My 9-year-old now tells me Santa Clause is fictional.
So, I’m sending my letter to someone real, or…well, someone who exists, anyway:
Dear Gov. Scott (and please share with GOP colleagues),
It’s that time of year.
No, not time to instruct staff to delete leftover sensitive emails or texts from the past year.
No, not time to claim credit for an economic recovery that most of us don’t see in our incomes, debt loads, savings accounts or progress up the economic ladder.
And no, it’s not time to gift us with job growth statistics either, not when we’re growing into a shrunken, underpaid, underemployed shadow of our formerly formidable middle-class selves.
No, it’s time for you and your Republican Party of Florida associates in the legislature to dig down deep and connect with your capacity for personal compassion, and acts of good conscience.
Why not take a little time this holiday season to consider what the greatest gifts would be for you to bestow on millions of middle-class working families and retirees?
How about expanding health care insurance coverage? It’s a life and death issue for hundreds of thousands of people the Legislature has refused to insure in order to prove how much it disapproves of Obamacare. And, it’s a dollars-and-cents issue for millions of others forced to cover emergency room costs for the uninsured.
Note that coming up with some cheap, poorly made imitation of full health insurance coverage would only mark you as stingy and deceptive, and ensure a “gift” return will be needed sooner or later.
Mind you, the same warning goes for the entire gifting process. No putting rouge and lipstick on public policy piglets and re-gifting them. And no pretending what we all know are shiny baubles and stocking-stuffers are big gifts.
For instance, please don’t repeat the mistake of giving Floridians a $25-per-person fee reduction like the auto tag/title savings we got this year, wrapped up and presented like major “middle-class tax relief.”
The relief we need is for you to get giant multinational corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. Try backing off the billions in subsidies, “incentives” and assorted other tax breaks. Draw a line in the Florida sand and stop letting billions more in corporate profits be hidden overseas. Relying less on middle-class sales taxes and more on forcing big businesses to pay their fair share would generate billions in new state revenue, perennial budget surpluses and authentic middle-class relief.
Speaking of generating, it’s time to remove all roadblocks to generating an increasing percentage of Florida’s electric power from solar and other clean, renewable sources. Why not shock the world by giving our children and grandchildren the gift of energy and environmental protection policies crafted only in the long-term public interest, for the “greater good”?
Consider also, the powerful positive impact of raising the minimum wage and requiring a minimum number of paid sick-leave days for every working person in Florida. You’d stem the growth of poverty and related public assistance costs covered by middle-class taxpayers, and promote consumerism instead of dependency. Talk about gifts that keep on giving.
While you’re at it, imagine what a gift it would be for all Florida children, parents, grandparents and teachers to know you’d stop encouraging religious and for-profit corporate interests to pull students and funding from our public schools.
I could go on.
Instead, I’ll simply wish that you’re visited by three ghosts this Christmas Eve. And pray you wake up as the purely public servant you were elected to be.
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.