agents, among other things. The real question is, can he be trusted. With Marco’s past support of the ‘Gang of Eight’ bill, American’s might find that the Florida Senator has flip flopped on immigration before. But has Marco reverted back to his original position? Only time will tell. Click here for Rubio’s full immigration plan.
- Improving the economy. Marco has several sections on his website devoted to the economy. The first is on regulations. Marco is proposing a National Regulatory Budget that would limit the cost that regulations could have on the economy, thus preventing wasteful regulations while keeping in place those that are vital to the protection of the individual worker or small business owner. This seems to me like a very good idea, and would help rein in Washington’s spending and improve the environment of our economy so as to improve growth. The second section of Marco’s economic plan involves a “Sharing Economy”, which involves the deregulation of “21st Century innovators”, the protection of the internet from taxes, and various other proposals designed to free up our market, particularly when it comes to new technological/internet-based companies and startups. This is also a good idea, since less government regulation of the market is always a good thing. The last section that applies to the economy is Marco’s tax plan, which we’ll go over in Number 10.
- Reforming the VA. Veterans have been one of the primary concerns of this year’s election cycle, mostly on the Republican side. Many of the GOP candidates are calling for a complete overhaul and comprehensive reformation of the VA, whereas Marco is calling for more responsibility. The plan he has put out on his website is simply to hold the officials and employees at the VA accountable for their mistreatment/inefficient treatment of our Vets. Very simple, but maybe a little less than what we’re looking for? Personally, not my favorite VA reform plan out there, but at least it’s something.
- Rebuilding the Military. This has also been a key issue for the Republican candidates since the beginning of the 2016 Presidential race. Our post-WW2 military is currently at it’s smallest size since the 1960’s. It’s also only the seventh largest military in the world when factoring in both Active Duty Servicemen and Reservists. When only factoring in Active Duty, it places second behind China. The Heritage Foundation ranks current overall United States Military power as “marginal”, with it’s capacity and capability being also marginal, yet they classify its readiness as “weak”. The U.S. Military is not what it once was. Thus, almost every Republican candidate has put forth a plan to strengthen our military. Marco’s is as follows: He will recapitalize the Navy by returning it to a minimum of 323 ships by 2024, increase our aircraft carrier fleet, restore continuous and ready naval combat power in the Mediterranean, build new attack submarines, push ahead for development of new amphibious assault vehicles, replenish diminished munitions inventories, as well as several other proposals. For the Air Force, he will invest in better Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance capabilities on all levels, return the Air Force’s readiness to pre-Obama levels, re-posture the tactical Air Force for increased presence in the Middle East, Europe, and Southeast and Northeast Asia, among other proposals. He also has plans for our ground forces, military personnel and their benefits, reforming the Pentagon, overhauling the acquisition process, modernizing our missile defense system, modernize and protect our strategic assets, and posturing our military for the Cyber era of warfare. Rubio hasn’t shown much dishonesty in this area, so I think we can count on him to follow through on most, if not all, of these proposals. You can find his extremely detailed plan here.
- Standing up against ISIS and Iran. Rubio will do just what all the other GOP candidates have vowed to do on their first day in office: Rip up the Iran Nuclear Deal. He will also work with Congress to reimpose sanctions on Iran and also work to impose heavier sanctions on top of those that he will reinstate. Read his full plan here. Rubio has been a stalwart opposer of the Iran Deal since its introduction, so I have no doubt he will carry out these plans if elected.
- Stand against Russia and Putin. Rubio’s plan for standing against our former Cold-War Enemy is detailed. The basics are that he will defend and restore Ukrainian Sovereignty, defend our European allies from further Russian aggression, reclaim America’s position as the power broker in the Middle East (specifically in Syria), call out the Russians on their Arms Control violations, and stand up for Russian dissidents, democracy activists, and journalists. He has specific proposals on how he will carry out these plans, and you can find them here. Rubio’s opposition to Russia has shown in the Senate and in his various proposals throughout his terms, so I think he will stick to his word as best he can on this one.
- Defending the Second Amendment. Rubio himself claims to be a concealed carry permit holder, and a committed supporter of Americans’ 2A rights. His plans outline the deregulation of gun sales in the United States, making it easier for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and their families. Specifically, Marco wants to address violence at the source. Rather than outlawing guns, he wants to find out what in our society is causing us to be so violent in the first place. This is a smart move and is truly a great idea. The real root of our problem is why we are violent, not the weapons we use. So, Marco’s fundamental plan is to oppose further gun-control and to cancel Obama’s previous executive actions involving such legislation. While the plan isn’t extremely detailed on his website, I encourage you to read what he has to say here.
- Tax reform. This is a big one. Rubio’s tax plan is somewhat unique, considering it cuts the current number of tax brackets from 7 to 3. Rubio’s brackets would be 15%, 25%, and 35%. The application based on income is shown below: This is not the most pro-growth bracket on the Republican side, but it would simplify the tax code significantly for individuals and families. As for his Corporate Tax Code, Marco seeks to drop the rate from the current 35% (39.6% for Small Businesses), to a more competitive 25%: This is also not the most pro-growth plan on the GOP side, but it does make the U.S. more competitive compared to other countries. Marco’s plan to even FURTHER simplify the U.S. tax code is very detailed and can be found on his website, here.
Overall Grade: A
We aren’t giving Mr. Rubio the +, partially because of his flip-flop on immigration, and also partially because his tax plan isn’t as pro-growth as it could be. Marco very effectively splits the line between conservative and establishment Republicans. He is almost a pure Reaganite, with the only possible exception being his tax plans, and he would indeed make a fitting President. On top of that, he can win. Most head-to-head national polls show Marco beating both Clinton and Sanders consistently. So, Rubio would make a good President, but maybe not as good as Ted Cruz on a trustworthiness scale or an economic growth scale. Otherwise, take your pick and either of the two would be excellent.