Thursday, July 14, 2011

Marco Rubio: Deficit Peacock

Apparently, Marco Rubio thinks that Social Security is in a deficit. Rubio is not even aware that Social Security is a surplus. Rubio appeared on Rush Limbaugh's show and uttered economic nonsense.

SENATOR RUBIO: Sure. He can stop it right now by basically saying, "You know what, we need to do something to grow our economy. Let's pass tax reform. Let's pass regulatory reform." He can stop this by also starting to implement some of the spending measures we think are necessary. He can also stop it by basically prioritizing spending on certain things if it comes to that. But let me tell you one thing, Rush, that no one said yet or maybe they have, the fact that payments on Social Security and Medicare may stop is a stinging indictment and a wake-up call. What Americans should realize, "Hold on a second, my Social Security check and my Medicare benefits are borrowed? The money that you're using to pay for my Social Security are borrowed? I thought I paid into a trust fund. I thought I worked my whole life to pay into some system and now you're paying my money back and you're claiming that the money is being borrowed?" That's what they're basically conceding when they're saying this.

Rubio continues spreading misinformation about Social Security.

RUSH: Yeah. You know, that's exactly right. We always thought Social Security was in a lockbox.

SENATOR RUBIO: Well, maybe a Chinese lockbox because that's what we're borrowing the money from. The point is if that comes to pass or he's threatening to do that, then the wake-up call and the message to Americans is, hey, your Social Security benefits, your Medicare benefits, what we're paying soldiers in the field, all these things that are being cut off, this is borrowed money. This is not money we have or money we saved for you. This is money we are borrowing from your children and your grandchildren, and we have no way of paying it back, and that alone should send a chill up the spine of millions of Americans.

Social Security is solvent until 2037. Payroll taxes for SSI are taken out and used to fund other parts of the federal government. The government can repay that money back to Social Security. As for conservatives who lament that Social Security is merely IOUs? What do conservatives think Treasury bonds are? The Social Security doesn't keep money inside a giant bank vault.

Defense bonds helped fund American military operations during WWII. Americans got repayment and the interest from the bonds. Social Security is a trust fund that has been repaying retirees since FDR. Taxes were increased and the retirement age was raised in 1983 to make the trust fund for solvent. The fact remains that Social Security is not part of the national debt or deficit. Rubio is wrong.

Rubio claims that President Barack Obama wanted the debt ceiling crisis to go down to the wire.

SENATOR RUBIO: So the bottom line is this president has not led on this issue. Again it's partial incompetence, part of it is just playing games with this politically. I think they've always designed it to come to this last moment where he can hold the economy hostage and say, "Look what's gonna happen if you don't give me my way on these things." But the reality is the long-term implications of the direction he's taking our country are hard to exaggerate.

Obama asked originally asked Congress to raise the debt ceiling. Obama made no offers to Congress. Obama wanted the debt ceiling raised with a clean bill. Republicans in Congress refused to bulge. Rubio is now painting a false narrative that Obama wanted the debt ceiling crisis. Did Obama use his secret telepathic powers to force Rubio and other Republicans to oppose raising the debt ceiling?

Rubio then contradicts himself by saying that there must be debt reduction and we should worry about the United States credit rating.

SENATOR RUBIO: I have no idea other than to tell you that here's what I think is the worst possible outcome. The worst possible outcome is an increase in the debt limit without any corresponding fiscal discipline or cuts, because the message that's gonna send to the world is America is still borrowing more than it can pay back and it has no plans to reverse course, and if you think this debt limit problem is catastrophic, these guys go around thinking that, just wait 'til the rating houses downgrade us because they say America has no way to pay back this debt that they're taking out. Then you're gonna have a real catastrophe on our hands and, at that point, our options are virtually nil so I think that's the worst possible outcome. We can never allow that to happen.

As I blogged earlier, that if Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling finanial institutions will charge greater interest to the Treasury Department because its credit rating has been downgraded. This would force to United States into greater debt. If Rubio is troubled by the United States borrowing 40 cents on every dollar it spends then just wait until the interest rates are reset. If Rubio was really concerned about the debt then why is he silent on Mitch McConnell's proposal to take spending cuts off the table. Rubio's mock outrage is tremendously one-sided.

Former Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink called for a special session when Rubio was Speaker of the Florida House. Sink was concerned that Florida was borrowing too much to fund the government.

She said that the fund is locked into long-term investments and that it has taken a monetary investment hit, meaning there's less in available cash to use than there might have been several months ago.

"We can't just go in there and say, send us a billion dollars," she said.

She said she's against across-the-board cuts and thinks the Legislature should consider raising fees, like the licensing fees that her office collects.

Rubio was silent on Sink's request for a special session. Rubio is more deficit peacock than fiscal conservative. Michael Linden identified the traits that make up a deficit peacock. Tell me if this sounds like Rubio.

1. They never mention revenues
2. They offer easy answers
3. They support policies that make the long-term deficit problem worse
4. They think our budget woes appeared suddenly in January 2009

Rubio glosses over new tax revenues by repeating the talking point that "new taxpayers, not new tax revenues." I agree that more employed Americans would help generate more revenue. Rubio's answer for creating more employment is (drum roll please) tax cuts. Rubio said he would be bipartisan if Obama cut taxes and regulations.

Sure. He can stop it right now by basically saying, "You know what, we need to do something to grow our economy. Let's pass tax reform. Let's pass regulatory reform."

The tax cuts and less regulations Rubio wants would only encourage more bad behavior from Wall Street. Hedge fund manager Paul Singer did a fundraiser for Rubio. You can bet that Rubio has no interest in reforming Wall Street.

Rubio blames everything on Obama. Rubio doesn't mention George W. Bush's poor stewardship of the economy once during the Limbaugh interview.

Well, here's the problem. He has to be measured by an objective standard that every president has to be measured by. When I look at the election next year, what he's really gonna be coming to the American people and asking for is an extension to his contract. He wants a four-year extension to his contract to be president of the United States. So we have to measure him, and how do we measure him? Well, unemployment. Unemployment is higher, significantly higher than when he took over. You know, what about the value of people's homes? The value of people's homes are down. How about the national debt? The national debt is up significantly higher with no solution in sight and none offered by him.

I have done my share of bashing of Obama's handling of the economy here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Rubio told Limbaugh, "We've got this President's obsession with raising taxes." This false narrative will please Limbaugh's listeners. Obama signed the Make Work Pay tax cuts and an extension of the Bush tax cuts. $282 billion of the stimulus was tax cuts. Obama bought into the nonsense that Rubio and other Republicans said about tax cuts creating jobs.

Rubio is one of the 47 Republican Senators sponsoring the balanced budget amendment.

SENATOR RUBIO: So the solution seems to me to be a combination of fiscal discipline on the spending side -- which you have to enforce through spending caps and a Balanced Budget Amendment and cuts starting right now -- and, at the same time, some sort of pro-growth measures that get people back at work that create not new taxes but new taxpayers: People that are working, paying their taxes, adding revenue to government so that government can use that revenue not to grow government, but to pay down the debt and put us on a sustainable path.

Bruce Bartlett points out that Senate Republicans are using the 18 percent of GDP outlay of the fiscal year 2010 for 2012. That is hysterical.

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