Marco Rubio Outlines Dire Need for American Industrial Policy to Counter Globalism, China

Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Marco Rubio, R-Fla., talks to reporters after
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The United States needs an industrial policy that promotes the domestic industrial base to the benefit of the working class while combatting globalism and communist China’s economic infiltration, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) outlined in a Tuesday Washington Post op-ed.

Rubio’s call to action counters the Biden administration’s economic agenda, which he believes relies on “throwing vast sums of money at questionable projects and arguably empowering Communist China in the process.”

The United States previously had an industrial policy that facilitated the creation of industrialization that benefitted the American worker and American business alike. Over time, Rubio argued, global elites eroded the policy to fuel their profit margins at the expense of the American worker:

But around the time the Berlin Wall fell, elites in Washington and on Wall Street created a one-sided narrative that free enterprise had done it all. And they subsequently neglected the policy levers that supported our great manufacturers in the private sector. Thirty years later, the evidence is clear that they went wrong.

The number of U.S. aerospace and defense general contractors has fallen from 51 to five. The situation among smaller defense manufacturers and machine shops is even worse. Our submarine fleet is shrinking at a rate manufacturers can’t make up for. And we’re dependent on China for many key components of our munitions and military semiconductors.

Meanwhile, deindustrialization has wreaked havoc on American society. The working class has exchanged relative prosperity and social stability for downward mobility and political volatility. Marriage, childbearing and labor-force participation are declining. Loneliness, drug addiction and suicide are on the rise.

In contrast, Rubio’s industrial plan presents the flip side of U.S. immigration policy that prioritizes “the importation of cheap labor” driving down the wages of American workers while boosting the theory of free trade.

An American industrial policy would prioritize the following, Rubio wrote:

  • Focusing on the working class, “not fantasies such as the ‘green transition.'”
  • Supporting American industries of mining, oil and gas, and metallurgy
  • Tying generous subsidies to performance requirements, such as “export quotas”
  • Deregulation and “reforming” the business environment

In 2023, Rubio released a book that went deeper into his vision for the American economy. He argued the federal government’s migration policy is driven by business and economics, not by claims about “citizens of the world”:

Across this country today, the immigration system has been corrupted and exploited. And it began, as many of America’s problems do, with the fundamental shift toward a globalized economy.

But not every business could be exported, which meant Wall Street simply figured out how to import cheap labor, much of it [clarification, not all] coming from illegal immigrants. This was a slower, more subtle process. Sure, some politicians made a big deal about “jobs Americans wouldn’t do,” but otherwise the only outcry came from workers who found their wages stalled, benefits cut, and hours slashed until they could be replaced by someone willing to work more hours for less.

More often than not, it is about jobs Wall Street doesn’t want Americans to do because hiring Americans would require higher wages and better working conditions. To them, it is better to import cheap labor and buy off Americans with cash welfare programs provided by the government.

Another aspect of American industrial policy could include tariffs, which former President Donald Trump supports. The issue of tariffs is one of the longest-running debates in U.S. history. Tariffs generate revenue for the federal government and encourage domestic production in some industries by acting as a protective barrier against foreign competitors.

A majority of voters support the United States placing a ten percent tariff on all imports, a J.L. Partners/Daily poll recently found.

A ten percent tariff is a historically low rate. Average tariffs increased to as high as 60 percent before declining to 20 percent between 1790 and 1860, according to Douglas A. Irwin’s “Trade Policy in American Economic History.” From 1861 to 1933, average tariffs increased to 50 percent. Since 1934, tariffs declined to an average of about five percent due to the rise of an idea dubbed “free trade.”

Free trade sidelined tariffs in policy debate until 2016 when Trump campaigned on America First policies that protect American producers. Some economists believe “free trade” is a radical idea born to profit the global elites.

Wendell Husebo is a political reporter with Breitbart News and a former GOP War Room Analyst. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality. Follow Wendell on “X” @WendellHusebø or on Truth Social @WendellHusebo.


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