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Daniel Tilson: Election 2014 Florida: Fallacies, facts and fairness

First in a series.

Fallacies are falling like raindrops in storm season, facts are being discarded like yesterday’s trash and fairness is a commodity fewer and fewer voters seem to value very much anymore.

“Game On!” It’s time for Florida’s 2014 midterm elections!!

Don’t all stand and cheer at once.

Stand and cheer is what the audience did at last weekend’s Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) annual state committee meeting when Gov. Rick Scott assured them, “We are going to win big in the state.”

Time will tell if that was a fallacy.

What we know for now is that the governor and other Republican candidates statewide are convinced they can run and “win big” by taking credit for Florida’s “recovery” from the Great Recession.

Scott told the crowd, “We’ve had this big turnaround in our economy.”

This is the governor who before entering politics pleaded the fifth 75 times during an FBI deposition to avoid prosecution in a record-breaking fraud case against the healthcare company he ran for years.

That’s worth noting because it demonstrates this is a man who will go to great lengths to understand exactly what he must not say in order to avoid incriminating himself.

Almost every Republican candidate in Florida this year will follow Scott’s lead in treating actual factual information regarding the ugly truth about Florida’s economy like it was Democratic propaganda.

As RPOF Chairman Lenny Curry put it in his speech, “The Democratic establishment will go out of its way to poke holes in our triumph. Don’t buy any of their nonsense.”

Speaking of nonsense, it’s clear that Scott, Curry and the rest of the RPOF Election 2014 team will give voters factual information and context only on a “need to know” basis in the months ahead.

Any voter who fact-checks what little information they do get from these mythmakers will quickly realize the game in play is a con game, meant to win working poor and middle class white votes.

From Scott right down to your local GOP candidates for state senator and representative, you’ll hear rosy reports about job growth, economic recovery, lower taxes, less regulations and smaller government.

Without hearing a word about how your tax dollars have been shifted from social safety net services over to corporate welfare, you’ll hear buzzwords meant to justify it: Freedom…personal responsibility… accountability.

GOP office-seekers will parrot what Scott said in his speech, about how Florida has gone “from losing 832,000 jobs to generating 446,000 jobs. We’ve got lower taxes, we’ve cut 2,800 regulations…we’ve streamlined the permitting process.”

So in the spirit of freedom of information, here are a few facts:

  • Half the reduction in unemployment is from people out of work so long they’re not considered part of the labor force.
  • As reported in the Tampa Bay Times, Florida’s employment rate has gone down more than 6 percent and tax revenues have dropped more than 20 percent from pre-recession levels.
  • Almost 60 percent of the jobs generated in this ‘recovery’ are minimum/low wage ones that force workers onto public assistance at middle-class taxpayers’ expense.
  • Florida ranks second from worst nationally for residents living in poverty, and for being uninsured.
  • Florida is number one in foreclosures and eighth in homelessness.
  • Florida income inequality is fifth worst nationally, and worsening.

And when it comes to RPOF candidates seeking credit for boosting the business climate by having “cut 2,800 regulations” and “streamlined the permitting process”…

Let’s save that story for later.

For now, consider what RPOF Chair Curry may have really meant last weekend when he told party faithful, “We’ve got one hell of a story to tell!”

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