Business Insider
By: Hunter Walker
June 25, 2014

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who is regarded as one of the top potential Republican presidential candidates in 2016, delivered a major speech Wednesday afternoon outlining his economic policies at Hillsdale College in Washington D.C. He framed his platform as an effort to stop the “erosion of the American Dream” through “modern conservative reforms.”  Rubio began by discussing how he felt “privileged” despite a rather humble upbringing.

“I was privileged to be raised in a stable family. Privileged that my parents had jobs that allowed them to provide for their children. And I was privileged to be born in a land of equal opportunity, the one place on earth where the son of a bartender and maid could achieve the same things as a son of a president or a millionaire,” Rubio said, according to a prepared version of his speech distributed by his office. “The American Dream is still attainable. But it has gotten increasingly difficult to achieve for far too many. Wages have stagnated; everyday costs have risen; industries that once flourished have dried up, their jobs shipped overseas or lost to automation; and millions go to sleep each night overcome with the sense that they are one bad break from financial ruin.”

Rubio identified “three sets of Americans” that he said are having a particularly difficult time getting by; “single mothers,” “recent college graduates,” and “working class families.” He attributed much of the blame for these economic woes to the federal government’s failure to confront the “rapid and disruptive transformation of our economy driven by automation and globalization.”

“Instead of adjusting to the realities of this new era, many of our institutions are failing us – and none more so than our federal government,” Rubio declared.

He went on to outline the main ways in which he believes the government fell short of confronting economic challenges.

“Instead of attracting jobs to our shores through simplifying taxes and regulations, it imposes higher taxes and more regulations that push investment and innovation to other countries. Instead of anti-poverty programs that promote work and education so our people can emerge from poverty, we pump more money into programs that have failed us for a half century,” said Rubio. “Instead of taking steps to make higher education more available and more affordable, we pour resources into a system that is expensive, inaccessible and is graduating too many people with unemployable degrees. And instead of modernizing our retirement programs to make them accessible to everyone, we put more money into unsustainable programs that were designed in the 1930s.”

According to Rubio, this situation has caused “a growing number of people” to “feel completely alienated from our government and its leaders.”

“They feel as if no one here in Washington understands what they are facing and no one here has answers to their challenges,” he said.

Rubio also specifically criticized President Barack Obama’s economic policy proposals.

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