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Opinion
Longboat Key Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011 9 years ago

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Finally, an elected leader who is determined to end government in the margins and government for whiners.

And, boy, are the whiners and protected classes howling. They can’t stand that Florida Gov. Rick Scott is not following the old script and is determined to prove what many, many of us believe:

• That you can reduce the size of government and that the results will be more positive than the status quo;

• That government should operate no differently than common families — i.e., live within existing means and don’t borrow beyond what you can repay;

• That government can and should be run like a business, i.e. be accountable, expect and show results, operate efficiently, compete.

But all that is so antithetical to the historical status quo that those who have been living off of state government and who believe in government altruism cannot imagine doing things outside the margins.

We know it’s early with Gov. Scott. But from what we know about him, he follows through on his word. His record shows it. And with his first budget proposal this week, he is challenging lawmakers to embrace what he promised voters — and that is extraordinary and bold initiatives.

Scott is determined to shrink Florida’s government back to its 2004 levels — cutting state spending from $70 billion in the current fiscal year to $59 billion by the end of his first term.

It can be done, and it can be done without catastrophe. Just ask the business owners who have survived the recession. They did what was necessary to preserve their businesses.

Here’s what it will require for Scott to succeed: 1) His unwavering energy (no doubt about that); 2) the courage, conviction and will of legislators to stand up to those whose interests are to preserve the status quo; and 3) voters who also have the conviction to stand behind Scott and their lawmakers for making tough choices.

The fiscal condition of our governments at every level are threatening to bring us down to the levels of Greece, Ireland, and the other failing socialistic Euro nations. Without dramatically scaling back in the size of government spending, the U.S. debt burden will lower the standard of living for future generations, as will all of the government pension obligations that are hanging over taxpayers at the local and state levels.

Americans know they must change course. And Rick Scott — who, to his credit, doesn’t give a whit what the media pundits say about him — is committed to making this change and making the hard choices from which others have cowered.

What a difference. What a difference between Rick Scott and Barack Obama.

On the same day Gov. Scott was introducing his bold, detailed, strategic plan to create 700,000 jobs by improving Florida’s business climate and reducing the size of state government, Barack Obama stood before members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and told business executives they had a “responsibility to America” to spend their company’s cash to hire out-of-work Americans.

The man has no clue. He has no clue about human action, how business works or how economies grow. Contrast that with Scott. He understands that economies and jobs will grow when people have incentives and conditions to invest, to keep their money. And those incentives and conditions are simple: laissez-faire. Leave people alone. Let them keep what they earn. Give them the right conditions, and their wealth-generating creativity will be unleashed.

GOV. SCOTT’S BUDGET WINNERS AND BIGGEST LOSERS, BY AGENCY

The table ranks the state’s agencies in the order of which ones would show the largest percentage increase and decrease in dollar amounts. The middle two columns show how jobs would be gained or lost and the percentage of the current total number of jobs that would be gained or lost.

To view the table in PDF format, click here.

+ RIP: Rainer Josenhanss
Longboat Key was never as interesting as it was when Rainer Josenhanss lived on the Key. He and his wife, Harriet, sold their home at 6669 Gulf of Mexico Drive in 2002 and moved to The Oaks in Osprey.
We missed him ever since then.

Josenhanss died Monday, less than a month after he and his wife moved into Plymouth Harbor. We spoke to him on the telephone last Thursday, promising to get together soon for a lunch.

Longtime Longboaters will remember Josenhanss for distinguishing himself in the 1990s as one of Longboat Key’s most vocal Town Hall activists and watchdogs. Indeed, no one at the time was more of a Doberman watching out for taxpayers’ interests than Josenhanss.

He loved to spar with town commissioners at their meetings, always challenging them intellectually and lobbing “zingers” that made the commissioners uncomfortable and often annoyed.

Many commissioners, we’re sure, cringed when they saw Josenhanss approach the citizens’ podium in the Town Hall Commission Chambers. They knew he wouldn’t go back to his seat without a wisecrack slap — a slap that, despite its delivery, usually made sense. Josenhanss was a smart man, and he always offered logical common-sense retorts to some of the loose ideas that came from the commissioners.

Like many accomplished Longboaters, Josenhanss didn’t talk much about his professional business accomplishments. But on occasion, he could regale you with stories of his early days as the personal assistant for “Hank the Deuce,” Henry Ford II.

Josenhanss was an inspiration. He challenged you to strive higher, do better. He encouraged you with handwritten notes. He was another of many on this wonderful Key who showed that life is best when you stay involved, make a difference.


 

 

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