Richard Burr continues to be dogged by complaints about his irresponsible rhetoric on bank deposits, and his allies, such as Richard Danos, chairman of the Henderson County Republican Party, continue to dissemble about what he said:
The Times-News reported that as part of an economic talk to the County Chamber of Commerce, Burr told of urging his wife to withdraw some cash from their ATM during the banking crisis — a story he has repeated dozens of times. Many Americans took out some extra cash as a common sense precaution during that period.
Look. People withdraw cash from ATMs all the time. That would be a ridiculous anecdote to tell. Here’s what he actually said:
“On Friday night, I called my wife and I said, ‘Brooke, I am not coming home this weekend. I will call you on Monday. Tonight, I want you to go to the ATM machine, and I want you to draw out everything it will let you take,” Burr said, according to the Hendersonville Times-News. “And I want you to tomorrow, and I want you to go Sunday.’ I was convinced on Friday night that if you put a plastic card in an ATM machine the last thing you were going to get was cash.”
This is Burr, implying to his audience, that their bank deposits are not safe. In fact, bank deposits are insured by the FDIC. This is supposed to give people confidence that they need to have these kind of fears, and thus prevent bank runs. And with few bank runs, there’s little need for the FDIC to actually step in. When Burr implies that the deposits are not safe, he’s encouraging runs on banks. That won’t lead to anyone losing their deposits—whether or not Burr understands it, the deposits are insured—but it will lead to losses for taxpayers who need to pay out insurance claims, and it will lead to bank failures and job losses.
This isn’t a huge deal, in the scheme of things, but it was an irresponsible thing to say. Burr and his friends should just take responsibility and move on.