The Corner

Responding to Rubio’s Critics

One of the reasons I support Marco Rubio for the U.S. Senate is his passion for delving into details of public policy. His “Ideas to Reclaim America,” 80 of them so far, provide an alternative agenda to the Obama-Pelosi-Reid policies that have exploded the national debt and left our national economy in shambles.

Unfortunately, some critics of Rubio’s proposals on spending and education have not treated the plans with sufficient attention to their details. Consider this blog posting in The Economist.

Rubio’s cut-spending plan is made up of two parts: spending reductions and budgetary tools needed to keep America from reaching a Greece-like day of reckoning. Contrary to The Economist’s assertion that “exactly one of his proposed cuts could arguably have a meaningful fiscal impact,” four of the twelve ideas would result in real budget savings in the near term: cancelling the stimulus and TARP; freezing non-defense discretionary spending at 2008 levels; implementing restraints on federal hiring; and limiting federal pay. Collectively, if these were implemented tomorrow, they would immediately save over $500 billion. This does not include the long-term spending cuts that would come from providing a presidential line-item veto and reforming entitlements (which Marco has courageously put on the table). The other ideas – including the balanced-budget amendment, banning earmarks, and providing for automatic sunset of government programs — would also check the growth of government.

On Rubio’s education plan, The Economist seems to hold the mistaken belief that the universal education tax deduction would benefit only the rich, and would be expensive. In fact, the deduction — or credit, for those who do not itemize — would benefit all students, as parents could write off tuition, books, and the like from their income taxes. Rubio would ensure that the deduction is revenue-neutral by consolidating and reallocating existing education-related tax expenditures. Critics who say Rubio’s ideas “favor the wealthy” haven’t read the rest of his education platform: The Federal Corporate Income Tax Credit, revamping the Head Start program, providing opportunity scholarships for students of chronically failing schools, and reinstating the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program are all geared towards expanding educational opportunities for lower-income students.

The facts are stubborn things.

– Cesar Conda, formerly Assistant for Domestic Policy to Vice President Cheney, is a member of Marco Rubio’s campaign policy advisory council.

Cesar Conda — Mr. Conda, formerly assistant for domestic policy to Vice President Cheney, is a founding principal of Navigators Global, a Washington, D.C.–based public-affairs firm.

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