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We’ll take liberty

A letter to no-party affiliated voters: You have the power.

The Observer endorses Ron DeSantis for governor and Rick Scott for U.S. Senate.
The Observer endorses Ron DeSantis for governor and Rick Scott for U.S. Senate.
  • Longboat Key
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Dear NPAs,

You are more powerful than you realize. You will determine the outcome of Florida’s elections.

The numbers make it so: 

  • Registered Democrats — 4,839,434, 37.19%
  • Registered Republicans — 4,594,133, 35.30%
  • No party affiliation — 3,493,494, 26.84%

We’ll assume that your choice to be an “NPA” more than likely indicates you are in the middle, a political moderate who rejects strident dogmas of the two parties and is more likely to weigh and assess the candidates’ vision, character, records and positions on the issues than simply vote a straight party ticket.

You could go either way.

As you weigh your choices on the candidates and the ballot questions, here is an appeal for your consideration:

After you slap away and cut through all of the annoying negative campaign commercials, mailers and robocalls, every item on the ballot fundamentally comes down to this one choice:

A vote to protect and expand your freedom or a vote to expand the State. 

A vote for more freedom and less government, or a vote for more government and less freedom.

A vote for the Constitution as written or a vote to override it.

Most of the time, it’s a clear choice between these philosophies. Traditionally, the Republican Party favors more freedom and less of the State. The Democratic Party is unequivocal: Its candidates want the State to expand and use the force of law to take property and redistribute it how they see fit.

Typically, Republican candidates are more likely to embrace a less-regulated economy, while Democratic candidates embrace an activist government that intervenes in the market in ways that favor winners and losers. 

Both are wrong, but the Republicans less so. Our preference on the role of government would be one that serves as a referee in disputes among its citizens and to protect its citizens from others from inflicting physical force. That’s it.

In all likelihood, a large portion of the no-party affiliated voters fall in the middle, believing there is indeed a role for government in regulating and taxing the behavior of individuals and businesses, never to an extreme.

Nevertheless, keep this in mind: There is indisputable data showing that in states with falling tax burdens, per-capita incomes rise demonstrably more quickly than in states with rising tax burdens. Nowhere is this more evident than when you compare the economies of Florida and Texas versus such states as New York and New Jersey.

Florida and Texas each added more than 400,000 jobs in the past year, while New York and New Jersey added 95,000 and 58,000, respectively. That tells you a lot about the effects of the state on prosperity.

So as you evaluate the candidates and the questions on the ballot, ask yourself: Which of the gubernatorial candidates is more likely to affect Florida’s economic growth positively or negatively?

The answers should be obvious. Republican Gov. Rick Scott — whether you like or dislike him personally — consistently followed a clear vision: Create jobs. And do that by creating an economic framework that attracts people and job creators, e.g. keep taxes and regulations low.

Of the two gubernatorial candidates, which is more likely to continue that path? 

Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum is not. Read what he wants to do. His entire platform consists of wanting to expand the size, scope and spending of state government — in everything, everywhere.

If you watch him or hear him, Gillum is the new Obama. He is a gifted speaker whose campaign rhetoric sounds reasonable and compassionate on gun control; increasing corporate income taxes; giving all starting public school teachers $50,000 salaries; converting the state’s power system to alternative fuels; and Medicare for All.

But keep these truisms in mind as Gillum draws you in: When the government gives a benefit to one, it takes freedom and property from another. No state has ever taxed itself to prosperity. What function or business, other than the military, do you know that government operates better than the private sector? And: 

On Gillum’s embracing Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All” proposals, Charles Blahous, a former Social Security and Medicare trustee, told the Wall Street Journal: “Doubling all currently projected federal individual and corporate income tax collections would be insufficient to finance the added federal costs of the plan.” Gillum wants single-payer, government-controlled health care. As economist  Thomas Sowell once remarked: “There is not enough money in the world to pay for every American’s health care.” 

More truisms: When a good or service is free (e.g. health care), it is abused. When you raise the cost on consumers (e.g. higher taxes), they buy less. Or, put another way, higher taxes equal less economic growth.

Opposite Gillum is Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis. He has his flaws. He made his name on Fox News, not spending years in the trenches of Florida. At age 40, he is shorter on private-sector experience than past governors and gubernatorial candidates. And many of Florida’s NPAs may hold it against DeSantis that Donald Trump endorses him.

But he also has his bona fides: Yale grad, Harvard Law graduate; legal adviser to the SEAL commander in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2007; bronze star medalist; elected to Congress in 2012.

What’s more, DeSantis won the GOP primary over Adam Putnam not only because of his TV name recognition, but also because of his willingness to say and show he is more conservative than was Putnam. This may scare the more moderate NPAs. 

But ultimately, the choice between DeSantis and Gillum revolves around whether you believe Florida, under Rick Scott over the past eight years, has been on a more successful track than it was prior to Scott. And under which gubernatorial candidate is Florida more likely to continue its economic growth of the past eight years?

Those same tests apply to all of the other races as well. Which candidates are more likely to embrace liberty over the State?

As you go down the ballot, you can be certain there is no in-between: The Republicans on the ballot will vote for a smaller State than will the Democrats. But not only that, in Republicans Joe Gruters (Senate) and Will Robinson, Ray Pilon and Tommy Gregory (House), voters have four candidates with integrity, character and experience (Pilon); and who are measured and thoughtful in their views — far from the radical crowds.  

For us, this election can be crystallized at all levels as a question of whether you believe the current politico-economic direction — in spite of the unconventional behavior in the White House — is worth retaining. 

Longtime readers know where we always stand: We’ll take individual liberty over the State any day. We hope you see it that way, too. In the end, you will determine Florida’s direction.


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