It’s not ‘socialism’ to push for an economy that works for all Americans
By U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
December 4, 2019
New York Post
Last month, I reintroduced the notion of the common good into our policy debates in a speech at the Catholic University of America. I did so, because we live at a time when millions of Americans approach our current challenges with a sense that, if the status quo isn’t working for them, they need to look at destructive alternatives — socialism, identity politics or ethnic nationalism.
In this fervid environment, if those of us who are strong defenders of the American system aren’t willing to ask tough questions, then we place ourselves at a tremendous disadvantage against proponents of these un-American ideological alternatives.
To challenge a status quo that millions of Americans are rejecting isn’t to show hostility toward capitalism. Capitalism has lifted millions of people out of poverty, more than any other economic system in human history. And no serious conservative suggests the federal government can better allocate capital than American families and communities exercising their own free choice.
Even so, there are genuine public problems that demand public solutions — and critics who deny this can only muster airy rhetoric. They claim, for example, that laws I have supported that seek to counter Communist China’s technological advance in industries critical to our national security would unfairly “direct the market.” Likewise, laws I’ve proposed that cut tax subsidies for financial engineering over capital investment would “take shareholders’ property,” per the critics.
In the last 20 years, China has systematically moved up the value chain to challenge the United States in the production of many of the world’s most technologically advanced exports. The Chinese are winning this competition through a combination of stealing, cheating and state subsidies to their firms. The result has been the loss of millions of good American jobs and an uncertain future.
At the same time, American investment — the heart of winning the economic competition for good jobs — has decreased substantially as investors seek cost reductions by moving supply chains overseas. This has been great for corporate bottom lines, but not always positive for American workers or communities.
I don’t propose we give up on capitalism. I propose we examine the public policies our nation has in place which shape the type of capitalism we have. In our nation’s earliest days, then-Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton urged Congress to approach manufacturing as a critical component of America’s future.
The Constitution requires Congress to be political: to represent the interests of the people, to enact law that advances the common good. And public policies that help encourage private economic decisions that benefit Americans would go a long way toward advancing that common good.
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