Marco Rubio, reportedly the best the Republican Party has to offer, offered up a sea of deception in his response to the President’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday night. Little Lies, Big Lies, Straw Men fallacies. WC asks his readers to take their anti-nausea medicine as we wade into a rank selection.
1. Climate Change
Sen. Rubio (R-Fla.) dismissed the idea that the U.S. government could do anything to combat climate change
The government can’t change the weather. We can pass a bunch of laws that will destroy our economy, but it isn’t going to change the weather. Because, for example, there are other countries that are polluting in the atmosphere much greater than we are at this point — China, India, all these countries that are still growing. They’re not going to stop doing what they’re doing.
China and India, in fact, have cap-and-trade systems to control emissions, while the U.S. does not. A proposed system for the U.S. passed the then-Democratic-controlled House in 2010, while it died in the Senate. China is, of course, the world’s leading emitter of carbon dioxide, but it also has a population over four times the United States. Per capita, we’re still the champs. And because someone else isn’t doing anything, we shouldn’t either? How utterly selfish have Republicans gotten?
Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine breaks down the reasoning behind climate change for Rubio:
1. The government has a bunch of rules that control how much coal, oil, and whatnot gets burned. 2. The more greenhouse gasses we burn, the warmer the climate gets. It’s science. 3. The warmer the climate gets, the more frequently we have extreme weather events. This is also science.
Rubio’s climate change skepticism is not newfound. He said earlier this month that he has heard “reasonable debate” about whether climate change is man-made. In fact, a study, published in 2010 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, surveyed 1,372 climate researchers and found that 97 to 98 percent of them agree that climate change is anthropogenic.
Utterly selfish, stupidly wrong and morally repugnant.
Quoting Sen. Rubio again:
This idea – that our problems were caused by a government that was too small – it’s just not true. In fact, a major cause of our recent downturn was a housing crisis created by reckless government policies.
Paul Krugman punks Rubio’s claims:
OK, leave on one side the caricature of Obama, with the usual mirror-image fallacy (we want smaller government, therefore liberals just want bigger government, never mind what it does); there we go with the “Barney Frank did it” story. Deregulation, the explosive growth of virtually unregulated shadow banking, lax lending standards by loan originators who sold their loans off as soon as they were made, had nothing to do with it — it was all the Community Reinvestment Act, Fannie, and Freddie.
Look, this is one of the most thoroughly researched topics out there, and every piece of the government-did-it thesis has been refuted; see Mike Konczal for a summary. No, the CRA wasn’t responsible for the epidemic of bad lending; no, Fannie and Freddie didn’t cause the housing bubble; no, the “high-risk” loans of the GSEs weren’t remotely as risky as subprime.
This really isn’t about the GSEs, it’s about the BSEs — the Blame Someone Else crowd. Faced with overwhelming, catastrophic evidence that their faith in unregulated financial markets was wrong, they have responded by rewriting history to defend their prejudices.
Sen. Rubio seems to have drunk a far more dangerous Koolaid and not just an awful lot of water. He and his teabagger buddies are now committed to the belief that their pre-crisis non-regulation doctrine was perfect, that there are no lessons we can take from the worst financial crisis in three generations except that the banking industry should have even less regulation. If Sen. Rubio gets into power, you know he’ll test that theory by giving his banker campaign donors a chance to do it again.
3. Just a Home Boy
Sen. Rubio boasted,
Mr. President, I still live in the same working class neighborhood I grew up in. My neighbors aren’t millionaires. They’re retirees who depend on Social Security and Medicare. They’re workers who have to get up early tomorrow morning and go to work to pay the bills. They’re immigrants, who came here because they were stuck in poverty in countries where the government dominated the economy.
He’s a Not-Romney, you see. Just one house, in a middle-class neighborhood. A regular guy.
According to the Miami New Times, that would be West Miami. In fact, this regular-joe’s claim to the middle class is a lie, too. In fact, his home is on the market. The asking price? $675,000.
This probably qualifies as a brazen lie. You talk about your one-of-the-boys home in a nationally televised speech when 1) you are actively trying to leave that working-class neighborhood and 2) you stand to make more than a half-million bucks when you sell your digs. Oh, and the Miami New Times has some dirt on how he acquired the house. Not pretty, and another example of why we need the government regulation Prof. Krugman talked about.
WC is already over the 750 word limit that he tries not to exceed. Besides, WC is a little nauseated by disgust, even if his readers may be made of sterner stuff. So we’ll stop the shoveling there, even if WC has a lot of dirt left.
But we’ll end on this note: this is reportedly the best the Republican Party has to offer. This is the guy with new ideas. This is the guy on the cover of Time magazine.