Florida senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) wants to see the states, not Washington, manage more of the programs directed at helping low-income Americans.
“I am proposing that we turn Washington’s anti-poverty programs – and the trillions spent on them – over to the states,” the Florida Republican said in a speech at the Capitol today.
“Our anti-poverty programs should be replaced with a revenue neutral Flex Fund,” Rubio continued. “We would streamline most of our existing federal anti-poverty funding into one single agency. Then each year, these Flex Funds would be transferred to the states so they can design and fund creative initiatives that address the factors behind inequality of opportunity.”
Rubio also called on lawmakers to “pursue reforms that encourage and reward work
via legislation that will “replace the earned income tax credit with a federal wage enhancement for qualifying low-wage jobs.”
“This would allow an unemployed individual,” he continued, “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.”
Rubio presented his plan as alternative to President Obama’s push for raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
He also decried the amount of attention income inequality — which the White House has been highlighting — was receiving compared to economic mobility.
“Yes, the cashier at a fast food chain makes significantly less than the company’s CEO,” Rubio remarked. “The problem we face is not simply the gap in pay between them, but rather that too many of those cashiers are stuck in the same job for years on end, unable to find one that pays better.”
“And it is this lack of mobility, not just income inequality,” he stressed, “that we should be focused on.”