Politics

Rubio Rips Carbon Tax, Says Millennials Will Wind Up Paying For It

Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) ripped the idea of carbon taxes to combat climate change Tuesday in South Carolina, telling a young audience member he would "pay the price for it" and that he would not support legislation that "will do nothing to help our environment but will have devastating impact on Americans."

An audience member filmed the exchange at College of Charleston.

"President Obama right now has been talking about carbon tax and putting that language into his clean power plan that would allow states to comply with his regulation of levying their own carbon taxes," a younger male audience member said. "Can we tax our way to lower emissions?"

"Not only do I not believe that, I believe you'll pay the price for it," Rubio said. "In essence, what these developing countries are asking America to do is to make itself less competitive. They argue they're not going to make any substantial changes until they reach our level, or so they say, but they want America and other developed countries to substantially impose costs on our economy."

The more expensive it is to do business in America, Rubio said, the fewer jobs created relative to other developed countries.

"We can’t make America more expensive, and that’s what these things will do," he said. "And so that’s why I don’t support policies that will do nothing to help our environment, but will have a devastating impact on Americans, on American workers, and on the American economy."

Full exchange:

AUDIENCE MEMBER: World leaders, as you know, are gathering in France right now for the Paris climate talks, and they all seem to be rallying around carbon taxes and carbon energy. President Obama right now has been talking about carbon tax and putting that language into his clean power plan that would allow states to comply with his regulation of levying their own carbon taxes. Can we tax our way to lower emissions, is my question.

MARCO RUBIO: No I don't believe–in fact, not only do I not believe that, I believe you'll pay the price for it. In essence, what these developing countries are asking America to do is to make itself less competitive. They argue they're not going to make any substantial changes until they reach our level, or so they say, but they want America and other developed countries to substantially impose costs on our economy. And here's the bottom line. The more expensive we make doing business in America, the less jobs are going to be created in this country compared to other places. I actually believe–first of all, America's already substantially cleaner than it was 15 or 20 years ago.  I believe the American innovator will continue to make us cleaner. Natural gas is a clean source of energy. We didn't know we had so much of it until the American innovator figured out a way not just to drill straight down but how to drill sideways, and suddenly we now have access to an abundant supply of natural gas. We should be fully utilizing it. It will allow us to power our utilities. It will lower the cost of living in America, but it will also lower the cost of doing business.

If we continue to raise the cost of doing business in America, you will see less jobs created, you will see wages remain stagnant, and you will see millions of Americans continue to be left behind. We have millions of people in this country that are working as hard as they have ever worked before, and they are struggling to live paycheck to paycheck, because not only does everything cost more, there are more things to pay for than ever before. We need to realize that only the private sector can create the better-paying jobs that we need for people to have a better standard of living. We can't make America more expensive, and that's what these things will do, and so that's why I don't support policies that will do nothing to help our environment, but will have devastating impact on Americans, on American workers, and on the American economy.