Did Sen. Rubio just endorse a minimum income?

rubioFlorida Senator Marco Rubio today commemorated the 50th anniversary of Johnson’ War on Poverty with a speech outlining a new approach to the social safety net. What that approach actually is remains to be seen, but his vague comments hint at shift in policy that has been bubbling through the right for almost a decade.

His speech may have been short on details, but it was remarkable for some of the facts he acknowledged.

Today, the debate on poverty is primarily focused on the growing income gap between the rich and poor. From 1979 to 2007, income for the highest-earning Americans grew more than it did for anyone else. From 1980 to 2005, over 80% of the total increase in income went to the top 1% of American earners.

These are indeed startling figures, and they deserve attention.

This is common knowledge across the country to almost everyone, except for Republican politicians. For a GOP Senator to even acknowledge these facts is a bit of a shock, and enough to earn some immediate criticism. But he went on:

A lack of education is contributing to inequality in other ways as well. The jobs that have replaced the low and middle skill jobs of the past pay more. But they require a high level of professional, technical, or management skills. And we simply have too many people who have never acquired the education needed to attain those skills.

What’s worse, children from lower income families are the least likely to get an advanced education. The result is a vicious cycle of intergenerational poverty.
Our modern day economy has wiped out many of the low-skill jobs that once provided millions with a middle class living. Those that have not been outsourced or replaced by technology pay wages that fail to keep pace with the cost of living. And even many of the middle-skilled white- and blue-collar jobs have also been lost to automation or shipped overseas.

At least until a few decades ago, our economy proved sufficiently dynamic and innovative to replace old jobs with new ones. But this hasn’t happened in recent years.

This one is a shocker. Everyone on the right knows that poverty can only come from bad choices and everyone has the same opportunity to succeed in America. The unemployed are just lazy people sitting at home soaking up tax revenues earned by good white folks. We are supposed to believe that jobs and good moral values would materialize if the checks stopped coming. Expect him to get some blistering criticism over this one.

Then come the proposals. Hiding inside the anodyne talk about “Washington elites”, bureaucrats, states’ rights and the need for family values was a nugget that sounds an awful lot like a minimum income. Here’s how he described it:

This would allow an unemployed individual to take a job that pays, say, $18,000 a year – which on its own is not enough to make ends meet – but then receive a federal enhancement to make the job a more enticing alternative to collecting unemployment insurance.

Unlike the earned income tax credit, my proposal would apply the same to singles as it would to married couples and families with children. It would also be a preferable means of distributing benefits since it would arrive in sync with a monthly paycheck rather than a year-end lump-sum credit. And it’s a better way of supporting low-income workers than simply raising the minimum wage.

Where have you heard that before?

Are Republicans finally warming to the merits of a minimum income?

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Economics, Ownership Society, Welfare State
67 comments on “Did Sen. Rubio just endorse a minimum income?
  1. Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

    Fellas (and ladies), there is no chance of an admission of being incorrect or disingenuous coming. It generally does not matter how wrong (just misinterpreting all the way to 2+2=Buicks), you simply are not going to get the admission.

    • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

      Nevermind…was meant downthread, but this format and I just do not get along that well.

      I hope everyone is having a good weekend.

  2. objv says:

    I see you are still discussing minimum income. In the spirit of things, and since I’m sending one of my kids back to college tomorrow, I propose minimum college grades.

    The super achievers will still be able to get their As, but the rest will be free from previous constraints and be able to study as much or as little as possible and still be guaranteed Bs – and graduation after four years. Just think of how young minds will be set loose to achieve great things!

    I realize that college students have gotten a bad rap for drinking, partying and having sex as much as possible. There are also unconfirmed reports of them staying up all night to play online games and sleeping in so that they miss classes. You really can’t blame them though since they are part of a broken system. I’m sure that would all change with the introduction of minimum grades.

    Without the restrictions imposed by a grading system, these precious young minds will be set free to explore new avenues. I’m sure that they will come up with all kinds of ideas for future businesses, make earth changing scientific discoveries, and come up with new inventions and new diseases. What a utopia!

    • Tuttabella says:

      I believe Brown University (Ivy League) had a system that was simply “Pass/Fail.” No grades. You either passed or you failed your classes, and this applied to all classes, at all levels. I don’t know if that system is still in place, and I don’t know if that grading system, or lack thereof, got a “passing grade.”

      • objv says:

        Tuttabella: I goggled Brown’s grading policy and found that students there can still elect Pass/Fail for some of their classes.

        Interestingly, I have been reading Malcolm Gladwell’s new book “David and Goliath” and he mentioned Brown University – but not the Pass/Fail option. One of the chapters in his book featured a Brown student named Caroline Sacks who decided to attend Brown over a lower tier school. She quickly fell behind in her classes and had to drop out of her science major. Gladwell noted that half of STEM students will change to a less rigorous major no matter which college they choose. Caroline Sacks would have been better off going to her “safe” school since she loved science and had always wanted a science related career.

        From the book: The phenomenon of relative deprivation applied to education is called-appropriately enough-the “Big Fish-Little Pond Effect.” The more elite an educational institution is, the worse students feel about their own academic abilities. Students who would be at the top of their class at a good school can easily fall to the bottom of a really good school. Students who would feel that they have mastered a subject at a good school can have the feeling that they are falling farther and farther behind in a really good school. And that feeling-as subjective and ridiculous and irrational as it may be-matters.

        Gladwell’s suggests that students and their parents need to look at potential colleges differently. Conventional wisdom says that it is best to go the most prestigious and rigorous college that will let the student in (or that the parents can pay for). Gladwell says that it is best to be one of the top students at a particular college or University. In other words: it is better to be the the big fish in the little pond than the little fish in the big pond.

        I might add that in no way does Gladwell propose a minimum college grade standard!

    • DanMan says:

      and like Nancy D’Alexandria Pelosi said, be free to paint, sing, dance and explore their inner yearnings while ridding themselves of the obligation of responsibility of actually performing.

      You know objv, that third paragraph has the aroma of Hillary’s state department junkets written all over it. Nice reference there.

      and free to come up with new diseases…solid man!

      • Tuttabella says:

        I think people should be free to devote their lives to painting, singing, and dancing, as long as they are willing to risk being starving artists, to keep their needs and wants to a minimum. It can be done, but there’s a trade-off.

    • Tuttabella says:

      OV, you wondered recently if Cap’s been taking his own vow of silence. Have you ever known a person of Irish descent to take a vow of silence?

    • goplifer says:

      ***I propose minimum college grades.***

      We already have that. It’s called grad school.

      • DanMan says:

        its affirmative action at Harvard

      • Tuttabella says:

        Grade inflation is rampant at universities, particularly in the liberal arts, where grading is often subjective. Not so much in the sciences and math.

    • Turtles Run says:

      Tutt – How is grading subjective? If a person has a history degree they must still accurately describe events and provide research to back up any assertions. Hardly, subjective. Grade inflating would be to provide revisionist history without support and still get high grades.

      Like revising the history of the Confederacy, the civil war, and the entirety of American history.

    • RightonRush says:

      Sorry that you’re having a problem with your college age kid. Maybe he/she just isn’t college material. The thing I love about college is the fact that normally Mommy and Daddy have NO influence and the student either succeeds on his/her own, or falls flat on his/her face. It’s his/her decision.

      • objv says:

        Any problems I may be having with my son are, thankfully, not related to grades. After two years at college, he still has a 4.0 average. My daughter had more of a struggle with getting good grades, but with a master’s degree in geology, she is not a complete deadbeat. 🙂

      • rightonrush says:

        Oh, I see, you are just griping to be griping. 😏

      • objv says:

        You know me, ROR. I love to gripe (and brag.) Maybe, I need someone to challenge my self- esteem. Where’s bubba? It’s been at least a week since I’ve been called a lying, gutless coward who wants children to starve.

  3. geoff1968 says:

    You know if you really did everything the hard way I can’t see why you’d wish it upon anyone else.

    Marine style beatings for all!

  4. John Galt says:

    Wow. I have no words. Simply acknowledging the problem without demonizing anyone is a huge step. Actually hinting at solutions, whether they end up being practical or feasible, is amazing.

  5. lomamonster says:

    How much reward is merited by statistical recall from potential Republican pretenders to the Presidency – especially if it already happens to be public knowledge – remains to be seen. It has not worked in the recent past but rather has caused the base to alienate the perpetrator of truth due to the heresy of the inclusion of scientific analysis. Social studies? Forget it! Punish the over educated elitist!

    The Republican base prefers the most obnoxious anti-socialist available within the party, so Rubio’s desperate attempts to appear sane and populist will just get him a dunce hat and a corner to reside in come election time. Now, if he would just change parties, he would have a fighting chance!

  6. way2gosassy says:

    Holy bat crap batman! Tell me it isn’t true…..a reasonable Republican!

    • way2gosassy says:

      Well hold that comment for a bit. It seems that after I did a double take on that statement I thought there has to be a catch. I searched around a bit and finally heard a few pieces of what he proposes. It seems that he in no way supports a minimum wage but is recycling the old block grant garbage of granting the money spent on all entitlements ( including social security and medicare) back to the states in the form of block grants under a new name.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Yes, I thought Chris must have heard a different report than I did. I realize now he posted just a portion.

      • flypusher says:

        I look at this as him acknowledging the problem instead of spouting all that tired 47%/ takers/ poor-people-are-poor-because-they’re-all-lazy rhetoric as a necessary first step.

      • goplifer says:

        Yes, there’s a bunch of the usual crap in there about turning the welfare program over to the states and making sure people do the most important thing in the entire universe – marry an opposite sex partner as early as possible. Frankly, that stuff is as unavoidable for a Republican as that stupid lapel pin.

        But he is also the first major Republican political figure I’m aware of who has suggested direct income subsidies in the last twenty years or so. He sort of implies that the subsidies will be tied to work, but still its a landmark. Expect to hear more.

      • way2gosassy says:

        Yeah flypusher, but I see at as Rubio repackaging the same old crap, trickle down economics, states rights, small gubberment bs policies of the Tea Party while trying to sound “empathetic” to the plight of the victims of this recession. While I would love to be convinced that there are some Republicans that really are “empathetic” I’m just not buying it.

        Add to that, Gov. Chris Christy”s recent bs over the George Washington Bridge. He comes out today and apologizes to the people of Fort Lee for a situation caused by his staff. But his statements fall far short of sincere for what those people suffered for those four days, instead it was more about how damaged he felt and disapointed he was that his staffers would lie to him.

      • flypusher says:

        Hey Sassy, I ‘m most disappointed in Christie. At best, he wasn’t paying enough attention to what his people were up to. At worst, he ‘s very much in on it and throwing people under the bus to save himself. There’s no way he avoids political damage here. His chance to come out of this clean would have been to make heads roll when the issue first came up.

      • way2gosassy says:

        You are 100% correct Flypusher. He should have done something a month ago when all this was going on. I guess we will know more today after all that documentation is released but it isn’t looking good. I liked him and thought he would give the Democrats something to worry about so they can clean up their act. They do seem to be a little better at keeping their crazies behind the curtain. Such a shame.

      • DanMan says:

        one side rejects corruption and the other idolizes it…period

      • goplifer says:

        Maybe I’ve been in Chicago too long, but it’s hard to imagine a more banal “scandal.” In the state that inspired The Sopranos, a powerful Governor supposedly inflicts ruthless, bullying punishment on a lowly political opponent by doing what? Burying them under Giants’ Stadium? Sending state troopers to arrest him while on a date with his mistress. No.

        He gave them heavy traffic for four days.

        Never mind that there’s no hint of evidence anywhere he had anything at all to do with it. The more interesting question is “who cares?”

        In 2016, Republicans will probably be nominating a candidate to run against a Clinton. If this damages Christie’s reputation in that competition it will only be by making him look like a wimp.

      • flypusher says:

        ‘Never mind that there’s no hint of evidence anywhere he had anything at all to do with it. The more interesting question is “who cares?”’

        Certainly anyone caught it that unnecessary traffic mess does. Also those of us, regardless of party affiliation, who want to strengthen the center do. I sincerely hope that it stops with the “rogue underlings”. But it would still be fair to ask about how good a job Christie is doing in selecting/ overseeing his people.

        Yeah, definitely far from the worst thing a politico could do, but still deserving of at least some reprimand.

      • DanMan says:

        what’s hard to believe is them leaving an e-mail trail stating their intentions to make the sequester cuts as painful as possible…oh wait, wrong party…maybe

        some on the right think Christie ought to primary Hillary

      • John Galt says:

        I’m frequently staggered by how stupid people can be. You’re working for the governor. Your email is public record. Don’t write stupid shit down. Jon Stewart last night pilloried this: “That thing, you take care of that thing?” “Yeah, boss, they gonna be a bit, uh, constipated for a few days.”

        It was incredibly petty. Christie probably set a culture where that kind of political ruthlessness was encouraged, but I bet no evidence will come to light that can directly tie him to this. Chris is right, though, that real political corruption involves suitcases full of cash or burying the mayor of Ft. Lee in a bridge support. It’s Jersey, for god’s sake, man up and do it right!

  7. DanMan says:

    my bad,,,Michael Strain


    I slogged through this dreck and found myself enticed by several of his propositions until I hit this…

    “The solution to this crisis does not consist of massive short-term stimulus programs, industrial policy, cumbersome new bureaucracy, unnecessary regulation, and cronyist giveaways. Neither will the best solution be found in lower marginal income-tax rates, cuts in federal discretionary spending, and a balanced budget, whatever the benefits of such policies may be.”

    He equates classic vote buying to balancing the budget. Of course he’s right that that is the crux of the political wedge but he disregards any financial consequence of whatever he proposes as a solution, which are many. Maybe it is time to Cloward-piven this economy and start over while we’re still young enough to rebuild and see what’s on the other side. I like my chances.

    He comes across as the Ezra Klein of the GOP. If that’s what they promote now I’m certainly not a repub. Like I said, dem-lite.

  8. DanMan says:

    I heard it from a guy named Frank Stein at the American Enterprise Institute and then here. You really are a David Frum guy. sheesh

  9. flypusher says:

    Rubio is interesting. He shows these little flashes of being in touch with reality. If he could do that more often we indies will pay attention.

    A pity he couldn’t get immigration reform going; he looked to me to be the best one to do so.
    (“Only Nixon could go to China”)

  10. DFC says:

    Rubio’s through the looking glass if he thinks conceding $10 an hour plus some Federal this-and-that are solutions. The fact is, labor is a global commodity now, and labor in the US is not necessarily of any greater value than labor in Singapore or Senegal. As for “At least until a few decades ago, our economy proved sufficiently dynamic and innovative to replace old jobs with new ones. But this hasn’t happened in recent yeas” that’s easy…Conservatives have fought against any reinvestment, education, or creation of a class of employable people for this domestic economy. They’ve pulled the ladder up behind them. It;s not just the workers are are stranded. It’s the companies that need them

    • lomamonster says:

      Fantastic comment, DFC!

    • DanMan says:

      guess that explains GM setting up all those new production facilities in China

      • John Galt says:

        I think GM wanting to sell cars to 1.5 billion Chinese explains them setting up all those new production facilities in China.

      • DanMan says:

        yeah Galt, that sure follows the economic pattern of all the other products we buy from those Chinese factories employing Americans over here doesn’t it?

      • Turtles Run says:

        Cars are much different from cheaply made toys. Notice the foreign manufacturers of vehicles have facilities in the states, Toyota has a Tundra plant in San Antonio.

        It seems to me that you are doing a mini version of the “Chrysler” lie that Romney tried to push on the public in 2012.

      • DanMan says:

        yeah turtlehead, I guess Romney’s lie also explains why China produces our nuclear power components as well, you are aware Westinghouse is owned by Toshiba, who use FCHI as its manufacturer (hint, FCHI = First China Heavy Industries)

        what was that about toys again?

        and about those foreign manufacturers locating here? Note they also not represented by the UAW in most cases. The few that have a presence (VW in Tennessee) don’t have contracts anywhere near what US manufacturers allow.

      • John Galt says:

        GM makes cars in China because it is the largest emerging market for cars in existence. They make them there because China imposes import restrictions to force foreign companies to produce there.

        Does it ever get tiring trying to express every single fact of life in the context of a rigid world view largely based on paranoia and conspiracy?

      • DanMan says:


      • flypusher says:

        “They make them there because China imposes import restrictions to force foreign companies to produce there.”

        Surely there MUST be some way to tie that to the UAW??!?!?

      • Turtles Run says:

        You have to admit that at least DanMan admits that paranoia and conspiracy theories are the source of his worldview. Other RWNJs that have graced our presence pretend to have ideas based in reality (sometimes an alternate one) but not DanMan.

        I applaud your madness.

      • DanMan says:

        poor turtlehead…projecting again. I never get tired of calling ’em like I see ’em. If Galt wants to ask a compound question it leaves you to make obtuse interpretations. Thanks for playing.

      • John Galt says:

        My 4 year old calls ’em like she sees ’em too. Santa brought her a favorite doll. Rainbows are magic. She’d like a minion for a pet. I have confidence that she, at least, will grow out of it.

      • DanMan says:

        Fascinating John Galt.

        If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Period.

      • John Galt says:

        My 4 year old also repeats things incessantly, well beyond when they have ceased to have any effect or meaning.

      • DanMan says:

        Going to be amusing when you’re 4 year old realizes her economic future was burned by an incompetent her daddy voted for and still defends.

        Did you hear that Obama fired CGI today? They guys that were responsible for developing the exchange website? and then were said to be working night and day to fix it since its rollout? they guys that got the $600 million no bid contract? The one’s that have as a CEO one of Michelle’s former co-workers at her old law firm?

        And they brought in Accenture on a no bid $90 million contract to try to salvage it. Awesome leadership up there in DC isn’t it?

      • Texan5142 says:

        You are just an angry fool Dan the Richard.

      • DanMan says:

        thanks for that link my angry liberal commentor…

        “Toni Townes-Whitley has a number of linkages to First Lady Michelle Obama. Both Michelle Obama and Toni Townes-Whitley are 1985 graduates of Princeton University, both are members of the Association of Black Princeton Alumni, and both are listed as having worked with or been members of the Organization of Black Unity (OBU) and the Third World Center (TWC) while at Princeton. (Although some sources describe Michelle Obama and Toni Townes-Whitley as “pals” or “friends,” it’s unclear how well the two women knew each other during their time at Princeton, or how much interaction they had with each other afterwards.)”

        does that dispute what I said?

        “An HHS official says there is another $630 million in potential obligations for HealthCare.gov going forward. Whether all of that money will be spent is another question, but clearly money is being burned now to fix the problems that have emerged. So, when all is said and done, the cost of the Web site could be above $600 million. If you add in other costs, it could be potentially higher.”

        that doesn’t either

        a lot of cross chatter regarding how they got the job what with about CGI having an evergreen contract since 2007 but that gets clouded by the stuff about them being chosen because of their technical prowess even though they were not low bidder on the Obamacare task so I’m not sure how Snopes is discounting the no bid angle.

        And her friend was hired in May 2010, less than one month after Obamacare was smashed though the senate with Cornhusker Kickbacks and Bayou Bail-outs and all the other bribes used to get all the dems to back it so yeah, the timing makes sense.

        Yep, thanks for backing up what I said poofter.

      • texan5142 says:

        Alex Jones….er…I mean, Dan the Richard, you are right, and I/we are wrong. How could we have ever overlooked the blatant conspiracy is beyond me. Thank You for exposing the truth, and may you keep up the good fight.

      • DanMan says:

        yer welcome, glad to help

      • Turtles Run says:

        ” I still get points for you running to the Bush trope though, you guys can’t move on can you?”

        So you are supposed to get a free pass on your hypocrisy? I do not think so. John Galt was pointing out your hypocrisy and used an example. He did not try to blame Bush but unlike his 4 year old there is no hope that you will ever be capable of telling the difference.

      • DanMan says:

        and the hits keep coming! Accenture moved it’s headquarters from Bermuda to Ireland for tax sheltering purposes. I can feel the rise of the oceans slowing already again.


      • DanMan says:

        poor turtlehead

        Up your game man! Push out a thought, you can do it!

    • John Galt says:

      “they guys that got the $600 million no bid contract?”

      They did not get a no-bid contract. Four companies were permitted to bid, based on the results of a contracting process begun in 2007. The $600 million includes all government contracts to this company. The contract was nearing its end and was not renewed, as they shouldn’t have been since they were incompetent.

      If you’re upset about these no-bid contracts based on a tenuous connection between Michelle Obama and a former classmate, you must still be seething about the billions of dollars in no-bid contracts awarded by the Bush administration to Halliburton, whose former CEO was Dick Cheney.

      • DanMan says:

        Booosh!!!111!!! I knew I could do it! We place bets on this stuff and I won again. I made a bet at the bar at Savages the night Clinton lied on 60 minutes and collected on that several months later too. Quite a payday.

        Thanks for admitting how frivolous the Cheney junk was btw. I’m going to assume you read the Snopes link. Do you think its reasonable to go back to 2007 to inflate the justified costs of the Obamacare website when it wasn’t even signed until a couple of weeks before Michelle’s fiend was hired in May 2010?* Also note their final statement seems to pretty well back the Obamacare $600 million website costs as well.

        I also note you and I agree on the incompetence, funny the Snopes couple mentioned they were deemed the most technically competent as justification for going with their higher bid while mixing like you do the fact they were already under contract.

        *If you recall all the drama of Harry Reid bribing and bending rules and the urgency of getting it passed late on Good Friday and all the congratulations and speeches about what a bfd it was….and then Obama took a 10 day vacation before signing it. Classic Obama.

      • John Galt says:

        My point was that it is disingenuous (that is, hypocritical) for someone to harp about no-bid contracts when they have been used routinely and in far larger amounts by their own team. It is particularly disingenuous when they were not no-bid in the first place.

        The Snopes link clearly says that the total cost of the Obamacare web site is not known, because it hasn’t been completed, but that nowhere near $600 million has been spent to date. Further that number appears to come from a collection of contracts since 2007 for a company that has billed $2.5 billion to the feds since 2001. If you want to find conspiracy in the hiring of Michelle’s “fiend” by a long-time government contractor, you will have to do better than being college classmates.

      • DanMan says:

        Paddle harder Galt, I know you hear the banjos.

        Reading that article on Snopes a second time I note how they reference HealthCare.gov being initiated in 2007 and then bring it forward to be the new failed website. Look closely at the wording…base $170 Million, potential max of $300 million, another $630 million potential in reference to healthCare.gov and then this again…

        “So, when all is said and done, the cost of the Web site could be above $600 million. If you add in other costs, it could be potentially higher. ”

        Read more at http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/whitley.asp#qdUEv5m3oLHUCWfd.99

        I guess Snopes is about as reliable as AP, Reuters and Wiki. I still get points for you running to the Bush trope though, you guys can’t move on can you? Will you ever hold Obama responsible for anything? Is he that incapable that he can’t overcome Bush after 5 years?

      • DanMan says:

        oops, see the section above

Leave a Reply to objv Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 454 other subscribers
%d bloggers like this: