By Chris Carey
United States Senator Marco Rubio set the stage for an argument between profits and heart by expressing businesses have the right to make money, but also have a responsibility to those who do not directly receive the benefit of the bottom line in his address to the Busch School of Business on Tuesday morning.
Rubio’s much anticipated coming saw attendance in the hundreds, resulting in overflow from the Della Ratta Auditorium in Maloney Hall to surrounding classes where students could view a livestream of the speech. Focused on “Common Good Capitalism,” Rubio stressed the importance of building up communities by offering tax incentives to companies who give back, as well as the need in this age for companies to ensure they reinvest regardless of shareholder distributions or a bottom line.
“Giving a tax preference to a business when they reinvest their profits in a way that creates new jobs and paychecks; that’s what we should do instead,” said Rubio, in opposition to proposed tax plans of the 2020 Democratic candidates for president, which he subtly hinted at throughout the speech.
Rubio drew on his own experience growing up as a Cuban American, anecdotally reflecting on something he heard in his youth.
“Your parents are from Cuba, don’t you speak Latin? No, I speak Cuban!” he reminisced with some humor and a hint of seriousness.
Rubio’s childhood greatly influences his policy convictions of today, as he talked about the need for a rebirth of the truly American way of forming community from involvement in the parish around the corner, the Little League Diamond, and the PTAs in schools across the country.
Growing more animated as the speech went on, Rubio fell into the patterns of his 2016 stump speeches. Briefly, a vestige of the candidate who nearly won the Republican Party’s nomination for President of the United States emerged in front of the finance, marketing, management, and all too excited politics majors in the crowded auditorium.
“I enjoyed every moment of hearing how Marco Rubio believes our community can make an impact on our country,” expressed sophomore International Business major Kara Scarangella.
Although many were excited by the presence of the senator and his very strong stances against China for social conservative rebirth, and for the need for fostering community that reaches beyond the left or right side of the aisle, some remained skeptical of some aspects of his speech.
Many students noticed that during the question and answer session facilitated by Dean Andrew Abela and members of the Busch School, no female audience members were selected. Additionally, one student asked Rubio to sign his Make America Great Again hat, paraphernalia of President Donald Trump, Rubio’s primary opponent in 2016.
These interactions, along with the Senator’s discourse on China, Common Good Capitalism, community building, and more, shaped for an event that offered many questions for Catholic students to ponder.
“Does our country exist to serve the interests of the market, or does the market exist to serve the interests of our nation, and of our people?” Rubio asked in the final moments of his speech, attempting to conclude and summarize while hearkening back to the theme of human dignity and the purpose of capitalism.
This article has been edited to correct a quote from a source.