Jonathan Chait

Marco Rubio's Economic Worldview

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The administration's proposal to charge large banks, which enjoy an implicit too-big-too-fail guarantee, is fairly straightforward market economics. Greg Mankiw concedes as much. Then, on the other side, you've got Marco Rubio, conservative dreamboat:

Earlier this week, I spoke out against President Obama’s wrongheaded decision to place an onerous and punitive new tax on the financial institutions Americans rely on to loan them money to buy homes, safeguard their money, and fund their businesses. Since then, I have been subjected to vicious attacks from Democratic party operatives, liberal bloggers, and even some in the media. Tired old stories long ago proven meritless were rehashed with new sinister headlines. Even the bank that gave me a line of credit on my home was dragged into this.

This is life in Obama, Reid, and Pelosi’s America, where not only is free enterprise attacked, but so too is anyone who dares to defend it.

I wear liberal attacks as a badge of honor because ultimately my campaign is not about me, but about giving a voice to the millions of Floridians who are fed up with the policies they see coming out of Washington, just like this bank tax.

No one should be fooled by the spin. President Obama’s bank tax is not about recouping money for the American taxpayer. If President Obama were truly serious about that, he would call on Congress to repeal his failed stimulus program tomorrow so that future generations won’t be saddled with its crippling debt.

President Obama’s bank tax is about finding new ways for the Democrats who control Congress to confiscate more money to pay for their big-government takeover. It won’t recoup money for the taxpayer because taxpayers will ultimately pay for this tax in the form of higher costs of banking, lost jobs, and a freeze of economic activity. This tax is a cynical and intellectually lazy attempt at pitting the American people against American enterprise in the hopes that we will all forget about this president’s and this Congress’s failures in addressing job losses, reckless spending, and soaring debt.

This is the bright new light of the GOP? There's almost no argument here, except an undefended assumption that anything that reduces the profitability of large banks harms Americans. It's just mindless dogma. I especially love the self pity. Poor Marco Rubio, defending the right of huge financial institutions to not pay back a portion of their huge federal subsidy. And he gets criticized for it! By members of the other political party and political commentators! What happened to America?

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