The full text of Senator Rubio’s response to the President’s SOTU speech addresses a variety of issues of interest to Federal Policy Week readers. While the speech focused on the economy and why a very limited government best serves the Nation, it touches on energy, education, and immigration as well.
Government Taxes & Spending: And the idea that more taxes and more government spending is the best way to help hardworking middle-class taxpayers, that’s an old idea that’s failed every time it’s been tried. More government isn’t going to help you get ahead; it’s going to hold you back. More government isn’t going to create more opportunities; it’s going to limit them. And more government isn’t going to inspire new ideas, new businesses, and new private-sector jobs; it’s going to create uncertainty. Because more government breeds complicated rules and laws that small businesses can’t afford to follow. Because more government raises taxes on employers who then pass the costs on to their employees through fewer hours, lower pay, and even layoffs. And because many government programs that claim to help the middle class often end up hurting them.
Energy: One of the best ways to encourage growth is through our energy industry. Of course solar and wind energy should be a part of our energy portfolio, but God also blessed us with — America with abundant coal, oil, and natural gas. Instead of wasting more taxpayer money on so-called clean-energy companies like Solyndra, let’s open up more federal lands for safe and responsible exploration. And let’s reform our energy regulations so that they’re reasonable and based on common sense. If we can grow our energy industry, it will make us energy independent, it will create middle-class jobs, and it will help bring manufacturing back from places like China.
Immigration: We can also help grow our — grow our economy if we have a legal immigration system that allows us to attract and assimilate the world’s best and brightest. We need a responsible, permanent solution to the problem of those who are here illegally.
Education: Helping the middle-class grow will also require an education system that gives people the skills today’s jobs entail and the knowledge that tomorrow’s world will require. We need to incentivize local school districts to offer more advanced placement courses and more vocational and career training. And we need to give all parents, especially the parents of children with special needs, the opportunity to send their children to the school of their choice. And because college tuition costs have grown so fast, we need to change the way we pay for higher education. Now, I believe in federal financial aid. I couldn’t have gone to college without it. But it’s not just about spending more money; it’s also about strengthening and modernizing them….We need student aid that does not discriminate against programs that nontraditional students rely on, like online courses or degree programs that give you credit for work experience.