How DeSantis tarnishes his own economic record
By Rick Newman, Senior Columnist, Wed, May 24, 2023
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ought to have a sunny story to sell as he launches his run for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Florida is the fastest-growing state in the nation, and since DeSantis took over in 2019, it has outperformed the rest of the country in job and income growth, especially during the COVID pandemic.
Yet DeSantis is no benevolent Reaganite, stepping aside to let capitalism work its magic. Instead, he’s one of the most meddlesome governors in America, happily upsetting the status quo as part of his war on liberal culture.
DeSantis won reelection last November by a 19-point margin, creating a wide opening for a presidential run. But controversies since then have slowed his momentum. “The overriding reason for DeSantis’s electoral success was keeping the economy in Florida relatively open during COVID,” said John Mousseau, CEO of investing firm Cumberland Advisors, based in Sarasota. “That really resonated with voters. I think all the other stuff that is out there lately, Disney, college curriculums, immigration, transgender laws, all of this has a net effect of giving voters DeSantis fatigue. If last fall’s gubernatorial election were held now, I think the results would be closer.”
In his recent book, “The Courage to be Free,” DeSantis explains how he wants to “Make America Florida.” That will mean different things to different people. As a sun-belt mecca with no state income tax, Florida has a built-in allure to many businesses and workers. But DeSantis is applying a kind of strong-arm capitalism in which the state issues cultural guidelines it expects businesses to follow as a condition of enjoying Florida’s largesse. As a pitch to Republicans in a bid to win the presidential nomination, it could work. General-election voters, however, may not wish to be Floridafied.
Read the full story here: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/how-desantis-tarnishes-his-own-economic-record-185956069.html
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