Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) released a report Wednesday calling on American businesses and policymakers to invest more in domestic capital in the United States and less on short-term financial profit for lasting economic growth and prosperity.
“We must prioritize investment in long-term capabilities in order to ensure future prosperity for American workers and communities,” Rubio, chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, said in a statement accompanying the release of the report.
“Less investment in our own future productivity represents a lack of will to build an economy and country that can sustain and renew itself for generations to come,” he said.
The report, entitled, “American Investment in the 21st Century,” is Rubio’s second product as part of his Project for Strong Labor Markets and National Development. His first product was a report released earlier this year on the challenges posed by China’s whole-of-state industrial planning for American productivity.
In a recent op-ed in the Washington Examiner previewing the report, Rubio argued that economic growth is now more driven by finance than innovation in the production of real assets, which has turned American workers into “line items on a ledger rather than essential contributors to value creation.”
“Investment in domestic innovation and research is often cut or outsourced to competitor nations such as China, which then steals technology to develop and win the technologies of the future — robotics, artificial intelligence, advanced pharmaceuticals, and 5G,” he wrote.
In a recent interview with the Washington Post, Rubio blasted corporations and U.S. policymakers for increasingly prioritizing high returns to investors in the short-term rather than investment in long-term capabilities, which he said has led to corporations making deals in China to the detriment of the future of American workers.
“If you go to China, they promise you ‘X percent’ of their overall market share,” he said. “You make money, and you look good in front of your shareholders, but you’re also turning over your intellectual property and eventually they’re going to replace you. But who cares? You won’t be CEO in ten years when that happens.”
Rubio also called the imbalance with China “dangerous” and said it would leave the U.S. with a world in which China grows emboldened and aggressive.
“For the sake of global stability, there has to be equilibrium in that relationship, and we don’t have it right now,” he said. “At its core, this is very simple: China is allowed to do anything they want in our economy and in Western economies, but our firms are allowed to do very little if anything and pay a tremendous price over there.”
He also praised the Trump administration for being the “first administration” not to back down to Chinese leaders.
“They have traditionally been able to unleash the American corporate class to march up to D.C. and pressure their policymakers to back down because so many of these companies have established a market presence in China that in the short-term is very beneficial but in the long-term is probably suicide for those companies,” he said.
“That’s what’s happened in the past. This is the first administration that has not backed down,” he said.
Rubio said what is needed is a return to “free market capitalism.”
“We have a free market, but that free market operates under the conditions created for it by policymakers,” he told the Post. “Those conditions should reflect our national priorities. And one of our top national priorities should be creating strong and stable jobs upon which strong families and strong communities can take root.”
Rubio told the Post his presidential run in 2016 helped open his eyes to what Americans across the country were facing.
“Someone working in an industrial city that’s been hollowed out isn’t necessarily going to move to Silicon Valley and work for a high-tech firm. And even if that transition eventually happens, in the interim period, these are real people and real communities that are left behind. So that stark reality, coming back to the Senate, led me to further explore this,” he said.