Obama, Rubio offer different prescriptions for middle class
December 8th, 2012
06:00 AM ET
10 years ago

Obama, Rubio offer different prescriptions for middle class

(CNN) - President Barack Obama and Sen. Marco Rubio addressed the importance of the middle class during their weekly addresses Saturday, but each offered different prescriptions for prosperity.

Obama urged Congress to pass his plan for deficit reduction, which includes an extension of the Bush-era tax breaks for middle-income earners.

“If we’re serious about reducing our deficit while still investing in things like education and research that are important to growing our economy – and if we’re serious about protecting middle-class families – then we’re also going to have to ask the wealthiest Americans to pay higher tax rates,” he said. “That’s one principle I won’t compromise on.”

Rubio spoke against Obama’s plan in the GOP address, saying instead, “our goal should be to generate new revenue by creating new taxpayers, not new taxes.”

“We must get the national debt under control. Tax increases will not solve our $16 trillion debt. Only economic growth and a reform of entitlement programs will help control the debt,” the Florida Republican said.

Rubio is seen as a rising star within his party and a possible 2016 presidential contender. He was born to immigrant parents and frequently speaks about families such as his seeking to better their circumstances.

Besides an improved economic system, Rubio spoke in favor of reforming the education system.

“Let’s stop preparing 21st-century students using a 20th-century education model,” he said. “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.”

Their remarks on taxes come as Obama and congressional Republicans – led by House Speaker John Boehner – are locked in negotiations to avert the spending cuts and tax increases scheduled to kick in next year.

As part of the so-called fiscal cliff, the Bush-era tax rates would expire on all levels of income. Obama supports extension of the lowered rates for families' income under $250,000 per year, and taxation of earnings above that level at the higher rates.

“We’re just waiting for Republicans in the House” to pass such a measure, he said. “But so far, they’ve put forward an unbalanced plan that actually lowers rates for the wealthiest Americans. If we want to protect the middle class, then the math just doesn’t work.”

Republicans, meanwhile, have described Obama's initial proposal as not serious. Many have called for the extension of the lowered tax rates for all, saying an increase in rates would be harmful to the economy.

Filed under: Marco Rubio • President Obama
soundoff (16 Responses)

    What a phoney. Still lying about Social Security causing the debt.

    December 8, 2012 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  2. onlyfacts

    Tomorrow Obama should come out and say, "we are not raising taxes on the wealthy, and we are going to gut Medicare and Social Security". We all know what will happen on Monday. The GOP will come out saying the opposite of Obama, as usual. At that point Obama can concede and it will all be over. GOP=IDIOTS!

    December 8, 2012 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  3. Jill-IN

    GOP Rubio has nothing of importance or interest that will catch me. I'd never vote for him.

    December 8, 2012 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  4. MaryM

    Rubio, Latinos know exactly who you are. You are an impostor

    December 8, 2012 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    Neither has any solution, because Obama is lying to the people, and Rubio can deliver nothing, because the country is solidly under the control of a dictator.

    The middle class will be forced to pay the bill for the Obama excesses, as usual, for the poor.

    December 8, 2012 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  6. ghost

    I hope rubio runs for pres in 2016 so we can finally end his political career after Mrs Clinton mow him down. It just amaze me how these nut just will not listen to the american people. Let see what lesson they learn after 2014.....

    December 8, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  7. Former Republican, now an Independent

    It didn't take long for the republican neo-cons to corrupt Marco Rubio. He is now adapted to their philosophy of trying to steal their way out of the national debt by raiding social security. Social Security is a self funded program and doesn't add to the national debt and should not be used to pay for the reckless spending congress committed under the Bush Administration. The only shortfalls in social security is the fault of congress not doing their job and adjusting the ceiling on earnings as they should have over the last decade. A "created shortfall" doesn't give the republicans the right to buy their way out of the national debt with money stolen from working Americans!

    December 8, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  8. Randy, San Francisco

    Don't be fooled by Rubio. His attempt to rebrand the GOP/Tea Party as the friend of the middle class and women is a cynical trick. He is the party's new snake oil salesman trying to peddle a bad product. The GOP/Tea Party brand is still the party of the wealthiest 2% and trickle down supply side economics. While Wall Street fat cats are getting huge and obscene bonuses, very few crumbs are reaching the middle class.

    December 8, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  9. marty

    I think it's time for the Republicans to come up with a new word to replace 'serious'. It's become old hat and does not get the visceral reaction that it once did. Also, Mr Rubio as well as Mr Ryan are showing their true colors as etch a sketch club members when pretending to be concerned about the middle class and the poor among us.

    December 8, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  10. Sueb

    How much has the 1% paid the republicans to keep going against the interests of the American people and the GOP--because for them to keep standing up for the rich over the middle class like they are doing....they had to have been handed some big money!!!!

    December 8, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  11. DOG1

    So this son of a rich immigrant, is just another republican. We should create taxpayers not taxes is supposed to answer the question but it, as usual, does not have any substance, just how do you plan to actually create these jobs? You do not have an answer to that. Make sure the rich have that tax break and they'll create the jobs, well they've had that tax rate for almost ten years and they haven't done it yet. Maybe because the vast majority of the over $250,000 earners this is aimed at are individuals, lawyers, doctors, stock investors and others that DO NOT HIRE employees except perhaps a secretary and a personal assistant, maybe the occasional high end call girl/boy!
    This is just another republican that does not have any answer except the party line and definitely nothing that's "creative, innovative and daring"!

    December 8, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  12. DENNA

    Rubio spoke against Obama’s plan in the GOP address, saying instead, “our goal should be to generate new revenue by creating new taxpayers, not new taxes.”
    What's the matter, Rubio. Don't want to pay more taxes, you 1%er. We need new revenue right now, then we should continue on to improving the economy in other ways. Or we could let the Republican-designed fiscal cliff scenario happen. LOL Old Mitch McConnell didn't count on having to deal with President Obama again. Now if the automatic cuts plan goes into effect, not only will the poor and middle class suffer, the milirary will too. They'll all suffer devistating cuts and that is the fault of the GOP for not dealing fairly with the President in the first place. Ball's in the GOP court as the President has the backing of the majority of America, as evidenced by the election. 2014, we need to clean out the GOP garbage from the house too.

    December 8, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  13. Rick McDoomsday

    since when has the GOP really cared about the middle class? Rubio is probably working behind the scenes with Obama on plans for complete dictatorship of the nation. I trust NO ONE!

    December 8, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  14. dzerres

    The extension of the $250,000 and under tax cut is for ALL. Why isn't the media explaining that better. Even Bill Gates gets that tax cut. The discussion is for any money OVER 250k. Why are the Republicans so concerned about that part? Well, we all know, why, its because the super rich have paid them off to get lower taxes for themselves.

    December 8, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  15. judy

    rubio's only qualification is that he is of Spanish decent. The repo party thinks that is all that is needed to get them votes. The idea that they might also need a platform people will like alludes them still. Rubio is an ultra conservative who though he is now sounding more moderate will revert back to his roots. The fiscal cliff looms and repos will push us over if they have to.

    December 8, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  16. Facts don't Lie

    the GOP thinks that if they put a "brown face" out there the Latinos like sheep will follow. Well it didn't work with the likes of Allan West and it won't with Rubio if you put one out there that talks the same right wing nonsense the rest of them do. Kind of like the women would vote for a ticket with someone like Palin on it..that didn't work out too well either.

    December 8, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |