DR. MANNY: I’m 'financially irresponsible' like Senator Marco Rubio, and proud of it

What’s the purpose of the New York Times article attacking Senator Marco Rubio on the front page of today’s paper?

The whole article seems to me, to be about how a decent, family loving, first-generation American has struggled with financial challenges. As I read the story, I thought I was reading about my life.

My mother and father were immigrants who left Cuba under the toughest conditions. As a young Cuban who came to this country as an orphan, it became very clear to me that when my parents did finally make it here, I would always be responsible for helping them – including financially.

So I educated myself. I took out student loans that were tough to pay back – but every chance I got, I gave what I could to my parents, my sister and my nieces. You know why? I was lucky enough to be growing up in a free country and had enough maturity to realize that an education was important. So I became the doctor. Just like Rubio became the lawyer.

The NYT notes that Rubio has confessed to a “lack of bookkeeping skills” and an “imperfect accounting system” in his 2012 memoir, “An American Son,” and that he learned to manage money through trial and error.

Certainly, at no time in my life did my parents provide any financial education. And it was not because they didn’t respect money or hard work, but rather, because they did not know enough about it themselves having come from a communist country that stripped them of everything they owned – including their freedom. They lived their lives very simply. They worked, kept their home, and they ate what they killed – in other words -- they lived paycheck to paycheck like many American families. Yet, at the same time, they created an infrastructure that allowed me to pursue my dream of becoming a doctor, just like Rubio was able to become a lawyer.

The Times also notes that Rubio used the money he made his 2012 memoir to pay off student loans – where is the fault in that? This, at a time when the national debt has climbed exponentially under an administration who shows blatant disregard for the value of a dollar.

To cast a negative light on the financial challenges of Rubio’s still relatively young life, is to insult many hard-working Latinos that do the same thing every day.  The NYT should be focusing on what’s important in the upcoming presidential race: character flaws, lies, sex scandals and corruption. We’re already dealing with enough of that up on Capitol Hill. And those are the flaws that weaken the character of a leader. The way I see it, the only thing you can accuse Rubio of doing is loving his family and trying to provide the best for them.

So he leases a $50,000 car, and he has a big house in a working class neighborhood. Wow. I guess the NYT doesn’t want Latinos to dream. Because when we dream and make mistakes, it seems to be confused with a certain stereotype of irresponsibility.

And (gasp!) how could you trust a person who borrows from his retirement account? What an irresponsible human being. If that’s the case, I guess I am irresponsible because my duty is to sacrifice for my family. And that, I would not change for the world.

We all make sacrifices on the way up. But the point is that we make it.