Sen. Rick Scott joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” to talk about how the polices of President Joe Biden’s administration are harming the country’s economy, the crisis in Cuba, and more.
“The first thing is: [President] Joe Biden’s got to stand up. There’s hashtags that we ought to use. Dónde está Joe? Where is Joe? Joe’s nowhere,” says the Florida Republican.
Read the lightly edited interview transcript below or listen on the podcast:
Rachel del Guidice: I’m joined today on “The Daily Signal Podcast” by Sen. Rick Scott of Florida. Sen. Scott, it’s great to have you with us.
Sen. Rick Scott: It’s always great to be with you all.
Del Guidice: Well, you’ve been talking on Twitter a lot about how President [Joe] Biden’s and the Democrats’ raging inflation crisis is really causing problems. You’ve called it a spending spree. Can you bring us up to speed on what’s happening?
Scott: It’s staggering. They’re spending us into oblivion. They’ve already done $1.9 trillion and now the next bill is at least $4 trillion. And it could be as much as $6-plus trillion. One trillion is staggering, right? Four, 5, 6, 7 trillion is staggering. And what it’s doing is it’s causing inflation.
But first off, they’re bankrupting this country. I think now, per family, our federal debt is now a little over $250,000. We have almost $30 trillion worth of debt. So I guess, oh, you are going to pay for it, right? Not me. I’m not paying for all that. So I guess they’re expecting your generation to pay for it.
We’ve got to stop it. I’m going to do everything I can to stop it. It’s causing inflation. You’ve seen the numbers. Gas prices are up a buck in a year. Food prices are up. They’re not up a little bit. Overall [consumer price index] is at 5%. Producer price index is up 7%.
But all your daily stuff is up. And what that’s doing is it’s a tax on the poor. If you’re on fixed income, if you’re a poor family, then your wages are not going to go up that fast. So, if something cost you a dollar last year, or 95 cents last year, it’s going to cost you a buck this year. Did your wages go up that fast?
I grew up in a very poor family. I remember I had my single mom and eventually I had an adoptive dad, but she would take on ironing to make ends meet. And whatever she made, either my older brother or I would go to the grocery store because we’re five kids. And she’d say you’ve got to check all the prices because it’s changing every day. So whatever money I had, that’s all. I had to … try to buy enough to feed two adults and five kids with very little money.
And when there’s inflation, it hurts the poor families. It hurt my mom a lot, and that’s what they’re doing. … Just take gas as an example. I think if you fill up your gas tank once a week for an average car, that would be another $600. If you have a truck, it’s another $1,000 a year. People don’t realize half of Americans make less than $35,000 a year. That’s a lot of money.
Del Guidice: I want to talk a little bit more about the little personal story you mentioned about your mom and standing in the gap with that. I think some people, especially people inside the Beltway, they have no idea of what normal Americans go through, that they don’t have a lot of money at their fingertips. And from a personal standpoint, when you see reckless spending, what do you think internally when you or someone who did not come from a wealthy family and had to really pinch pennies and budget and make ends meet, what thoughts go through your head when you see things like this happening?
Scott: First of all, I still read menus right to left. If I think this is too much money for something, I don’t buy it. I think that’s how Americans are. They have to make decisions about what they can buy. And I think, unfortunately, politicians in D.C. have forgotten that. They’ve forgotten that $25 here, $50 there, it all adds up. So, they raise fees, they raise taxes. …
Democrats have already raised taxes this year on Uber drivers and DoorDash drivers and say, “Oh, we’re not going to raise taxes except for the rich.” It’s a complete lie.
Del Guidice: You talked about how this debt is impacting families across the country. I think you mentioned $250,000 per family, how the debt is impacting these families. … We talked about gas prices, we talked about Uber drivers. What other practical things can you show Americans about how this is impacting families day to day?
Scott: Think about a young person. You got married, right? And let’s say you have a kid. In the beginning you’re fine living in an apartment, but you have a little kid and you say, “Gosh, I really want them to be able to have a yard and things like that.” Look at house prices. They’ve skyrocketed. How do you get started?
Then you find a neighborhood, “Oh, I want to live in that neighborhood. I’m going to save up my money for the down payment. Oh, gosh. I did save up my money for the down payment, but now I can’t afford the house.” That’s exactly what’s going on all across.
Then look at, let’s say you’re 16 years old, you’ve got your job, and you want to get a car because you’re sick and tired of being at home. You want to have some freedom. I think used car prices are up 45%—45% in one year. One year.
So if you look at, you can’t buy a house, you can’t get a car, right? Your groceries are up, right? So they’re impacting every American.
Del Guidice: You mentioned gas prices. I want to ask about that again, given the fact that they’ve gone up so much—I think you mentioned a dollar in the past couple months, which is unbelievable. Where do you see this going? And how is this going to impact the economy if gas prices continue to rise?
Scott: If you look, historically, when government spends too much money, the prices go up. And it’s staggering what we’ve spent. There’s some amount of money we should spend when we go through a crisis like COVID, but to pay people more not to work than to work, how does that make any sense? Where in the world would you do that? And that’s what the Democrats have done.
I tried to block it a year ago when they passed the first COVID bill. I said, “That doesn’t make any sense.” A lot of people quit their job to get unemployment. Where does that make any sense? Giving stimulus checks to felons, like the young man that killed the 17 people at a Parkland school. He got a check. It’s just unbelievable.
The government spending and the fact that the Federal Reserve is basically throwing money everywhere. The Federal Reserve has increased, I think, the amount of money by 25% out of the margin. That’s always going to end up with inflation.
But Jay Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, said an increase in money supply, that’s not going to cause inflation. Now, he always has in the past, but somehow his history changed. You can’t make this stuff up.
Del Guidice: You can’t. I wanted to ask you about one of your recent projects you’ve been doing in company with The Heritage Foundation. One of our producers is working with you, which is awesome. The series is called “Road Trip on a Budget.” Can you tell us about what “Road Trip on a Budget” is?
Scott: First of all, I want to thank The Heritage Foundation because you talk to a lot of people, but the people that work at The Heritage Foundation, they really care about this country. They know how to get a message out. They’re fiscal responsible. They have a long-term view of what’s good for this country. And with regard to this reckless government spending, they know it’s going to end up in inflation.
So they put together a great series. I think we put out two portions of it, they put out two portions of it so far. It’s fun to team up with The Heritage Foundation because they just have great people working there and they have great projects.
Del Guidice: I want to ask you too about what President Biden is doing in the White House. We have the American Rescue Plan, the American Jobs Plan, American Families Plan, all of the different plans that President Biden is passing and signing into law.
How is that impacting the economy as well as Americans in general? He’s billing this as, “Oh, we’re going to bring people out of poverty, we’re going to help the economy.” Is that what’s going on here?
Scott: He’s bankrupting the country. It’s like there’s free money out here. It’s not like, “Oh gosh, over the last 50 years we’ve saved a whole bunch of money.” We have almost $30 trillion worth of debt, so it’s not like money we’ve saved. It’s money we haven’t saved and then somebody’s going to pay for it. …
Biden says, “Oh, it’s just going to be the rich.” Well, unfortunately, the rich don’t make enough money to pay for all this stuff. So everybody’s taxes have to go up. He’s just throwing money for everything. This is socialism.
Here’s what happens with socialism. You can look at Cuba, right? And in Cuba what’s happened? They ran out of other people’s money to spend. So you have a shortage of food, you have a shortage of water, you have a shortage of electricity, you have a shortage of medicine.
And what’s happening in our country? We have shortages because we’re telling people, “Don’t go to work.” Now what’s happening is you can’t open up a lot of restaurants. There’s shortages of a lot of things in this country now.
I was talking to a lady the other day. She said she was at, I can’t remember the type of store, but she said … the shelves were empty. Because all of the foolish things that the government is doing.
What they’re doing is, it’s socialism. And then they want to raise your taxes. And they say they’ve got to raise taxes to get revenue for the government to do something good. It’s to make it fair, right? That’s called redistribution of wealth. They don’t like people that are successful.
I grew up in a poor family. I know my goal was not to be broke. And so, I was able to build businesses. And now what they say is somehow that’s bad if we go build business. Because what happens when somebody builds a business, actually, they pay taxes and they hire a lot of people.
I had a company with 285,000 employees. We hired a lot of people. That’s jobs for people. That’s wages for people. It’s letting people live their dream. Everybody’s got a different dream. But what the Democrats are doing—they want to control everything.
Del Guidice: What a time to be alive.
Scott: No, no. This is when you can have an impact. That’s the way you need to look at this. You can have an impact, “Put me in the game.” This is when you can have the impact. This is when everybody’s got to show up. That’s why what Heritage is doing right now is so important. Because they’re giving people a way to explain things, to show up and win.
Del Guidice: So how do we fix this, practically speaking?
Scott: Govern. But you know what, you don’t get to govern if you don’t win elections. You have got to win elections. So show up.
I’m here at the Turning Point USA to make speeches. I’m here at a Turning Point USA event. There’s 2,000 people here. So every person could probably impact at least 1,000 votes. That’s, what, 2 million votes?
That means we will win the school board races, we’ll win the sheriff’s races, we’ll win the mayor’s races, we’ll win the city council, the county commission races. We’ll win the governor’s races, we’ll win the Senate races. And guess what? In ’24, we’re going to have a president that cares about good things for this country instead of bankrupting this country.
Del Guidice: Earlier, Sen. Scott, you were mentioning Cuba and what’s happening there. What is your perspective on what’s going on? Thoughts?
Scott: Don’t you feel sorry for them? You just hear the stories. I’m from Florida, there’s a lot of Cubans here, so you talk to them and they say they all still have family there. The protesters are getting beat up. You can see all the pictures. I know a lot of dissidents in Cuba. They’re arrested and we don’t know where they are.
Like José Daniel Ferrer. His 18-year-old sons are gone. There’s a group of Ladies in White. They dress up in white and march around after church to protest the government. They’re getting arrested and we don’t know where they are. We know they’ve been kidnapped.
So here’s what we got to do. We’ve got to do three things. The first thing is Joe Biden’s got to stand up. There’s hashtags that we ought to use. Dónde está Joe? Where is Joe? Joe’s nowhere.
Remember, he didn’t want to be in all those international clubs. Like, you work with [French President Emmanuel] Macron, [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel, and [U.K. Prime Minister] Boris Johnson. Well, maybe he should call all of his buddies and say, “You know what? We actually do believe in democracy. We do believe in freedom. We’re going to go help the people of Cuba and stop this dictatorship down there.”
But has he so far? No. And look, that’s No.1. He needs to do that. We need to call him out for that.
No. 2, we’ve got to get the internet back on. We’ve got to figure out, whether government does it or private sector, we’ve got to get the internet back on so the people of Cuba can share where they’re going and how to deal with their government. The government of Cuba is scared to death of them, and they should be.
And No. 3 is we’ve got to talk about what’s going on. We’ve got to talk about what’s happening to José Daniel Ferrer. We’ve got to talk about what’s happening to the Ladies in White. And we got to show the pictures of the protests.
And whether the mainstream media will do it, we can do it. We can put it up on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and all that stuff. We can get the message out. If we do, we’re supporting them, and we’re going to see new government. If we get a new government in Cuba, we’ll get a new government in Nicaragua, we’ll get a new government in Venezuela, and we’ll stop the protest in Colombia.
Del Guidice: Speaking of telling the story, getting the message out, are there any personal stories from Cubans that have moved to Florida that you’ve heard, or maybe they’ve told you themselves about what they’ve had to undergo, or just maybe things that stayed in your mind?
Scott: There are so many stories. I’ve talked to so many Cubans that took a treacherous boat ride from Cuba. It’s 90 miles, as you know, to Key West. The coast. I live in Naples, Florida, on the coast, and one morning I was heading to the airport and there were 24 Cubans that had gotten on a fast boat and gotten to the shore. You just feel sorry for them.
So, thank God we have this country where, if you come here and you are eventually a U.S. citizen, you can live the dream of this country.
But there’s so many people in Cuba that have family that don’t have water, they don’t have food, they don’t have electricity, they don’t have medicine. The only way we’re going to solve this is by holding the Castro regime accountable. They’re the ones doing this. There’s nobody else doing it. They’re doing it to themselves. We’re not relying on some other country, right? Their government has made these decisions.
But I’ll tell you one story. Remember how [former President Barack] Obama did the appeasement because he was going to get them to change? No. Let me give you a story.
There’s a lady by the name of Sirley Ávila León. Sirley Ávila León, a wonderful lady. I gave her a freedom award. She had her left hand chopped off, stuck in the mud so she would get an infection and die. That was after Obama’s appeasement.
Remember when he went and played in the stolen baseball stadium and they took the Major League Baseball down there and had that nice baseball game? Stuff like that. Sat next to Raúl Castro, the murderous dictator, that killed thousands of people. Many at firing squads and stuff like that. Well, that’s what Obama did.
And so, you know what Sirley’s atrocity was? What’s your guess? She complained that they were going to close a school in her neighborhood. So they chopped off her hand and stuck it in the mud so she would die. That’s disgusting.
Del Guidice: And that’s what we’re up against. I have one follow-up, because it’s so appropriate, I have to ask it. So, very recently I’ve heard, maybe a week ago, Black Lives Matter said that the United States is at fault for the situation and Cuba. I have to get your reaction on that.
Scott: It’s disgusting. It’s ridiculous. First off, if Black Lives Matter think that form of government is so good, I’m sure there’s a whole bunch of people with boats that will take them down there and drop them off, all right? Let it move.
Have you ever heard of anybody immigrating—except, oh, yeah, there’s some people immigrating to Cuba. That means mass murderers do, people who kill police in America do, people like that. Terrorists do. Oh, yeah, they go down there. But normal people that want to live a normal life with kids and grandkids and have the dream to be anything, you think they’re moving to Cuba? No, they’re not.
Del Guidice: Well, Sen. Scott, thank you so much for joining us on “The Daily Signal Podcast.” It’s great having you with us.
Scott: Thanks to Heritage for what you guys do. You guys do a great job.
Del Guidice: Thank you.
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