Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Marco Rubio: "Don't spend as I do; spend as I say."

Paul Krugman (June 2015) "One of the greatest confidence tricks ever pulled in American politics was the way Republicans managed, for a while anyway, to convince centrists that they were apostles of fiscal responsibility."

[Edited from the New York Times] When Marco Rubio was elected to Florida's House of Representatives in 2000, he reported a net worth of zero, about $150,000 in student loan debt, and $30,000 in what he called assorted credit and retail debt.

For years he struggled under the weight of student debt, mortgages and an extra loan against the value of his home — totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. Despite an income of $90,000 in 2001, he wrote in his memoir that monthly expenses became so strained that he and his wife sold one of their two cars — and along with their young daughter, had to move into the home of his mother-in-law.

But the belt-tightening was short-lived. In 2003, he bought his mother-in-law’s home in West Miami for $175,000, putting no money down.

Within a few years, Mr. Rubio had landed a job at a high-profile Miami law firm paying him $300,000 a year. First, he bought a house in Tallahassee with another state lawmaker for $135,000, again putting no money down. (In the past week he sold this home for less than he paid. The house had faced foreclosure after they failed to make mortgage payments for five months.)

Then, by the end of 2005, the Rubios completed the purchase of a new home, twice the size of their previous one, for $550,000. The house, among the more expensive in West Miami, stood out from the aging homes nearby.

Within a few weeks of the home purchase, Mr. Rubio, then a Republican leader in the House, borrowed $135,000 through a home equity line to pay for improvements to the house from a politically connected Miami-based bank (U.S. Century). Afterwards, the house was reappraised at $735,000.

Suddenly the owner of three homes, the Rubios saw their liabilities soar to $1 million. Mr. Rubio earned $2.38 million from 1998 to 2008 — but ended up with an estimated net worth of $53,000.

Since 2009, Mr. Rubio’s political organizations have paid at least $90,000 to companies registered by one of the nephews. During his Senate campaign his opponents suggested he had used his superPACs to subsidize his family’s lifestyle.

But his use of a Republican credit card for personal expenses was harder to explain. Records showed that he charged the party’s card for stone pavers at his house, travel to a family reunion and putting his relatives on campaign payrolls.

His congressional salary of $174,000 as a Senator would not enough to meet family expenses, so shortly before running for the Senate, Mr. Rubio agreed to teach at Florida International University for $69,000 a year (the salary was later reduced).

After his 2010 Senate race, the Federal Election Commission repeatedly cited Mr. Rubio’s campaign — and fined it more than $9,000 — for running afoul of campaign finance rules. In one case, the commission found $210,000 in improper donations, many of which violated contribution limits.

But in 2012, financial salvation seemed to have arrived: A publisher paid him $800,000 to write a book about growing up as the son of Cuban immigrants.

[Editor's note: Marco Rubio said his parents came to America following Fidel Castro's takeover of Cuba. In May of 1956 the Rubio family flew to the United States and became instant U.S. residents. But Castro didn't return to Cuba from Mexico to mount his revolution until December of that year — 7 months after the Rubio family had already left Cuba. Politifact: Marco Rubio's original statement was a big fat lie was false.]

At the time of his windfall, Marco splurged on an extravagant purchase: $80,000 for a luxury speedboat. He also leased a $50,000 2015 Audi Q7 — but even when Mr. Rubio was earning large sums, his inattentive accounting led to years of unpaid local government fees.

Since 2012, he started college savings accounts for his four children, put away at least $150,000, given a $60,000 tax-deductible donation to charity and refinanced the mortgage on their primary home to lower the monthly payments.

A few weeks ago, he disclosed that he had liquidated a $68,000 retirement account. After cashing out the retirement account, he explained the decision in a deliberately folksy way: He needed to replace a broken refrigerator, and was also preparing for personal expenses related to his campaign. “I’m not poor,” he said, “but I’m not rich, either."

Since 2012, the Rubios have further supplemented their income with royalties from his two books and his wife's work for the billionaire Norman Braman, who is Mr. Rubio’s wealthy sugar daddy campaign donor (Braman's bio at Wiki).

Over the past few years, Mrs. Rubio’s firm failed to pay annual business licensing fees to the City of West Miami, despite nine written notices and repeated phone calls to her home. After After the New York Times made an inquiry with the city, suddenly (two days later) a check arrived from Mrs. Rubio for the $637.50 she had long owed. In a handwritten note to the city, Mrs. Rubio said that she had mistakenly believed her payments were up-to-date. “My apologies,” she wrote.

[Editor's note: Anyone else would have had a collection agency hounding them, maybe taking them to court and garnishing their wages or bank accounts. But our politicos have "special" privileges.]

Marco Rubio has long portrayed himself as a champion of financial austerity. In 2013 he railed against excessive government spending and runaway debt: “We have a country that borrows too much money.” In 2010, he diagnosed the problem this way: “If you allow politicians to spend money, they’ll do it.”

[Editor's note: He's right, he did spend. But don't do as he does, just do as he says.]

Rubio has a big tax-cut plan: Investment taxes, like those on capital gains from a stock portfolio, would be eliminated for those in the top 0.01%. Overall, it is estimated that his proposal would lose $2 trillion to 4 trillion in tax revenues over a decade.

Of course, a lack of tax revenues will force more cuts in government spending. And it's pretty much common knowledge now that tax cuts for the rich don't create more and/or better-paying jobs. It just makes the rich more rich — and with cuts in government spending, the poor more poor.

I couldn't resist ;)
Water Break


  1. UPDATE:

    Yes, Marco Rubio Struggled With His Finances. Now Let's Talk About His Policy Prescriptions.


  2. UPDATE: Marco worked as a lobbyist while doing state business --- another typical politico:

    WASHINGTON POST: "How Marco Rubio turned political star power into a soaring personal income"


    During nine years in Tallahassee [Florida], as Rubio rose in prominence and ascended to the state House speakership, he became increasingly well-compensated as he walked a narrow line between his work as a lawmaker and as an employee of outside firms with interests before the state government.

    Although he began his legislative career as a man of modest means, Rubio in 2008 reached an income level that placed him in the top 1 percent of American earners. His outside work included helping real estate developers navigate city hall bureaucracies, assisting a law firm in adding ethnic diversity to its client base and lawyer roster, teaching college-level political science classes, and coordinating conference calls for a Washington lobbyist seeking federal funding for Miami hospitals.

    Rubio’s annual income grew from about $72,000 when he was elected to the state House in 2000 to $414,000 in 2008, when his two-year speakership ended, according to financial disclosure forms and interviews with Rubio campaign staff members. About 80 percent of his total income during his tenure in the state House came from Florida law firms that lobby state and local governments, according to a Washington Post analysis of state financial disclosure forms.

    In December 2003, Rubio was registered as a federal lobbyist for Becker & Poliakoff in Washington, according to records maintained by the U.S. House and Senate and never previously reported. The registration form, which includes Rubio’s signature, declares that he would concentrate on "budget appropriations and health care."