Rubio at CPAC: "There is no tax increase in the world that will solve our long-term debt crisis"

There have been reports that the bipartisan group of senators working on an immigration plan have reached an agreement on a pathway to legal status to the country’s 11 million illegal immigrants, but Republicans dodged the issue earlier this week, insisting that there’s still plenty of work to be done before they’re ready to roll the thing out — and Sen. Rubio probably knew that CPAC wasn’t the time or place to get into it. Conspicuously avoiding the immigration topic (even steering clear of the story of his parents’ immigration from Cuba), he went for a more crowd-pleasing conservative smorgasbord instead.

Not that that was a bad thing — getting the obligatory water-bottle joke out of the way early, he went straight for the free enterprise, constitutional principles, the importance of family, and American greatness. I tend to think that one of Rubio’s greatest strengths lies in effectively countering President Obama and the Democrat’s Republican-demonization strategery, and he didn’t disappoint on that front, touting free markets as the most effective method of lifting people out of poverty and chiding the Obama administration that our obligations to our fellow men are not better served by government fiat and $16 trillion debts.

And that bubbling student-loan debacle he mentioned at the end there? Truth.

The number of young borrowers who have fallen behind on their student loan payments has soared over the past four years, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said in a report released Thursday.

According to the report, 35% of people under 30 who have student loans were at least 90 days late on their payments at the end of last year, up from 26% in 2008 and 21% at the end of 2004.