Picture this: Your marriage is in trouble, and you have to choose between two marriage counselors. One has been married for 30 years. One has been divorced and remarried for 30 years. Which one do you prefer?
A case could be made for either. One-time married Sandy has successfully worked through any marriage issues that have arisen. Two-time married Pat knows personally the emotion and conflict of a failed marriage. Which one do you think will be more effective in helping you to navigate your own marital problems?
Republican presidential candidate and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has had a few traffic tickets. He also has a financial past that ranges from misguided to high-flying depending on who is doing the describing.
[sharequote align="center"]With Marco Rubio, we see his messy learning curve.[/sharequote]
Now he’s interviewing for our nation’s Chief Financial Officer. Is his rocky road of personal finances a pro or a con?
A case could be made for either. A candidate with a solid financial track record—picture Mitt Romney—has presumptive competence for successfully piloting the helm of our massive economy with its gazillions in debt.
A candidate who has struggled with bookkeeping and budgeting has a different track record to analyze, one that is frankly more informative as job interviews go.
With a financially solid candidate like Mitt Romney, all we see is the result; the way he got there is opaque. How much of it had to do with family wealth, smart partners, or luck?
With Marco Rubio, we see his messy learning curve. He paid hella taxes when he closed out an IRA, sold a home for $18,000 less than he paid for it in order to avoid foreclosure, and didn’t save as much as he could have over the years.
Sounds like a lot of us who aren’t Mitt Romney.
Rubio paid off his student loans with an advance for his 2012 memoir “An American Son” and simultaneously splurged on a luxury speedboat, telling a friend that he couldn’t resist the extravagant purchase.
Since 2012, he has saved $150,000 and given $60,000 to charity. It would seem that a man who gives $60,000 to charity might be allowed a little extravagance, especially if he indulges himself while growing his family’s savings.
With Rubio, we see both the end result—a man who has achieved solid financial footing through trial and error—and the path he took to get there; learning from his mistakes. That’s a pretty attractive quality in a candidate for president of the United States.
In this Jan. 8, 2014 file photo, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
The New York Times paid a financial adviser to review Rubio’s public financial disclosures; Harold Evensky found him to be “someone that was living financially dangerously.”
The article that quotes Evensky’s assessment of Rubio’s debt accumulation as “staggering,” describes the senator as an ambitious young man who “climbed the ranks of the [Florida] Legislature, determined to reach the prestigious post of House speaker.”
Sounds like a lot of entrepreneurs who have risked living financially dangerously to get an endeavor off the ground. When the endeavor succeeds, no one talks about the financially dangerous part, only the wildly successful part. If Rubio succeeds in becoming president, it would seem that every risk was worth it.
The idea that Rubio, if elected, will use his personal financial expertise in his capacity as commander in chief is laughable. Even if he wanted to he couldn’t. That’s what the Cabinet is for, as well as the Chair of the Federal Reserve, and the Council of Economic Advisers.
Rubio doesn’t need to be a nuclear physicist either. If he blew up his chemistry lab in high school, we can still take on Islamic State.
Even more laughable is the notion that anyone running for public office—anyone at all for that matter—is free of dirty laundry. Another presumed candidate proclaims her righteousness in carefully managed public settings while her behavior ranges from unethical to nefarious depending on who is doing the describing.
Pavers for his home and travel to a family reunion charged on a Republican credit card? Whether inattentive, irresponsible, or devious, it hardly amounts to Caribbean trips involving young female sex slaves at the home of a friend.
The final chuckle is the focus on Jeanette Rubio’s traffic tickets and business license fees. What his wife’s driving and business management skills have to do with him is unclear. Nancy Reagan invited an astrologer to the White House. Does anyone think President Ronald Reagan consulted the stars before he challenged Gorbachev to “tear down this wall?”
Rather than disqualifying Rubio for our country’s highest office, his history shows just how qualified he is.
Marco Rubio is a self-made man who took “dangerous” risks to achieve his political ambitions, risks that so far seem to be paying off. Along the way, he has made his share of bad decisions about money, decisions that taught him through trial and error how to make better decisions.
He’s as American as a guy can get.
Donna Carol Voss is an author, blogger, speaker, and mom. A Berkeley grad, a former pagan, a Mormon on purpose, and an original thinker on 21st century living, she is the author of “One of Everything,” the story of how she got from where she was to where she is. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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