By Kevin Bogardus - 12/08/12 11:00 AM EST
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said smaller government could help boost the middle class in his party’s weekly address on Saturday.
Rubio, considered a potential 2016 presidential contender, said Americans still face a challenge finding good jobs in the tough economy.
The GOP senator said tax increases won’t solve the country’s growing deficit problem, adding that lawmakers need to look at reforming the federal government’s entitlement programs. Also, the tax code needs simplification, he said.
“We must get the national debt under control. Tax increases will not solve our $16 trillion debt. Only economic growth and a reform of entitlement programs will help control the debt,” Rubio said. “We must reform our complicated, uncertain, job-killing tax code, by getting rid of unjustified loopholes. But our goal should be to generate new revenue by creating new taxpayers, not new taxes.”
Along with reducing regulation and expanding energy production, Washington needs to look at the country’s education system so workers have the skills to earn middle-class jobs, according to Rubio.
“These ideas will help create middle-class jobs. But we also have to make sure that our people have the skills to do these new jobs,” Rubio said. “A limited government can help by promoting curriculum reform, teacher training and empowering parents with the freedom to choose their kids’ school. Our tax code should reward education investments the same way companies are encouraged to invest in equipment.”
Rubio, a son of Cuban immigrants, cited his own parents’ story as an example of how anyone can make it into the middle class. But the Florida Republican said that journey is tougher today.
“Today, the journey my parents made from poor immigrants to middle class, it’s harder than it was in their time because the world has changed. The economy has changed,” Rubio said. “But whether or not the journey my parents made is still possible to all who are willing to work for it, well, that will decide whether America will decline or whether America will remain exceptional.”
Rubio said as long as today’s workers are afforded the same opportunities, they too can rise into the middle class.
“Their journey is also our nation’s destiny. And if they can give their children what our parents gave us, well then life in 21st century America can be better than it has ever been,” Rubio said.