Senator Marco Rubio: "The point now being that the fiscal cliff is a creation of the political branch, although we do have a big fiscal cliff that will eventually reach us. The real fiscal cliff is the growing debt and no plan in place to deal with it. As far as the rates are concerned, look, I don't have a religious, spiritual objection to higher tax rates. I have an economic objection to it because of the impact it has on growth. Here are the things I would say about that.
"Number one is, an enormous number of people, an enormous number of folks that would be impacted by raising rates on the top earners are not millionaires and billionaires. They are small businesses that pay on the individual rate. And the number of businesses that today pay on the individual rate versus the corporate rate is much larger than it was just a decade ago and beyond when rates were higher under Clinton and others.
"The second question, I would say is, "What problem are we solving? Why are you raising the rates?' Ostensibly, according to the president, it's because it helps bring down the debt. But the truth is that if you go forward with what the president is proposing you raise about 80 billion dollars a year in new revenue, which is about seven and a half percent of your annual deficit. On the other hand, we know it's going to have, we believe it's going to have, an impact on growth. And so the question becomes, "What problem are you solving?' and "Are you willing and are you prepared to wipe out some small businesses in exchange for seven and a half percent of deficit reduction potentially?' I think that's a bad trade off.
"And the last point I would make about it is, the billionaires and millionaires that are going to be impacted by higher rates, they can afford to hire the best lawyers, lobbyists, and accountants in America, to figure out how not to pay those higher rates. The folks that are going to get stuck with that bill are the small businesses, the partnerships, the S corporations, that cannot hire the lawyers to get them out of it."
Major Garrett: "In other words, you won't vote for something that prevents the country from going off the cliff if there are higher rates attached to it?"
Rubio: "I'm not going to vote for anything that's not a solution. We need a real solution. A solution is policies that put in place economic growth. Economic growth, you can't cut your way out of this mess that we're in. You can't. You certainly can't cut your way out of discretionary spending out of this. And you can't tax your way out of this dilemma. The only answer to this dilemma is rapid and healthy economic growth, like the economic growth that we've had in other recoveries, which is significant amount of growth over a period of time. For example, if economic growth after this downturn in the economy had hit its historical average, you would've halved, you would've been able to cut by half, last year's annual deficit."