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Ron DeSantis Is Now Attacking the Hyatt Regency Because It Hosted a Drag Show

The Florida governor has been waging a war on drag and on LGBTQ people in his state.

Ron DeSantis
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis moved Tuesday to strip the Hyatt Regency of its liquor license for allegedly allowing minors to attend a Christmastime drag show.

DeSantis, who has been cracking down on LGBTQ rights, filed an administrative complaint through the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation accusing the hotel in Miami of allowing people under age 18 to attend a “sexually explicit” drag performance.

The complaint did not provide any evidence that minors had been in attendance other than one blurry photograph of a person’s face.

DeSantis had previously warned any venues that hosted the touring show A Drag Queen Christmas that his administration would seek legal action against them. He has also mentioned the possibility of having child protective services investigate parents who take their children to drag shows. A Drag Queen Christmas required individuals under the age of 18 to be accompanied by an adult in order to attend.

In February, DeSantis threatened to strip the Orlando Philharmonic Plaza Foundation of its liquor license for allegedly allowing children to attend its production of A Drag Queen Christmas.

DeSantis has gone to all-out war with anything he deems “woke,” and with LGBTQ rights in particular. He enacted the state’s infamous “Don’t Say Gay” law, banned transgender women from playing women’s sports, and vowed to defund diversity, equity, and inclusion programs on college campuses.

He is also part of a larger trend of Republicans demonizing drag queens and trans people. Tennessee recently became the first state to ban drag performances in public, while more than 20 similar bills move through state legislatures across the country.

Republicans accuse drag performers and trans people of being pedophiles as a way to fearmonger about the LGBTQ community. Many on the right say that attacking the LGBTQ community is a means to protect children, but their actions actually expose people—including children—to violence.

Ron DeSantis Wants to Make It a Felony to Have an Undocumented Person in Your Home or Car

A new Florida bill criminalizes not just undocumented Floridians but anyone who associates with them.

Ron DeSantis
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Around 772,000 Florida workers, students, and community members are undocumented. And Governor Ron DeSantis wants to make it a felony for anyone to have them in their home or even give them a ride.

Senate Bill 1718, part of Desantis’s broad repressive legislative agenda this year, targets not just undocumented people but also anyone associated with them. The bill, which is likely to pass the Republican-controlled state legislature, criminalizes anyone who transports an undocumented person “into or within this state.” In other words, anyone—co-worker, friend, neighbor, classmate—giving a simple ride to someone they know or care about who is undocumented would be guilty of a third-degree felony.

The bill also criminalizes anyone who “conceals, harbors, or shields” (or “attempts” to do so) an undocumented person in “any place within this state.” Nearly 4 percent of Floridians are undocumented. The bill text, reading like an edict issued in Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Shadow Children series, foments fear about these hundreds of thousands of people. It isn’t hard to imagine law enforcement agencies conflating a house party or simple afternoon cup of tea with a secret migrant-harboring operation.

Under the framework, any person with a prior conviction who commits the “crime” of hosting an undocumented person would be liable to an even higher second-degree felony.

The bill imposes thousands of dollars of fines on private employers who give work to undocumented people; employers are not allowed to continue employing someone if they find out they are undocumented. And any undocumented person who works without appropriate identification papers would be liable to a third-degree felony. The bill also prohibits undocumented people from being admitted to the Florida bar, overturning standing law that currently allows it.

If the bill is passed into law, Florida would also refuse to recognize any out-of-state licenses issued to undocumented people. Authorities would be directed to take DNA samples from undocumented people who are booked into jails or detention facilities per orders from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Finally, the bill orders Medicaid-accepting hospitals to ask patients to indicate their citizenship status. Ostensibly meant as a cost-tracker for undocumented patient care, the bill reads that the question must be accompanied with an assurance that the patient’s response will not affect care or result in a report to immigration authorities. However, given the extremity of the rest of the bill, even with regard to criminalizing people who host undocumented people in “any place,” the assurance does not welcome complete trust.

“Governor Ron DeSantis and his Republican colleagues continue to show that they are more focused on attacking and vilifying immigrants and Latinos to advance their political agenda than solving the real problems hurting Floridians,” said Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Nanette Barragán and Vice Chair of Policy Darren Soto, who represents Florida’s 9th district, in a statement.

Republicans hold supermajorities in both the Senate and House, and, of course, the governorship; the repressive bill that further criminalizes undocumented people—and the co-workers and classmates, neighbors, and friends with whom they’ve developed relationships—is set to pass.

“This should be the model for all 50 states going forward,” boasted state Senator Blaise Ingoglia, the sponsor of the draconian bill.

After Largest Bank Failure Since 2008, Nancy Mace Says Now Is Not the Time for Politics

The South Carolina representative seems to want to “thoughts-and-prayers” bank regulation.

Nancy Mace
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
Representative Nancy Mace

As federal and state regulators rush to contain the fallout from the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, Representative Nancy Mace wants to make sure that we don’t politicize the situation.

The South Carolina Republican called out Elizabeth Warren on Monday night for discussing the inherently political issue of bank regulation. Warren, a.k.a. the person who would know best, slammed Congress and the Federal Reserve in a New York Times op-ed for failing to step in and prevent the banks’ failures.

Idk, probably shouldn’t politicize such a serious issue. Also your statements are irresponsible, false and poorly timed,” Mace tweeted.

Republicans have already been fast to blame literally anything but deregulation of the financial industry for the SVB and Signature breakdowns, particularly (mind-blowingly) diversity. But Mace is the first to say that rather than place blame anywhere at all, we should just thoughts-and-prayers away the problem.

Naturally, the internet had some thoughts.

Mace has developed a reputation for pandering to the left while voting staunchly with the right. She condemned Donald Trump’s role in January 6 but didn’t vote to impeach him. She says her party is becoming too anti-choice but continues to vote for anti-abortion measures.

But it’s not entirely clear what she hopes to achieve with her tweet. It’s not as if there’s a “little guy” to stick up for here. If anything, Mace is the one making “irresponsible, false and poorly timed” quips.

The New Inflation Report Has Some Signs of Hope

Here’s what you need to know about the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ new consumer price index report.

Shoppers are seen in a supermarket.

Inflation is slowly but steadily going down, the consumer price index showed, according to a report released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The CPI measures the monthly change in prices that U.S. consumers pay for certain goods. It’s a key government indicator of inflation.

Here are three things to know about the inflation report and what it might mean going forward.

1. It has some of the lowest increases in more than a year.

Prices rose 6 percent in February compared to a year earlier. This is a decent slowdown from January, which saw prices go up 6.4 percent compared to the year before. This is the eighth consecutive month that the inflation rate has dropped and the smallest yearlong increase since September 2021.

Obviously, 6 percent is still high, especially considering the Federal Reserve’s target of 2 percent inflation. But the pace of inflation is slowing, decreasing to a 0.4 percent increase in February compared to 0.5 percent in January.

Removing the price increases for food and energy, which are always volatile even before the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine tied up supply chains, prices rose 5.5 percent compared to last February. This is the smallest yearlong increase since December 2021.

Mark Zandi, the chief economist at economic research group Moody’s Analytics, said inflation was “headed in the right direction.”

Inflation is painfully high, but steadily receding. It is on track to be closer to 3% by year’s end, and the Fed’s inflation target by next summer,” he said on Twitter.

2. But inflation in key areas remains high.

Energy prices have been steadily decreasing over the past few months, which has contributed to the slowing inflation. Prices for fuel, gas, and electricity fell 0.6 percent from January.

But prices for food and shelter increased. Shelter, in particular, was the biggest contributor to prices hikes in February, with housing costs going up 0.8 percent. Part of that is due to the Fed’s aggressive campaign of raising interest rates, which has driven up mortgages even as home prices go down. People who own property are having to pay more, while people who can’t afford to buy are having to stay in the rental market. While rent costs have started to ease up, they’re still high due to high demand.

Costs for groceries went up 0.4 percent in February, and the price of eating out went up 0.3 percent.

3. What does this mean looking forward?

The Fed begins its policy-setting meeting Tuesday and was widely expected to hike interest rates by 0.25 percent for the second time.

The new CPI report is unlikely to affect that decision, but the Fed could be influenced by the recent closures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. Regulators in California and New York, respectively, swooped in to shut down both banks after panicked customers began to withdraw their funds en masse.

Goldman Sachs chief economist Jan Hatzius predicted Sunday that the SVB and Signature failures would prompt the Fed to hold off on raising interest rates for now.

But Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at the consulting firm Pantheon Macroeconomics, thinks the Fed will stay the course.

“Assuming markets stay calm and no more banks fail, we think the Fed will hike” by 0.25 percent, he wrote in an analysis Tuesday.

“To be clear, we think further hikes are now unnecessary; the lagged effect of the increases over the past year are enough to push inflation back to target, but Fed officials have been unwilling so far to accept this argument.”

The U.S. central bank is scrambling to achieve a so-called soft landing, or a decrease in inflation without tipping the economy into a recession. The labor market has remained strong overall, causing concerns that the economy has not slowed sufficiently to avoid a downturn.

Dean Baker, senior economist at the Center for Economic Policy and Research, put the likelihood of a 0.25 percent hike at “50-50.”

“I think we have a very good shot [at a soft landing] as long as the Fed doesn’t get carried away,” he told The New Republic.

This post has been updated.

Biden to Issue Executive Order Increasing Background Checks on Gun Sales

Biden is expected to sign the order while visiting Monterey Park, California, where a deadly mass shooting took place earlier this year.

Joe Biden
Leon Neal/Getty Images

On Tuesday, President Biden is visiting Monterey Park, California—where 11 people were shot dead and another nine were injured amid a Lunar New Year Festival. At the site of the deadliest mass shooting in the history of Los Angeles County, Biden will sign an executive order seeking to increase the level of background checks conducted before gun sales.

The order will also direct his Cabinet to develop a plan for how the government can better support communities suffering from gun violence. The Cabinet is ordered to raise public awareness surrounding “red flag” laws, which allow people to ask a court to determine whether someone is dangerous and merits having their guns temporarily confiscated.

Another plank of the plan calls for Attorney General Merrick Garland to elevate focus on rules for federally licensed gun dealers, ensuring the dealers are compliant with background check requirements. Biden also directs Garland to develop and implement a program to stop dealers whose licenses have been revoked or surrendered from continuing to sell guns.

Biden’s order also calls for enhanced reporting of ballistics data on a federal, state, and local law enforcement level; currently, local and state law enforcement agencies are not required to report such data. The mandate’s aim is to strengthen a federal clearinghouse that helps law enforcement agencies match shell casings to guns.

Biden is also asking the Federal Trade Commission to issue a public report that analyzes how manufacturers market guns to minors.

The order is not so much an expansion of new regulation as a move to more properly carry out standing rules. It follows the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which passed last year after two shootings in May: one at a school in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two adults dead; the other a racist mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, that left 10 people dead.

The bill—though called “bipartisan,” it only had the support of 15 Republican senators and 14 Republican House members—focused more on mental health and school safety programs. The gun regulation aspect of the bill focused mainly on expanding background checks for gun purchasers under the age of 21 and attempting to close the so-called “boyfriend loophole,” disqualifying anyone found guilty of a domestic violence charge in a romantic relationship from purchasing firearms, regardless of marital status.

Biden’s direction is a welcome one. But until there’s a more meaningful crackdown on guns themselves, and until Republicans are not allowed to keep posturing as standing behind “commonsense” gun reforms while mostly not voting for even the most basic policies, people will keep dying.

Republicans Who Pushed for Financial Deregulation Blame Silicon Valley Bank Collapse on “Woke Agenda”

A list of Republicans blaming the bank failure on wokeness, contrasted with their own record.

Senator Josh Hawley speaking
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
Senator Josh Hawley

In the aftermath of the collapse of bloated tech lender Silicon Valley Bank, conservatives have flailed around, lazily throwing any culprit at the wall except the-word-that-must-not-be-said: deregulation.

Republican members of Congress are blaming “wokeness,” critical race theory, and diversity, equity, and inclusion—ignoring their own history of pushing for a deregulated financial industry.

Missouri Senator Josh Hawley on Monday complained that SVB was “too woke to fail,” opining that “these SVB guys spend all their time funding woke garbage (‘climate change solutions’) rather than actual banking and now want a handout from taxpayers to save them.” SVB, of course, lends money to any number of start-ups, plausibly including ones aiming to address climate change (and like any capital-driven financial institution, that’s definitely not its main focus). And Hawley—while posturing as a pro-worker, hardscrabble leader—has actually sought to weaken consumer protection and bank regulation.

After the 2008 financial crisis, the Obama-era Dodd-Frank reforms helped establish the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. Spearheaded by Senator Elizabeth Warren, the agency’s main task was to watchdog banks, lenders, securities firms, debt collectors, and so on to try to protect consumers. The CFPB has conducted oversight including fining Wells Fargo $100 million for transferring funds from authorized customer accounts to covertly opened unauthorized accounts in order to accrue fees and other secret charges. All that’s to say, to any regular person, the CFPB would be an organization worth strengthening, not weakening.

Not to Hawley, however. In 2017, the then–Missouri attorney general signed onto an amicus brief attacking the CFPB for “out-of-control regulations”; Hawley’s brief was tied to a lawsuit filed by PHH Corporation, a massive mortgage lender that was fighting a $109 million CFPB fine for overcharging loans to consumers and for an alleged “kickback scheme.” PHH allegedly referred customers to mortgage insurers it partnered with, and in exchange for the referral, the mortgage insurers purchased “reinsurance” from the PHH’s subsidiary companies.

With Hawley’s help, the company won, on the grounds that other agencies refused to go after PHH for the fraudulent scheme in the past; the court moreover ruled that the White House could remove the director of the CFPB at will. Hawley could’ve chosen to argue that regulation of the financial industry should be stronger, not weaker; he chose the latter.

Meanwhile, an array of Hawley’s fellow Republicans peddle the charade while having their own hands dirty. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Representatives Virginia Foxx, James Comer, and Andy Biggs have all come out with “woke” statements blazing, as they deride Biden’s plan to support depositors without burdening any taxpayers.

In 2018, all four Republicans voted to roll back Dodd-Frank rules that would have subjected Silicon Valley Bank to stronger regulations and stress tests to determine its stability and security.

Representative Ronny Jackson has also come out in full self-parodizing form:

While relatively newer to Congress, Jackson has had plenty of time to focus on the financial sector. One bill he has signed onto would prevent the Treasury Department from requiring a financial institution to report transfers in and out of accounts. Three more he’s signed onto would block a Securities and Exchange rule for companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions, in order to better tackle climate-related catastrophes.

Jackson, like the rest of his party, seems so deeply preoccupied with not letting shady corporate interests off the hook.

The Right’s Desperate Attempt to Blame the Silicon Valley Bank Collapse on Diversity

A note to Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, and others: Find a new scapegoat.

Silicon Valley Bank name on a screen, with a red arrow plummeting downwards
Nikolas Kokovlis/NurPhoto/Getty Images

As the U.S. government swooped in to not bail out Silicon Valley Bank, many on the right suspected they had found the culprit behind the bank’s collapse: diversity.

California regulators took over SVB, a major tech start-up lender, on Friday after customers began withdrawing their money from the bank en masse. Just two days earlier, as funds dwindled due to high interest rates and low investments, SVB had sold securities at a nearly $2 billion loss and then failed to recoup its losses.

The reasons for the bank’s collapse are well known and widely acknowledged, but that hasn’t stopped right-wingers from pointing their fingers at another specter.

In its proxy statement, SVB notes that besides 91% of their board being independent and 45% women, they also have ‘1 Black,’ ‘1 LGBTQ+’ and ‘2 Veterans.’ I’m not saying 12 white men would have avoided this mess, but the company may have been distracted by diversity demands,” Wall Street Journal opinion writer Andy Kessler mused Sunday.

Multiple Fox News hosts blamed the collapse on women and LGBTQ people. Tucker Carlson said SVB focused too much on “pioneering glass-ceiling-shattering women,” while Pete Hegseth said the senior vice president of risk management was too “heavily focused” on LGBTQ inclusion programs.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has said he intends to dismantle diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI, programs on state college campuses, charged SVB was “so concerned with DEI and politics” that it “diverted them from focusing on their core mission.”

Far-right commentator Charlie Kirk and Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy both said DEI initiatives were behind the bank’s collapse. Ramaswamy also blamed environmental, social, and governance factors.

Former Trump administration members Donald Trump Jr. and Stephen Miller accused SVB of being too “woke.”

SVB’s collapse is the latest instance of diversity being used as an irrational scapegoat. Having a more diverse board of directors is obviously not to blame. If anything, the blame falls on the state and federal regulators who failed to see what was going wrong and step in earlier, Karen Petrou, a managing partner at the consulting firm Federal Financial Analytics, told NPR’s Marketplace.

But Republicans have lately been blaming all crises on diversity as a way to try and argue against DEI initiatives. Just last week, Georgia Representative Mike Collins insisted that focusing too much on DEI is what led to the Norfolk Southern train derailment in Ohio.

Environmental, Native Groups Slam Biden’s “Immoral” Approval of Willow Oil Drilling Project in Alaska

“Biden approved Willow knowing full well that it’ll cause massive and irreversible destruction, which is appalling.”

Celal Gunes/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Climate activists gather to demand President Biden stop the Willow Project, at Lafayette Square in front of the White House on January 10, in Washington D.C.

“No more drilling on federal lands. No more drilling, including offshore. No ability for the oil industry to continue to drill. Period. Ends.”

That was Joe Biden’s promise in 2020. He again repeated the promise two days before the 2022 midterms.

And now, on Monday, Biden’s administration formally approved Willow, a massive oil drilling project in Alaska. The $8 billion project spearheaded by corporate giant ConocoPhillips is slated to produce over 600 million barrels of crude oil over 30 years, which will produce the equivalent of roughly two million cars’ worth of carbon pollution every year.

The project is set to infiltrate one of the country’s largest expanses of public land.

Last week, former Vice President Al Gore said it would be “recklessly irresponsible” for Biden to sign off on the project. “The pollution it would generate will not only put Alaska native and other local communities at risk, it is incompatible with the ambition we need to achieve a net-zero future.”

And Gore, who warned in his An Inconvenient Truth about how the climate crisis necessitates us “having to change the way we live our lives,” is certainly not alone.

“Instead of sticking to his own goals and listening to the millions of young people who carried the party for the last three cycles, President Biden is letting the fossil fuel industry have their way,” said Sunrise Movement executive director Varshini Prakash, who noted that Willow will emit more pollution annually than 99.7 percent of all single-point sources in the country.

Other environmental activists had similar words of condemnation for the project, which is expected to be challenged in court.

“Biden approved Willow knowing full well that it’ll cause massive and irreversible destruction, which is appalling,” said Kristen Monsell, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “People and wildlife will suffer, and extracting and burning more fossil fuel will warm the climate even faster. Biden has no excuse for letting this project go forward in any form. New Arctic drilling makes no sense, and we’ll fight hard to keep ConocoPhillips from breaking ground.”

“Today’s decision completely contradicts not only the administration’s climate goals but also its commitment to consider Traditional Ecological Knowledge in federal policymaking,” said Jade Begay, director of policy and advocacy at Indigenous advocacy organization NDN Collective. “The Native Village of Nuiqsut has repeatedly voiced their concerns around how the project will impact local ecosystems—including caribou, which they rely on for subsistence. This immoral decision will have devastating impacts on the livelihood of the people of Nuiqsut and beyond.”

Just last year, a monthlong natural gas leak from Conoco’s oil drilling near Nuiqsut, Alaska, prompted hundreds of people to evacuate. Now the company is marching back into the area for an enormously wider mission.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration announced Sunday it would ban drilling or (mostly) limit drilling in other parts of Alaska and the Arctic, ostensibly as an attempt to soften the blow of completely flipping on Biden’s pledge not to allow further drilling into our earth.

“It’s insulting that Biden thinks this will change our minds about the Willow project,” said Monsell. “Protecting one area of the Arctic so you can destroy another doesn’t make sense, and it won’t help the people and wildlife who will be upended by the Willow project. We need to protect the entire Arctic and stop building massive oil and gas developments that will contribute to greenhouse gas emissions for years to come.”

The Power of Ke Huy Quan’s Oscar Win for Everything, Everywhere in a World of Growing Asylum Bans

The actor spent a year in a refugee camp before arriving in the United States. But today it’s getting harder for people to claim asylum here.

Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

Actor Ke Huy Quan highlighted his background as a refugee while accepting an Oscar for Everything Everywhere All at Once, even as the U.S. government moves to block people with similar backgrounds from entering the country.

Quan won best supporting actor Sunday night for his role in the indie breakout film as Waymond, the patriarch of a Chinese American family trying to keep it together when they are transported on an adventure across universes. He acknowledged his own immigration story in his acceptance speech.

“My journey started on a boat. I spent a year in a refugee camp, and somehow, I ended up here,” Quan said tearfully. “They say stories like this only happen in the movies. I cannot believe it’s happening to me. This, this is the American dream!”

Quan was born in Vietnam in 1971. Seven years later, his family fled the country, and he, his father, and some of his siblings stayed in a makeshift refugee camp in Hong Kong for a year. Quan’s entire family was able to reunite in 1979 when they moved to Los Angeles under the Vietnamese refugee resettlement program.

His historic turn as the second Asian person* to win the best supporting actor Oscar comes just a month after the Biden administration unveiled a sweeping and strident new immigration policy that could prevent other stories like Quan’s from happening.

Joe Biden unveiled the new rules in February. The convoluted policy prevents adults or families from receiving asylum in the U.S. if they traveled through another country en route and did not apply for (or were denied) asylum there. The new process to apply for asylum requires multiple steps that are neither obvious nor simple, as well as the use of a phone app that is poorly designed and glitchy.

Democrats slammed Biden and the policy, with many branding it no better than the measures seen under Donald Trump. Since the new rules were announced, the Biden administration has also been reportedly considering other draconian immigration measures, including reviving the Trump-era family detention policy.

Biden’s asylum policy is not an exact comparison to Quan’s situation, but it will still cut off people who are fleeing dangerous situations from reaching a stable environment. The policy also addresses the immediate concerns of current high immigration levels, instead of trying to address the broader issues creating the need to seek asylum in the first place.

It’s worth noting that in Quan’s case, the instability in Vietnam was because of the Vietnam War, which dragged on as long as it did partly because of U.S. involvement.

It’s also worth noting that Quan’s win has been touted as an underdog victory and a movie-worthy comeback—that came as a result of Hollywood shutting him out. After achieving success as a child actor, Quan couldn’t get a single mainstream Hollywood role. He left the U.S. entertainment industry for almost three decades before getting cast in Everything Everywhere All at Once.

And then, after filming wrapped but before the movie came out, Quan wasn’t cast in anything else. All of the much-deserved praise and new roles he is getting now came after Everything Everywhere was released.

In this way, Quan’s comeback story and Biden’s immigration policy perfectly demonstrate how good the U.S. can be at shutting out immigrants until they are deemed worthy.

* This article originally misstated the historical significance of Quan’s Oscar win.

Trump’s Rollback of Dodd-Frank Regulations Directly Led to the Silicon Valley Bank Failure

This is what happens when you deregulate checks on financial institutions.

Donald Trump signs a piece of paper at his desk in the Oval Office
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Make no mistake: Just like train derailments, climate disaster, and most crises in society, barefaced deregulation was the antecedent to the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.

On Friday, the major lender for tech startups was shut down by regulators. The commercial bank, among the 20 largest in the country, was caught in a free-fall bank run. Some of it seemed set off after a letter from SVB’s CEO Greg Becker, describing to shareholders a $1.8 billion loss on the sale of U.S. treasuries and mortgage-backed securities; high interest rates backgrounded the letter. Peter Thiel, a massive backer of the likes of J.D. Vance and Blake Masters, had his venture capital firms direct all their portfolio companies to withdraw their funds from the bank.

And then the floodgates burst open.

When all was said and done, $42 billion was withdrawn from SVB on Thursday. California’s Department of Financial Protection and Innovation seized the bank the following day, finding it insolvent and “incapable of paying its obligations as they come due.”

While Biden now attempts to relieve strain on depositors, while not placing burden on the rest of the public (i.e., not gratuitously bailing out the rich at the expense of everyone else), it’s important to understand how we got to this crisis in the first place.

In May 2018, Donald Trump signed into law a bill rolling back Obama-era Dodd-Frank regulations enacted to take on “too big to fail” financial institutions in the aftermath of the Great Recession. The bill was pushed through the Republican-controlled Congress—with the help of 17 Democrats in the Senate and 33 Democrats in the House.

The rollback raised the asset threshold for banks subject to enhanced scrutiny, like stronger regulations and stress tests, from $50 billion to $250 billion. As The Lever reported, SVB CEO Greg Becker had been lobbying for this change for years. SVB had just passed $50 billion in assets at the time Trump changed the regulations.

By December 2022, SVB had $209 billion in assets—below the $250 threshold but evidently enough to have certainly necessitated some form of oversight and testing to see if it could survive the type of run that just occurred.

What’s telling is how weak the conservative response has been. Venture capitalist libertarian tycoons clumsily beg for bailout funds despite their supposed disdain for government expenditure. Ron DeSantis, who voted to roll back Dodd-Frank in 2018, is now among the Republican chorus blaming the bank collapse on diversity and wokeness. In each increasingly frequent social crisis, the culprit is almost always deregulatory conservatism; not only are more and more people coming to understand Republican politics as socially untenable—it is being revealed as practically unjustifiable too.