In delivering his 2012 Florida State Of The State address, Governor Rick Scott kept pitching for less taxes and regulations. He said the best thing government can do to help millions of still struggling Floridians is to “get out of the way“.
The governor implied that getting our already wounded and weakened state government still further “out of the way” would help fulfill the aspirations and address the frustrations of average middle class Floridians and small business owners.
What Governor Scott did not imply, much less come out and say, was that years of getting government “out of the way” – with tax cuts, tax breaks and regulatory rollbacks – has in fact benefited only the biggest businesses and richest folks in Florida, creating epic income gaps between rich and poor citizens, between giant corporations and struggling local entrepreneurs.
The governor stayed true to the current-day Republican Party of Florida script, a storyline about how our government is the worst problem plaguing middle class citizens and small businesses; rather than the super-rich individual/business elites that now appear to control so many of our elected officials and shape our tax code.
Instead of using the power of government to create Tax Fairness that forces hugely profitable corporations and profoundly wealthy people to forego loopholes and shelters and pay their fair share, the politicians running the show in Florida – from Rick Scott right on down through the rest of the state GOP pecking order – just keep trying to get government “out of the way“.
Translation: Get our government out of their way, so they can keep weakening it, and almost all of us, while further empowering and enriching the corporations and individuals who “donate” so many millions to their campaigns and political action committees, who hand over lobbying and consulting jobs to them when they leave elected office.
Governor Scott went so far as to say this in his 2012 State of The State speech:
“WHEN IT COMES TO JOBS, IT’S IMPORTANT TO REMIND OURSELVES THAT PRIVATE BUSINESSES CREATE PRODUCTIVE AND ENDURING JOBS, NOT GOVERNMENT.”
So, the people who save our lives from criminals and fires, the people who drive our kids to and from school each day, the people who make our traffic lights work and supply us with clean water from our faucets, the people who clean our sewers and pick up our garbage – all these hundreds of thousands of hard-working people that make life work for the rest of us…they don’t work in “productive and enduring jobs”?
It is that sickening mentality, that awful anti-government, anti-middle class mindset, that is at the very root of most of our problems in Florida, and all across the nation.
The good news is, there’s a fledgling grassroots organization now on the scene that’s dedicated to changing all that.
The Florida Public Employees Partnership – Florida PEP – was created by a tough Florida cop who after decades of serving his state and fellow citizens, realized there was a dark, dangerous cloud settling in over the Sunshine State; an alliance between Big Money and Big Politics that when held up to scrutiny seemed dedicated to nothing less than turning the general public against the public sector it so depends on – making it easier to sell the public on “privatization” of public services, allowing steadily increasing amounts of public funding – taxpayer dollars – to be diverted to private special interests that go largely unregulated, and untaxed.
Florida PEP is a coalition of police officers, firefighters, nurses, teachers, janitors, bus drivers, office workers and more, public employees uniting with private sector workers, middle class Floridians reaching across partisan political lines, across union and non-union lines, working together to overcome all the different dividing lines used to prevent working people from working together in common cause – the retaking and remaking of our government.
Whose state is this, anyway?
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