The Corner

Media

Republicans and the Working Class

Senator Marco Rubio, acting Chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, speaks in Washington, D.C., January 19, 2021. (Joe Raedle/Reuters)

Trip Gabriel writes in the New York Times that while Senators Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) talk about a new working-class conservatism, they haven’t been offering much to blue-collar workers. Gabriel has two pieces of evidence: They didn’t talk about a blue-collar agenda when they spoke recently at CPAC, and they’re not supporting Biden’s COVID-relief plan.

Rubio has, however, worked for a long time to expand the child tax credit and apply it against payroll taxes, not just income taxes. He has advanced an innovative proposal to enable new parents to take time off from work. He wants to change tax policy so as to encourage more investment in the U.S. and reduce stock buybacks.

Hawley, meanwhile, recently proposed an increase in the minimum wage combined with a wage subsidy, the goal of the combination being to raise take-home pay without eliminating jobs. He has also pushed for the Fed to set monetary policy with trade balances in mind; there his goal is to encourage manufacturing employment.

I like some of these ideas better than others. But you’d think that an article on what the senators have to offer blue-collar workers would at least mention them. And it’s simply untrue that these Republicans are not offering them anything.

Update: A new profile of Rubio in RealClearPolitics gives a better picture of his agenda, and reminds me that Rubio has also endorsed changing labor laws to increase “worker representation.”

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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