Rubio Should Revive Sound Money Theme

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Marco Rubio has been putting forward a lot of new and innovative policy proposals lately and people are beginning to take notice.  CNN reporter MJ Lee recently praised Rubio’s strategy, which has been to position himself as an “ideas” candidate by tackling tricky policy dilemmas leading up to the election.  She points specifically to the pro-growth tax reform that Rubio proposed with Senator Mike Lee, which would lower the top corporate tax rate to 25 percent and provide larger tax credits to some families with children.  Similarly, an article last month in the National Review implied that Rubio has joined the “reform conservative” movement by suggesting policy reforms that are focused primarily on the middle class.  These proposals, all outlined in his book “American Dreams,” have propelled the presidential hopeful back into the spotlight in the early stages of the 2016 race.

As a Floridian myself, I have watched closely as Rubio has carefully crafted a policy agenda for a possible presidential run.  His initiatives are incredibly diverse, ranging from an overhaul of the tax code to reforms for Social Security, health insurance, welfare, education, and immigration.  These proposals have given Rubio a political advantage, too.  Larry J Sabato, who has a track record of accurately predicting federal election outcomes, recently promoted the Senator to a first-tier candidate along with Jeb Bush and Scott Walker.  It seems as if Rubio is shaping up to be a real presidential contender.

However, while he may be gaining political steam, “American Dreams” neglects to touch on one integral aspect of domestic policy in dire need of reform, one that carries a huge weight for our economy and for the financial stability of the American people: monetary policy and the future of the Fed.

Rubio has not been silent on this issue in the past.  At a 2012 Jack Kemp Foundation Dinner, Rubio spoke forcefully about the need for sound money: “The arbitrary way in which interest rates and our currency are treated is yet another cause of unpredictability injected into our economy. The Federal Reserve Board should publish and follow a clear monetary rule – to provide greater stability about prices and what the value of a dollar will be over time.”  He later echoed this sentiment after Janet Yellen was first nominated to be Chair of the Federal Reserve: “Sound monetary policy established by the Fed is critical for long-term investment and economic growth.”  He opposed Yellen’s nomination since, as he argued, “she has championed policies that have diminished people’s purchasing power by weakening the dollar, made long-term savings less attractive by diminishing returns on this important behavior, and put the U.S. economy at increased risk of higher inflation and another future boom-bust.”

But since then it’s been radio silence from Rubio and most other GOP presidential contenders about the Fed’s broken monetary policies. Very shortly, Rubio will be announcing his intentions for the next year by confirming whether or not he will declare his candidacy for president.  Some believe he is in a great position to significantly influence the debate in 2016, but in order to make his policy proposals compelling, he must continue to address the financial burdens being placed on Americans by harmful interest rates and an unstable currency.

Jacqueline Varas works for American Principles in Action.