Rubio Rejects Call to Raise Minimum Wage

In remarks aired on New Hampshire television last week, Florida Senator Marco Rubio rejected the idea of increasing the federal minimum wage, calling the policy “counterproductive.” He proposed as an alternative using tax credits for the working poor to address inadequate wages and lift children in working families from poverty.

Responding to a question from ECM-New Hampshire staffer Hali Normandeau during a taping of WMUR ABC 9 TV’s “Conversation with the Candidate,” the Republican presidential hopeful said raising the minimum wage would put “many young Americans out of work.”  Offering instead what he called a “wage enhancement fund,” Rubio said it is preferable to have workers earning $9 per hour and “have $3 go to an Earned Income Tax Credit,” rather than those workers “sitting at home and not working.” Rubio also advocated making it easier for workers to acquire skills and knowledge qualifying them for higher paying jobs. Time 13:10

In reply to a second children’s-policy question, Rubio told TV audience member Marjorie Droppa that his campaign would promote investments in high-quality early childhood education to make it affordable and accessible to many more US children. Insisting that childcare cannot automatically be equated with early learning, Rubio spoke in detail about quality standards and workforce training. He advocated “opening up” the Head Start program to provide more choices, as well as allowing single parents to qualify for the childcare tax credit for the purpose of continuing their own education.

Finally, Rubio responded to a question from ECM-New Hampshire Field Director MacKenzie Flessas about assuring access to health insurance for children if Obamacare is eliminated, maintaining that individuals should be able to purchase a healthcare plan with their own or an employer’s money, or with a tax credit, to spark competition among insurers across state lines, creating a “vibrant private market” of improved, less costly plans. Rubio noted, however, that chronically ill Americans might need their own high-risk pool. Time 8:20