A look at Senator Marco Rubio’s GOP response to the State of the Union Address


Since he was elected in 2010, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has had a lot of media attention turned to both him and his political future. Last night, he was the Republican picked to officially respond to the President’s State of the Union address. Our quick take:

The Senator started off strong, talking about the Tea Party core principle of free markets:

This opportunity – to make it to the middle class or beyond no matter where you start out in life – it isn’t bestowed on us from Washington. It comes from a vibrant free economy where people can risk their own money to open a business. And when they succeed, they hire more people, who in turn invest or spend the money they make, helping others start a business and create jobs.

Next, the Senator stated how the idea that more government and higher taxes are a good thing for America is an illusion in the President’s mind, especially in light of how government helped cause the 2008 financial crash. He rightly took down Obamacare and articulated how it is harming potential economic growth through its regulations and mandates. He also talked about the importance of tax reform and economic growth.

Unfortunately, despite his rhetoric about limiting government to the size allowed in the Constitution, as well as his professed belief in local and parental control of education, the Senator said he “believe[s] in federal financial aid.” Basic supply-and-demand realities show that when the supply of students artificially increases, and the demand for students rises more slowly, costs increase. Thus, Senator Rubio’s concern about the high cost of education is mitigated by this bad policy idea.

Senator Rubio next talked about the need to reform Medicare – but said anyone who is on it today should not have their plans modified. In 2024, Medicare is expected to begin going bankrupt, which means delaying a decade for reforms to kick in (as the Senator insinuated) is not nearly fiscally viable.

Overall, the Senator’s speech was philosophically solid, but it failed in one significant way: he did not articulate many policy specifics on the debt or growing the economy. This has long been a problem in both parties – talking points are prioritized over specific policy proposals that would actually do good for America.

We’re not going to worry about the lack of pre-speech hydration, there’s much more important things to focus on.