(WASHINGTON) — In this week’s Republican address, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio a “growing opportunity gap” is what is keeping many Americans from making it into the middle class — an issue he says is a “personal” one for him.
“Americans are struggling to find or keep middle class jobs for two reasons: because our economy is not creating enough of these jobs and because too many of our people don’t have the education or skills required for the jobs that are being created,” Sen. Rubio claims.
But better control of the national debt, health care and tax code reforms, a balanced approach to regulation, and reforms to education and job training could strengthen the 21st century American middle class, he says.
He takes issue first with the current tax code.
“We must reform our complicated, uncertain, job-killing tax code, by getting rid of unjustified loopholes. But our goal should be to generate new revenue by creating new taxpayers, not new taxes,” the senator says.
And while Rubio is not opposed to regulation, he says, “they cost money to follow.”
“The expensive a regulation is, the less money a business has leftover to give raises or hire new people,” he says, suggesting Washington encourage new job opportunities, “not continue to block them.”
In addition to calling for more affordable health care, Sen. Rubio sounds off on education, saying, “we have to make sure that our people have the skills to do these new jobs.”
“And a limited government can help by promoting curriculum reform, teacher training and empowering parents with the freedom to choose their kids’ school. Our tax code should reward education investments the same way companies are encouraged to invest in equipment,” he says. “Let’s encourage career, technical and vocational education, stop discriminating against online courses, encourage skill development that doesn’t require the traditional four year college route, and reform our federal grant and loan programs.”
Rubio says the bottom line is we must “stop preparing 21st century students using a 20th century education model, instead let’s be creative, innovative and daring in reforming the way we provide our people the skills they’re going to need to make it to the middle class.”
He concludes, “The emergence of a strong, 21st century American middle class is the answer to our most pressing challenges. And it all starts with our people. … There you will find the promise of tomorrow.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Jeremy Diamond, CNN
Nate Sunderland, EastIdahoNews.com
Shelbie Harris, Idaho State Journal
Tom Kludt and Jeremy Diamond, CNN