Daniel Tilson: Middle class can’t afford to stick with Florida’s Republican economy

The first, best reason to vote for Charlie Crist for governor, and almost every other Democrat running in Florida’s 2014 elections, is that Gov. Rick Scott and almost every Republican candidate is committed to continuing an ugly era of unprecedented economic unfairness in the state.

If you think that’s liberal rhetoric or partisan political spin…no offense, but you’re wrong.

Take obstinate Republican opposition to raising the minimum wage. Who could be against turning working poor people with two or three jobs but still in need of public assistance, into self-sufficient consumers and engines of economic recovery all across Florida?

Well, pretty much every Republican running for office in 2014, that’s who.

Their opposition centers on the specious claim that a significant increase — like the widely recommended hike from $7.93 to $10.10 an hour — would “force” Florida employers to fire hundreds of thousands of workers.

Experts and experience elsewhere around the country have proven that to be purely politically motivated poppycock.

At best, it’s awful economic analysis coming from folks claiming to know a little something about this stuff.

At worst, it’s premeditated fear mongering meant to mask the Republican Party of Florida’s (RPOF) business-first, profits-over-people economy.

My past columns are full of links to indisputable, factual evidence of RPOF-engineered economic unfairness that cuts across all ideological and partisan political lines. The truth is out there and it’s not hard to find — unless you’re unconsciously avoiding it.

If you are, it’s understandable. RPOF officials and candidates are disciplined about using strategic stunts and slogans to help people avoid the troubling truth about Florida’s economy.

Take Scott’s 2014 budget proposal, named the “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget.

The political plan was for Scott and other 2014 GOP candidates to be middle class champions, thanks to what they call a “$500 million tax cut.”

Truth is, it wasn’t a tax cut, just a reduction in auto tag and title fees amounting to an annual savings of about $25 per person.

If you don’t own a car, sorry, no “tax cut.”

Part marketing con game, part self-congratulatory tossing of economic table scraps at the middle class, the plan is as insulting as it is deceitful.

While lying to our faces about achieving “middle-class relief,” Scott and almost every other incumbent Republican have betrayed us, taking millions from wildly profitable corporations in exchange for lowering their costs and raising their profit margins.

Why should corporations such as Disney, Darden Restaurants and Carnival Cruise Lines pay living wages or offer health-care benefits and paid sick-leave days, when we can be stuck with those costs instead?

Think that has something to do with our salaries and incomes staying mostly flat year after year, while corporate profits keep breaking records?

At any time in recent years, Republican state legislators could have flipped the script and eased our burdens by raising the minimum wage and taking no-strings-attached federal funds to expand health care access.

They refused.

What they did instead was they passed a law last year to make sure our county and city governments couldn’t come to our aid by passing local ordinances restoring some measure of fairness and balance to our unfairly rigged economy.

Through it all, the one honest pledge Scott & Co. made and kept was to run Florida like a business — a business trying to conceal its secretive manipulation of government, and multibillion-dollar defrauding of taxpayers.

Well, we’ve learned some history. No need to be doomed to repeat it.

Want to begin rebuilding a fair and balanced economy?

Vote for every Democrat on the ballot.

Daniel Tilson has a Boca Raton-based communications firm called Full Cup Media, specializing in online video and written content for non-profits, political candidates and organizations, and small businesses. Column courtesy of Context Florida.

Daniel Tilson


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