The Rise of the Republican Party of Florida & the Decline of the Middle-Class

Since the year 2000 the Republican Party has exercised dominant control of Florida’s government. A recent study by Florida International University’s Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy (RISEP) finds that during this time the standard of living declined for Florida’s middle-class.

The good news is that the size of Florida’s economy increased by more than $200 billion between 2000 and 2012.

The bad news is that Florida’s employment rate and standard of living declined over this same time. Although worker productivity increased, wages fell. While Floridians’ income was going down, consumer prices went up by more than 30 percent. Not surprisingly, inequality expanded and the number of Floridians living below the poverty line increased by nearly 50 percent.

According to the study’s authors, “the continuing decline in wages will mean lower consumer spending”  lower economic growth and delay an economic recovery.   The study found that these “declines in standard of living negatively impact future growth” and “continue to erode the middle class.”

The “State of Working Florida 2013” study found that Florida main employers were in low wage industries like retail, food service, waste management and tourism. It noted that while workers were more productive, their employment options and pay declined.

Florida Governor Rick Scott has claimed that the Florida economy is doing better than the rest of the nation, while business publications, like the Florida Trend, have proclaimed, “Florida is back!”

Yet between 2000 and 2012 long-term unemployment increased by more than 300 percent and those working part-time, but looking for full-time work, increased by 139 percent. In addition, the annual unemployment rate more than doubled.

Florida’s economic performance under Republican rule has been bleak in terms of employment, wages and standard of living. Governor Scott’s attempts ignore this larger reality may be good politics, but it does not change the numbers.

2 comments

  1. The Democratic Party of Florida needs to cite this study repeatedly between now and election day. We all know, from personal experience, how markedly our standard of living here in FL has steadily fallen. When we relocated to the Tampa area in 1989, life was very good, homes were affordable, Jeb had not yet started paving over Florida with his developer friends, it was a positive experience! Every year since has been a negative to ordinary folks’ economic experience: under Republican rule in Tallahassee, most all of the consumer protections disappeared. Scott himself BRAGGED that he had done away with some 2,300 regulations as soon as he hit the Governor’s Mansion. Oh, life is better than ever for wealthy Florida transplants and GOP corporate cronies, not so for children, the elderly and the poor or those needing the assistance of social programs. The attack on Florida’s natural resources is one of the most pronounced scandals, and FL’s dirty little secrets held by the bought-and-paid-for elected Republicans! The mantra is growth and profits at the expense of Florida’s future livability! The carpetbaggers (:Jeb, Scott and corporations in general) have demonstrated no loyalty to this state, and unfortunately, Rick Scott put out the “For Sale: sign to the worst of them on day one!

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