Saturday, August 8, 2015

Marco Rubio Finds a New Low

Marco Rubio, in a single comment on a debate stage, personifies every base debility known to American politics.

It’s no surprise that Senator Marco Rubio is a tool of his Big Money donors, but it is surprising to see the lengths he has gone to lately to keep the donations flowing.

When asked in the first Republican Presidential debate on August 6th about ways to help struggling small business, Rubio decided to use the occasion to attack a favorite bogeyman of Finance Industry–financed Republican candidates, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. These were Rubio’s words:
We need to repeal Dodd-Frank. It is eviscerating small businesses and small banks. 20 — over 40 percent of small and mid-size banks that loan money to small businesses have been wiped out over the — since Dodd-Frank has passed.
He fumbled a bit there, but this time it had nothing to do with cottonmouth. His mind was undoubtedly ruminating for a microsecond a couple of times on whether he should actually go ahead with the bald-faced lie he was about to utter.

His first fumble was whether to say 20 percent or 40 percent, and he tucked away the 20 and chose to go with “…over 40 percent.” This was the Big Lie.

(His second was whether to say “…over the Dodd-Frank law…” or “…since Dodd-Frank has passed…,” and he tucked away the “over” and chose to go with “since,” but this was inconsequential, since it was clear he was blaming the loss of community banks on Dodd-Frank.)

So, cleaned up, we end up with:
We need to repeal Dodd-Frank. It is eviscerating small businesses and small banks. Over 40 percent of small and mid-size banks that loan money to small businesses have been wiped out since Dodd-Frank has passed.
If you’re one of Rubio’s Big Money Wall Street donors, the senator chose wisely in issuing this statement. It blames the loss of the helpless little guy on the Big Bad Government. But if you’re someone interested in truth and in actually doing something to help America’s struggling middle class, the senator did not choose wisely at all, and he certainly isn’t choosing wisely in calling for the repeal of the single most important economic legislation of at least the last 30 years.

Because there is no data anywhere that shows 40%, much less “over 40%” of small banks in America being “eviscerated” at all, not by any force in the universe and certainly not by the Dodd-Frank law. It is true that somewhere between 16% and 22% of small banks in America have disappeared since 2010, but this is just a continuation of a trend that started in the early days of the Reagan administration, when deregulation made it irresistible for Big Banks to gobble up the small ones.

Both Congressional Republicans and their Wall Street financiers have been gunning for Dodd-Frank since Day 1, and even scored a stinging victory just last December, but rarely does one hear a call for out-and-out repeal. In order to issue one, Rubio not only had to fabricate his “over 40%” doomsday (a.k.a. right wing wet dream) fantasy, he had to deftly shift blame for the doom from the perpetrators to his victim. Because Dodd-Frank—even as toothless as Congressional Republicans have rendered it—remains the only weapon We the People have to prevent Wall Street from driving us headlong into another Great Recession, and the law does that by regulating the activities of Big Banks—those same Big Banks that have been gobbling up their smaller competition since the days of Reagan.

Small banks and businesses are not the victims of Dodd-Frank, they’re the victims of unfettered Big Banks—the same Big Banks whose nefarious activities Dodd-Frank is designed to curtail.

Marco Rubio is a relatively young man who has learned well from the masters of subterfuge who dominate American politics. What he is not is a qualified candidate for the highest office in the land.