My 2023 Roadmap to a More Productive, Resilient, and Dignified Economy
By Marco Rubio
When I first made the case for Common Good Capitalism and pro-America industrial policy in 2019, the Washington establishment, from both the Left and the Right, dismissed my claims as heresy, a dangerous and unnecessary departure from the bipartisan post-Cold War consensus. Now, three years and a pandemic later, everyone from Wall Street CEOs to the President of the United States is talking about the need for a more resilient economy. But despite the rhetoric, real solutions are few and far between.
On the one hand, the mandate for strengthening domestic manufacturing is clear. The pandemic, China’s insane lockdowns, and the war in Ukraine have made it painfully obvious that we will not remain a great power without the ability to produce food, energy, medicine, and other essential goods on our own. On the other hand, Washington elites seem incapable of real change. Their idea of industrial policy is passing a climate bill that props up green tech reliant on Chinese components or leaving billions in critical R&D investments open to theft by Beijing.
That is a recipe for failure and American decline. We cannot allow that to happen, which is why I am laser-focused on advancing legislation to build a more productive, resilient, and dignified economy. This isn’t just about backlogged ports and household appliance shortages. Without innovation in artificial intelligence, advanced manufacturing, and countless other technologies here in the U.S., there will be nothing to stop a totalitarian dictatorship that commits genocide and uses slave labor from becoming the world’s most powerful country.
There will also be little to prevent American communities devastated by deindustrialization from sinking further into despair. Dignified work, after all, is critical to human flourishing. As Joshua Preiss writes in The American Conservative, “human beings are social creatures [who] care about our relationship to others, the power or control others have over our lives and work, and whether we are recognized for the contributions of our labor.” If we want to stop the plague of hopelessness, drug addiction, and suicide sweeping through the working class, we need an economy that promotes stable, rewarding jobs.
Our first step should be to pass the National Development Strategy and Coordination Act, which Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA) and I introduced last Congress to establish a National Development Strategy. Federal financing programs currently have billions of dollars at their fingertips but no plan to coordinate their spending strategically. It is a fruitless waste of money. Our bill would give them that plan — plus another $20 billion to supercharge their loans over the next 10 years.
I am also going to keep pushing for greater investment in and protection of supply chains that deal with materials critical to U.S. security, from pharmaceuticals to rare-earth minerals to energy grid components. In the aftermath of the pandemic, we know that relying on the global market for anything essential to survival is close to committing national suicide, especially when “the global market” is virtually synonymous with Communist China. We cannot continue enriching our greatest adversary at our own expense, nor can we allow Xi Jinping to control our access to vital medicines or advanced technology.
President Joe Biden pledged to ensure that “the future is made in America” when he entered office in 2021. Since then, dozens more Washington elites have joined in the call for industrial policy. But how many of them are ready to walk the walk? I challenge the establishment to move beyond rhetoric and turn my bills into law. Our country will be safer and stronger for it.