On the MSNBC program “Daily Rundown” with Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie Monday morning, Florida candidate for U.S. Senate Marco Rubio again asserted that the Bush tax cuts should be extended and would pay for themselves, but unemployment benefits should be paid for.
“They will be paid for because they create economic growth, especially in the long-term,” he said. When Guthrie interjected that unemployment benefits act as a stimulus, he said, “Well I don’t think anyone can say that with a straight face.” “First of all, private sector growth is stimulus.” Rubio’s position puts him in the mainstream of Republican political thinking, that the Bush tax cuts pay for themselves while unemployment benefits should be paid for without adding to the debt.
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Despite Rubio’s claim, Mark Zandi, an economist and economic adviser to John McCain’s 2008 campaign for president, estimated that unemployment extensions generate $1.61 of economic activity per dollar spent while making the Bush tax cuts permanent would generate only about 32 cents of economic activity.
Guthrie also asked Rubio whether he still supported offshore drilling. “Sir, as I understand it, you do support offshore drilling. Is there anything about this experience in the Gulf of Mexico with BP that has made you alter your position or refine it at all?” He responded, “Yeah, the refinement is to make sure it needs to be done safely.” But he still supported offshore drilling, as he has throughout the Deepwater Horizon disaster.