This week's column is an interesting one, as it's the Post-Gazette's Jack Kelly criticizing other newspapers (The New York Times, and the Washington Post) for, one presumes, slanted and incomplete coverage (for example, this piece on Senator Marco Rubio's finances). That's an interesting point for Jack to try to make, considering his history of slanted and incomplete coverage. And if you don't know what I mean by that, I'd like to welcome you to 2 Political Junkies. It's obvous that this is your first visit.
Jack opens with a fair criticism of the Rubio's history of traffic tickets. So Jack gets a pass on that one. He's right. It's a silly charge from the Times.
It's when Jack starts to write about this piece in The Times and this piece in the Post regarding Rubio's finances, that he omits sizable chunks of reality.
These pieces are all about Rubio's less-than-adequate stewardship of his own personal finances (all while portraying himself, in the words of The Times piece, "as a champion of financial austerity, railing against excessive government spending and runaway debt.").
So let's see what Jack says is in the Times and Post pieces and then compare it to what's actually in the actual piece. We'll start with this:
Sen. Rubio withdrew $68,000 from his retirement account to replace a busted refrigerator and air conditioning unit and pay private school tuition for his four children, the Post reported May 20. This “desperate financial maneuver” has “drawn fresh attention to a long-running problem during his political career: his struggles with money,” wrote reporter Sean Sullivan.This is from the Times about the 68 large:
Other moves seemed simply unwise: A few weeks ago, he disclosed that he had liquidated a $68,000 retirement account, a move that is widely discouraged by financial experts and that probably cost him about $24,000 in taxes and penalties.Something Jack chose not to tell you - that Rubio probably lost tens of thousands of dollars by withdrawing that money from his accounts.
That link leads to this other Times article on Rubio's finances. It says:
Sen. Marco Rubio cashed out most of his retirement savings while preparing to launch his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, records released Friday show.Other stuff Jack chose not to tell you. As we go deeper into the facts, Jack's looking more and more silly, isn't he? Before we get to the reason for liquidating those funds, we should be asking why do that and loose $24,000 in taxes and penalties when you supposedly much more in checking and money market accounts?
Rubio, 43, sold six retirement funds in September 2014 for $68,241.09, according to his personal financial disclosure statement. He made the sale even though he apparently had ample cash in the bank: He reported between $100,000 and $250,000 in a checking account and between $50,000 and $100,000 in a money market account at the end of 2014. And, so far in 2015, he estimates he has earned between $100,000 and $1 million from a new book.
How is that good financial stewardship?
And isn't that the point of the Times and Post pieces?
But let's continue. Here's what it says in the Post piece about the $68 Gs:
In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Rubio said that he needed “access to cash” for personal expenses and in anticipation of running for president. He said he has at least two other active retirement accounts.A fridge that costs $3,000? Unless you're a restaurant, I guess.
“My refrigerator broke down,” Rubio said. “That was $3,000. I had to replace the air-conditioning unit in our home. My kids all go to school, and they are getting closer to college, and school’s getting more expensive.”
Just imagine for a moment Jack's reaction to reading in the news that the former Secretary of State (that would be Hillary Clinton) liquidating $68,000 from her retirement funds to fix or replace a $3,000 refrigerator an air-conditioning unit or pay tuition?
My guess is that he'd be among the first to scream, "Live within your means!! You can't afford your kids elite private schools? Send them to public schools! You can't afford a top of the line fridge that costs $3,000 to replace? Buy one cheaper."
Jack's next two paragraphs:
Mr. Rubio had student loans, a second mortgage on his home in Miami, lost money on a house he and another lawmaker bought in Tallahassee, the state capital, after he was elected to the legislature, the Times reported Tuesday.And from the Times:
Mr. Rubio paid off his student loans and mortgages with proceeds from a book advance. But he also, frowned the Times, “splurged on an extravagant purchase: $80,000 for a luxury speedboat.”
For years, Senator Marco Rubio struggled under the weight of student debt, mortgages and an extra loan against the value of his home totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. 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.Do I need to tell you that the publisher, Sentinel Penguin, describes itself this this:
In speeches, Mr. Rubio, a Florida Republican, spoke of his prudent plan for using the cash to finally pay off his law school loans, expressing relief that he no longer owed “a lady named Sallie Mae,” as he once called the lender.
But at the same time, he splurged on an extravagant purchase: $80,000 for a luxury speedboat, state records show. At the time, Mr. Rubio confided to a friend that it was a potentially inadvisable outlay that he could not resist. The 24-foot boat, he said, fulfilled a dream.
Sentinel was established in 2003 as a dedicated conservative imprint within Penguin Group. It publishes a wide variety of right-of-center books on subjects like politics, history, public policy, culture, religion, and international relations. The name Sentinel symbolizes a tough-minded defense of America’s fundamental values and national interests.The Times has more on the mortgage front:
In the past week, he sustained a new loss when he sold his second home in Florida’s capital, Tallahassee, for $18,000 less than he and a friend paid for it a decade ago. The house had previously faced foreclosure after Mr. Rubio and his friend failed to make mortgage payments for five months.Wait, wait. Marco Rubio gets $800,000 in a book advance in 2013 and still has a house facing foreclosure due to non-payment on the mortgage for 5 months?
Something Jack Kelly chose not to tell you.
Had a liberal publishing company bailed out a similarly distressed Democrat, I wouldn't think that Jack Kelly would be anywhere near as forgiving.
Let's settle up:
The subtext of these stories — that this beaner can’t manage money — was made explicit by Harold Evensky, “a longtime financial adviser who reviewed Mr. Rubio’s public financial disclosures at the request of the Times.”Jack gets to a "something they didn't mention" argument!! Oh, I am so proud of him.
“This was someone that was living financially dangerously,” he said. Mr. Evensky donated to Barack Obama’s campaign, which the Times didn’t mention.
Or I would have been until I looked at the facts. Search the Federal Election Commission donor website for "Harold Evensky" as a campaign donor and you get one donation of $500 to Obama for America in 2007. Search the OpenSecrets website for donations by Harold Evensky and you get the same $500 donation in 2007.
Something else Jack Kelly didn't tell you. Apparently that's enough to discredit Mr Evensky's credibility for our own Jack Kelly.
Doesn't anyone check these things at the Post-Gazette? I realize this stuff is on a different rhetorical level than calling Caitlyn Jenner a circus freak but still there should be some standards, right?