A LATTE LIBERATION

Governor Rick Scott should be ashamed. Agree or disagree with Cara Jennings, the woman who called out the governor at a Gainesville Starbucks last week for signing legislation defunding Planned Parenthood and refusing to expand Medicaid, memorably referring to him as an “asshole,” there is no good excuse for the person charged with governing 19.8 million people to play any part in an attack ad targeting a private citizen, former public official or not. Everything about the governor’s response to the viral video of Jennings serving his just deserts, in which a smugly superior announcer can barely contain his mirth as he refers to Jennings as a “terribly rude woman,” a “latte liberal” who spends her time “sitting around coffee shops, demanding public assistance, surfing the Internet, and cursing at customers,” is a cringe-inducing atrocity. And anyone who told Governor Scott anything different should be fired.

We don’t live in Gainesville — praise Tebow — but, like our southwesterly neighbors, we are governed by Rick Scott, a man who, it must be said, bears an eerie resemblance to “Bat Boy” all grown up and decked out in ten-thousand-dollar Brooks Brothers. 

As the governor is so giddy about his record of creating jobs, let’s examine the claim, as stated in the attack ad that “almost everybody” has a “great job” in Gainesville.

Bloomberg reported just last year that Gainesville has the fifth-highest income inequality in the nation. That’s a slight improvement on 24/7 Wall St.’s July 2015 findings that ranked the city as having the fourth-highest income inequality. According to the latter, the top 20 percent of earners in Gainesville control 54 percent of the annual income, the bottom 20 percent just 1.9 percent, “the smallest share by the bottom fifth of earners among metros reviewed.” Further, the study said, “Nearly 15 percent of the region’s households earn less than $10,000 per year, well above the national share of households in extreme poverty.” Cross-referencing that statistic with U.S. Census Bureau records, it seems pretty unlikely that those who live in the 7,113 households (out of 47,420, per 2014 data) earning less than $10,000 per year would agree that “almost everybody” has a “great job” in Gainesville. But what do facts or logic matter when you’re writing the script for a 58-second takedown of a woman who yelled at you in a Starbucks, am I right? High fives all around.

For argument’s sake, let’s assume that Rick Scott did create those 9,300 jobs in Gainesville. After all, the attack ad basically says he did, so it must be true, right?

Wrong.

According to the company’s website, when Mobiquity announced plans to hire 260 workers in Gainesville in 2013, then-mayor-elect Ed Braddy said, “The addition of Mobiquity to the Gainesville area is testimony to the outstanding effort of the Council for Economic Outreach…” Hmm… No biggie, we’ll just give some credit to the Council for Economic Outreach, too. The Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce reports, “Congressman Ted S. Yoho has been a strong supporter of economic growth and jobs, supporting measures in 2014 and 2015 that would create tens of thousands of jobs nationally, and more than 150 jobs in Alachua County.” So mayhaps Congressman Yoho deserves partial credit as well? Wait a sec, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson wants in on this action. In his opening remarks to the senate in 2011, he said “ … comprehensive deficit reduction should include well-designed fundamental tax reform that … promotes job creation.” Clearly Senator Nelson has earned a little recognition for fostering job creation.

But, wait, there’s more! In the State of the Union Address in January, President Obama said, “We’re in the middle of the longest streak of private-sector job creation in history.” The president went on to say that, thanks to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, funding for renewable energy, health care reform, efforts to improve education, etc., his track record of creating millions of jobs — more than 14 million since 2009 — will continue into the future. So who should we thank for creating all those jobs? The president, vice president, cabinet, congress, senate, governor, state legislature, every mayor, city council, foreign country, working person, voter and consumer?

The truth of the matter is that no single person or politician deserves credit for creating jobs. Not the president, not the governor, nor the mayor, nor any member of city council. Touting a solid record of creating jobs is essentially catnip for the electorate; it’s safe, non-controversial, something voters like to hear. That’s why “job creation” is Rick Scott’s answer to basically every question asked of him. But no matter how many times he pats himself on the back for creating jobs, nor how low he stoops to do it, it doesn’t make it true, nor does it make it right.

In love and logic,
Another Latte Liberal
Claire Goforth

About EU Jacksonville

october, 2021

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