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Mitch Perry Report for 7.1.15 – The politics of envy and being relatable

Envy is considered one of the seven deadly sins in Christianity. It’s something that would be ideal if we didn’t occasionally suffer from, but it’s all too human for us to do so.

I don’t know if it’s something I read or heard years ago, but when it comes to money (like sex), I always have tried to take the notion that it’s only one’s own that one should be concerned with. Otherwise one could go mad, bemoaning the fact that backup catchers and mediocre left-handed relief pitchers made more these days than what many Americans will make in a lifetime.

So we learned yesterday that Jeb Bush’s wealth is around $30 million yesterday, after he released his tax returns. Hillary Clinton hasn’t announced her net worth, but we know she and Bill have made around $25 million in speeches in recent years. Carly Florina is worth $59 million. Whatever, right? These are successful folks. Who knows, maybe we could make it to that level one day.

But there is the politics of resentment, sometimes based on things like envy.

But according to the New York Times, Right to Rise, Jeb Bush’s Super PAC, is doing some focus group polling that finds Clinton being vulnerable based on her comment about being “dead broke” when she left the White House.

I mention this because the candidate who seems to be evolving into the anti-Jeb Bush on the GOP side, Scott Walker, is at the absolute opposite end of Bush and Clinton when it comes to finances. According to his most recent financial disclosure forms, Walker owes between $10,000 and $100,000 to credit card companies in 2014. 

Does this matter? Some pundits have said that Americans might embrace Walker because they can relate to him, since over half the country has some sort of credit card debt as well.

I’m not sure.

There’s also the fact that Walker doesn’t have a college degree. We’ve been told by some analysts that this piece of information can help Walker as well, since….well, I don’t really get the argument. I get the anti-Ivy League argument, since so much of the establishment in the U.S. historically has come from Yale and Harvard.

Personally? I’d like my president to have a degree. But that’s me.

I’m just wondering if these finances will mean anything at the end of the day when it comes to people selecting their leader. It will never be front and center, but if Walker is going to get anywhere in the GOP primary, we’re going to hear a lot more about how his finances and education make him much more like an “average, everyday” American than elites like Bush and Clinton.

In other news..

Whatever you think of the proposal regarding solar power on the ballot in 2016 here in Florida, there’s no doubt that entrenched interests don’t want Floridians to get that opportunity, as the war of words between the two camps continues.

The H1-B visa program is not supposed to displace American workers with foreign workers with comparable or less skills. But that appears to be happening with some major companies in the country, and Bill Nelson is not happy about it.

You may recall that after House Speaker Steve Crisafulli took his gavel and told the Florida House it was cool to bail out three days before the regular legislative session was scheduled to end in late April, Senate Democrats in the Legislature went to the Supreme Court, calling the move unconstitutional. The Court agreed, but said there wasn’t much they could do about it. Now perennial gadfly Brian Pitts has filed a lawsuit, claiming that what the Legislature did invalidates every law they passed this year.

Mark Sharpe and his colleagues at the Tampa Innovation Alliance have lots of plans to try to revitalize the University area in North Tampa, and that’s why he says he’s not dismayed by the fact that Rick Scott vetoed $2 million that would go to his agency last week.

Written By

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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