On July 14, just three days after Washington, D.C.’s City Council passed emergency legislation to address a worrisome 33% spike in major crimes in the nation’s capital, The Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin vented her frustration in a scathing attack on Florida.
Calling our state the place where “empathy, decency and kindness go to die,” she warned that a supposed “MAGA war on diversity and tolerance might be impacting the state in other ways.”
Specifically, she singled out Florida’s recent population figures, which she incredibly claimed showed more people moving out of our state than moving in.
In a landmark case of bad journalism, Rubin appears to have reached that conclusion by reversing the actual data to match her biased viewpoint. Over the weekend, The Post revised her piece and issued a correction notice, but not until after Rubin’s misinformation reached millions of readers, received thousands of comments, and was reported as Gospel truth by multiple other news outlets.
Rubin has yet to issue any apology or explanation, either in The Post or on her Twitter account, where her article was flagged for inaccuracy and supplemented with multiple links to more reliable sources containing the correct data. Among them is the U.S. Census Bureau, which indisputably shows Florida enjoying the greatest net population increase of any U.S. state from July 2021 to July 2022. Even before new multitudes arrived in those 12 months — sometimes at a rate of a thousand people per day and usually with a blue state horror story to tell — the 2020 Census had already recorded a significant population increase to win Florida a new Congressional seat.
Contrary to Rubin’s misleading claims, the mass migration is not confined to older retirees but includes every age demographic except Generation Z, 18-to-24-year-olds whose slight net out-migration of about 8,000 individuals is easily explained by nationwide college attendance, which directly overlaps with their age group.
Even so, the same study Rubin cites shows net increases in Zoomers migrating to some Florida cities, where opportunity, safety, and prosperity successfully compete with whatever blue states now offer, emergency crime bills notwithstanding.
Direct migration from New York, the largest supplier of new Florida residents, increased by 4.6% in 2022 over 2021, even as the COVID-19 pandemic receded. As New York City Mayor Eric Adams has lamented, a disproportionately large number of new Floridians are fed up former New Yorkers whose energy, spending and taxes no longer support his fading metropolis. If we Floridians lack “empathy, decency, and kindness,” it’s definitely not keeping people away.
Rubin’s article also cautioned about the possible effect of conservative policies on our state’s business environment. Her paltry evidence is a recent report that six conventions canceled reservations in Democrat-controlled Broward County due to Florida’s purportedly “divisive political climate.”
For a more accurate picture, Rubin may wish to consult the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, which shows Florida’s GDP growing at 3.5% from the last quarter of 2022 through the first quarter of 2023, nearly twice the national average and about three times that of New York, California and the District of Columbia. The economies of Florida and just five other mostly red states — Texas, Tennessee, Georgia and the Carolinas — now exceed the value of all New England and mid-Atlantic states combined.
The IRS backs up this data, reporting the movement of $100 billion in adjusted gross income to the right-leaning Sunbelt, opposite a $60 billion loss in AGI for the almost uniformly blue Northeast. Florida alone now enjoys a budget surplus of $21.8 billion, enough to pay off state debt, reduce taxes and fees, maintain the nation’s most generous college savings plan and, as of July 1, provide about $8,600 in school vouchers to every child residing in our state, regardless of parental income.
Florida’s Chamber of Commerce estimates that the state has added some 487,000 jobs over pre-pandemic levels and will add another 250,000 in 2023.
Tourism vaulted 6.7% in the first three months of this year, translating into 37.9 million visitors — the largest quarterly number Florida has ever received.
Suppose there is a “MAGA war on diversity and tolerance” in our state. In that case, it sure isn’t stopping it from attracting unprecedented amounts of revenue from people all over the world or from investing it in our increasingly diverse population.
Ironically, the major complaint of the small number of people who choose to leave Florida is that overcrowding, high demand for real estate and localized inflation — symptoms of our state’s runaway prosperity — have made it more expensive and difficult to navigate.
Miami has displaced New York and San Francisco as the nation’s priciest real estate market. Our once under-enrolled private schools now rival Manhattan’s for exclusivity.
Our public institutions are now free from the illiberal scourge of DEI.
Even our worsening traffic jams are full of cars that used to have New York and California license plates, and often still do as more refugees from those failing states arrive to find better lives.
Quite simply, far more people want to be here than not, and the basic laws of economics reflect that desire. If this displeases Rubin, no one is forcing her to visit. However, many of her media colleagues have been spotted enjoying our sunshine even while criticizing our superior way of life.
She might, however, take responsibility for spreading what even her own paper regards as misinformation and stop writing fake news.
Paul du Quenoy is president of The Palm Beach Freedom Institute.