Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), arguably more than most Republican presidential candidates, says his agenda isn’t designed to benefit the very wealthy. At a GOP debate in August, the far-right senator boasted that if he wins the Republican nomination, “We will be the party of the bartenders and the maids, of the people that clean our rooms and fix our cars.”
Soon after, Rubio unveiled a tax plan that would disproportionately benefit the rich – which he believes would benefit the bartenders and the maids when wealth eventually trickles down to working-class families.
It’s not the only contradiction at the heart of Rubio’s economic message.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio admitted that people can’t live off jobs that pay only $10 or $11 per hour on Wednesday.But the Republican presidential hopeful opposes raising the minimum wage.
At a campaign event in New Hampshire, the Florida senator argued, “I have the full confidence that the American private sector, made up of the most innovative and productive people on this planet, won’t just create millions of jobs. They will create millions of jobs that pay more. Because even the jobs that are being created now don’t pay enough. You can’t live on $10 an hour. You can’t live on $11 an hour.”
And since the current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, Rubio obviously believes Americans can’t live on the current federal minimum wage, either.
At this point, it’s tempting to think we’ve finally achieved broad consensus. Everyone from Bernie Sanders on the left to Marco Rubio on right may disagree on practically everything, but they’re united on one key truth: $7.25 per hour is obviously not good enough.
In practice, however, there is no consensus and the two sides actually want to move forward in opposite directions. Democrats, obviously, want to increase the minimum wage. Rubio – the one who believes Americans “can’t live on $11 an hour” – voted to kill a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
In fact, Rubio has suggested he believes the minimum wage should be $0. This Washington Post piece ran in early 2013:
In his response to the State of the Union on Tuesday night, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) laid out his own vision, not a direct rebuttal of President Obama’s proposals. But on CBS Wednesday morning he came out against Obama’s push to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour.“I support people making more than $9. I want people to make as much as they can. I don’t think a minimum wage law works,” Rubio told Charlie Rose.
So, what’s Rubio solution? The GOP candidate is apparently of the opinion that if we implement his tax breaks for the wealthy, eventually the free market will simply work things out.
One wonders how many bartenders and maids will agree.