Many of us wonder what it takes to be a good president. Do you have to have a strong moral character? Do you need experience in other higher offices? Do you need to have a consistent voting record? One of them most interesting questions this election year is, however, is whether or not your personal finances speak to your ability to effectively manage America’s economy.
This question has arisen time and time again for Senator Marco Rubio. According to reports, Rubio has struggled financially for years. Like many American’s he had high student debts and purchased a home that he could not afford. Finally, in 2012, he was given $800,000 to write a book, a windfall he insinuated could finally help him repay his student loans and get back onto sound financial footing.
Is Marco Rubio the right many for the job?
While the book advance did help him to repay his school loans, many question other purchases, some of which have been termed “extravagant.” In fact, about the time he was given the book advance, Rubio purchased a speedboat for $80,000. A move he described to friends as “fulfilling a dream.”
While a speedboat for less than $100,000 is not extravagant by Washington’s standards some claim it could point to a more significant issue: Rubio’s financial management skills. Other questions about his use of a Republican Party credit card, the sale of a second home for a substantial loss, an expensive lease on a $50,000 Audi Q7, limited savings, and the liquidation of a retirement account also have some talking heads baffled.
What does Rubio say about his financial missteps?
Rubio admits the missteps, chalking much of it up to youth, a lack of booking-keeping skills, an imperfect accounting system, and appointing his wife as treasurer of a political action committee. He also points to a childhood with immigrant parents who had limited income and savings, which caused him to learn how to handle his finances through “trial and error.”
So does this really matter? Rubio claims his main goal over the last fifteen years has been less about becoming rich and accumulating wealth and more about rearing his kids. In fact, Rubio believes that the most important thing he’s done over the last few years has been providing for his children and making sure they have had a happy upbringing and the chance at a great future.
If this is true, maybe this speaks to the possibility that he’s more like the average citizen than other politicians who have wealth, connections, and who haven’t had to struggle through financial issues to advance their political careers. It could also show what great strides the child of immigrants can make in America with enough drive and determination.
Unfortunately, it could also mean that Rubio may not be ready to be president, his ambitions and position may have outpaced his financial acumen, and he may not be prepared to lead our great nation if he cannot balance his own checkbook.
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