#ItsNotWorking: Rick Scott’s BIG Jobs Problem

Like most (wonky) people this past week or so, I was salivating over new economic data for the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the subsequent analysis of those numbers by economics blogosphere. In between such readings, I scurried over to the twitter machine and found Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) Chairman Lenny Curry, Rick Scott’s twitter account, and other RPOF operatives again proclaiming “Its Working!” as the new figures indicated that Florida’s unemployment rate of 6.2% is below the national average.  Naturally, every jobs report and economic indicator is a mixed bag of results- some good some bad. Routinely  however, the Governor and his staff take take credit for Florida’s “recovery” and when bad data arises, they point the finger elsewhere- particularly at President Obama and his administration (naturally.)  I think I’m beginning to get it. If its a good story about the state of Florida’s economy, Lenny Curry and his band of spin doctors are quick to tell us its due to Rick Scott’s pro-growth and free-market policies. If its a bad story about the state of Florida’s economy, it’s due to Obama’s job killing, socialist economic policies. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Especially, when you’re lying and misleading Floridians about such a critical issue as unemployment and the health of our economy.

Over the course of the week, I came across some insightful analysis on our economy here in Florida and nationwide. The one I’ll be focusing on in this edition of #ItsNotWorking, is the state of long-term unemployment (twenty seven weeks or more)  in Florida and how it fits into the national trend.  The Economic Policy Institute put together a really neat interactive US map that examines the data pertain to the plight on the unemployed.  Florida at forty-six percent has the third highest percentage of unemployed people that have been out of work for twenty seven weeks or more second only to Washington DC, and… Chris Chris Christie’s New Jersey. To top it all off, Congress just rejected the idea of extending Unemployment Benefits to those folks as well. Let that all sink in for a moment.

Throughout this past week, my TFS colleagues and I have been dissecting the Governor’s economic “accomplishments” in the wake of his 2014 reelection slogan “It’s Working!” Such a slogan implies that we, thanks to Governor Scott’s economic policies, have resurrected from the depths of of national recession which Florida took the hardest of hits. The truth is, all of the successes that Rick Scott and the RPOF are touting are over over-hyped and exaggerated in order to gloss over many of the systemic problems that the direct result of the Republican strangle hold on the state legislature and governors mansion here in Florida and big business/finance’s strangle hold on Congress and the legislative process.

scottmcjobsThanks to the “Do Nothing Congress” in Washington, the long term unemployment benefits that many of these people survive on, have been cut dramatically. After the end of ninety-nine weeks of benefits, the unemploymed are granted up to an additional 28 weeks of federal emergency unemployment insurance. Congress decided to cut this program and as a result more than 1.5 million jobless workers have already stopped receiving aid and more than 2 million more will exhaust their benefits by the end of this year.

Rick Scott and the Republican Party do not have any sort of plan to curb long term unemployment. However, there are many ideas floating around that can begin to turn around this growing problem. One of them, was the High  Speed Rail project that would create jobs in a variety of sectors and would have reverberated throughout our economy. As you may remember, Governor Scott rejected federal money for this project that would have been the much needed spark for Florida’s economic revival. Over the next month or so, I will outlining a plan to create a WPA styled program for the unemployed at the state level, so we can put Floridians back to work. Look for that piece in the next week or so.

One comment

  1. Patti Lynn · ·

    Please examine the data regarding the unemployment website that has failed so miserably. That probably will account for a point or 2 of the drop in the unemployment rate: folks are unable to report that they’re unemployed OR seek benefits. My neighbor was having a terrible time, and I thought that it was possibly a language problem. It wasn’t. When I tried for her, the same thing:: dropped calls; inability to enter data on-line; and no ability to record a submission if you managed to enter the data.

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