Long before he voted for it, economists and policy experts warned Marco Rubio that Republicans' giant tax cut for the wealthy would not help the American working class. Barely a week after voting for the cuts anyway, Rubio admitted those experts were right, telling the Southwest Florida News-Press he didn't think the bill would "create dramatic economic growth."
Now Rubio is back at it again, publicly whining to the Economist that the GOP's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is not helping the working class.
"There is still a lot of thinking on the right that if big corporations are happy, they’re going to take the money they’re saving and reinvest it in American workers,” he told the Economist yesterday. “In fact, they bought back shares, a few gave out bonuses; there’s no evidence whatsoever that the money’s been massively poured back into the American worker.”
This isn't a brave moment of truth-telling by a Republican senator, despite what numerous blabbering political pundits may claim. Rubio is just trying to save his own ass. He makes statements like this all the time. He continually backtracks and moans about his own party to hoodwink the public into thinking he's something other than a gigantic tick sucking blood from America's poor so he can waddle his engorged belly to the country's rich and bless them with feasts of warm human plasma.
Numerous articles published in the past few months — including a piece in the Week calling Rubio a "reasonable Republican" undone by Trump, a February Atlantic column that conjures up the idea that Rubio is waging a "lonely fight" against the far right, and a recent Daily Beast story in which columnist Matt Lewis is somehow confused as to why people dislike Rubio — fail to accurately describe the senator for who he is and how he votes. Instead, they fall for his nonsense spin about how he believes he's approaching his job with dignity and respect and deference to the blessed norms that the rest of the D.C. blogosphere so valiantly defends. Rubio isn't even particularly popular with the far-right, Breitbart-reading crowd: After his approval rating hit an all-time low after the Parkland shooting, Quinnipiac University noted his "approval rating among Republicans is a lackluster 65-24 percent."
The same people who write wishful paeans about Rubio's turns toward "bipartisanship" and "civility" are the same rubes who got scammed into thinking Paul Ryan was a "policy wonk" all these years.
The latest Economist piece falls for the same trick, hook, line, and sinker, referring to Rubio as "a glint of hope" for the Republican Party and ignoring the fact that someone writes a nearly identical "Is Marco Rubio the Future?" column every six months even though nothing about his basic worldview ever really changes. The Economist even claimed Rubio has a "boyish earnestness that even Democrats find endearing," which is the sort of fabrication so detached from reality it should get the entire editing staff fired:
Two years on, Mr Rubio is plotting a more elevated response to the earthquake Mr Trump has triggered on the right. In an hour-long interview he describes his plan for a new “reform conservative movement” devoted to addressing the economic disruption and social disaffection that the president vigorously described. In offering himself as an optimistic Reaganite, Mr Rubio acknowledges that he missed the “anxiety and anger” Mr Trump tapped into. “I spent a tremendous amount of time focused on the opportunities I had as the son of a bartender and a maid in the past century,” he says. “I didn’t spend nearly enough time talking about what the bartender and the maid face today.”
In reality, Rubio votes with the Republican Party roughly a billion percent of the time. According to FiveThirtyEight, he has voted for 97.1 percent of the ideas that Trump has endorsed since he took office last year. Read that again: 97.1 percent. Their only two disagreements in the past year came when Rubio voted to levy sanctions on Russia for allegedly interfering with the 2016 election. When it comes to policy, he sits in lockstep with the president. Rubio doesn't like all the weird digressions about chocolate cake and Candace Bergen.
Rubio tried last year to repeal Obamacare without even offering a replacement package. He did not give one shit about the 32 million people expected to lose their health insurance, nor did he even respond to basic data that shows insurance cuts lead to deaths. He lied about retiring from the Senate in 2016, used the Pulse massacre to justify getting back into the 2016 Senate race, and then, after winning, went right back to hating LGBTQ people and thinking they shouldn't have basic rights.
He is neither good nor decent nor respectful. Rubio refused to tell a Parkland shooting survivor that he would stop accepting National Rifle Association money. He took wads of cash from telecoms and supported repealing net neutrality. He is a corporate tycoon's platonic ideal of what a politician ought to be: Someone vaguely good-looking and passably telegenic who has zero qualms about redistributing income upward to the rich — which means we'll be forced to read paeans to "Rubio Republicanism" in the press until the heat death of the world.
For months, Rubio said he was backing the GOP's tax cuts only to fight for a full child tax credit — and then the GOP leadership refused to give it to him. He voted for the package anyway, probably because the bill is transparently designed to blow up the federal deficit and give Republicans an excuse to chop away the social safety net as a solution. Rubio has literally admitted this because he is a resolutely bad person lacking basic empathy. Stop falling for this nonsense just because he doesn't scream 19th-century racial slurs while eating KFC like our current president.
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Plus, Rubio's latest few decisions seem to confirm he's moving toward the reactionary, uncivil right as opposed to away from it. His new chief of staff is Michael Needham, the former head of the Heritage Foundation Action Fund, arguably the most conservative lobbying group in all of Washington. Needham successfully persuaded the Tea Party that former House Speaker John Boehner was too liberal, thereby pushing Boehner into retirement. Needham's selected quotes make him sound like the sort of person content with ripping Medicaid and Social Security and immigration asylum out of the rulebooks and laughing as children become malnourished and innocent people die because they're not able to flee wars. According to the New Republic, Needham once argued that the concept of a "minimum wage" is bad for poor people.
So read Rubio's latest quotes about the tax package within that context. Once again, he's bellyaching that the GOP forced him into voting for a tax package that his conscience felt oh-so-upset about. Rubio had the gall to tell the Economist he's a "minority within a minority" in the GOP because he apparently feels bad about all the awful things for which he continues voting.
"My relatives are firefighters and nurses and teachers and electricians,” he says. “These are people who are not all that excited about the new economy.”
Marco Rubio has been a senator since 2011. He was a Florida state representative for ten years before that. If you hate the current economy, good. Never forget it's Rubio's fault we got here.