Florida: The Left’s favorite punching bag becomes America’s hottest address

August 1, 2023

By Tim Worstall

If Florida is so terrible, why are so many people moving there? This is one of those grand questions that must be asked – after all, we keep being told that Gov. Ron DeSantis is so far right, anti-trans, just, you know, Republican, that he’s turning the Sunshine State into a hellhole. However, let’s look at what people actually do: they’re moving to Florida.

From Census data: “Florida led all states with more than 626K new residents moving in during 2020.”

Of course, this really annoys some people. Here’s the Lincoln Project (a very D organization): “Miami-Dade county has just recorded its first population drop since at least 1970. The state now has the highest inflation in the country with surging insurance rates and living costs.”   They’re quoting The Wall Street Journal, which actually says: “The population loss in the state’s largest county stands in contrast to the rest of Florida, which added more people between 2021 and 2022 than any other state.” We’re pretty sure the Governor deals with the state, not just one city.

The WSJ report is based on a Brookings analysis of that Census data. Large urban areas saw falls in population because of lockdowns. Why not work from home in the countryside?

So, presidential hopeful DeSantis is responsible for all of this? Well, he’s responsible for the state and it’s doing just great in the competition for attracting residents. They’re voting for Florida with their feet.

Which does make all the criticism of Florida more than a little strange. Margaret Sullivan (ex-NYT) tells us, “his tireless campaign against supposed wokeness” and “proudly signed bills that ban gender-affirming care for minors” and “where woke goes to die” must therefore be reasons people like the new Florida.

Associated Press has what we think is our favorite complaint: “It empowers parents who agree with DeSantis’ philosophy and ideology on education. “ Umm, yes? People vote for the governor, the governor does the democracy thing, and empowers parents to have more control over their children’s education. Again, this is a complaint?

Time tells us that: “Even a cursory dip into the statistics of social and economic well-being reveals that Florida falls short in almost any measure that matters to the lives of its citizens.” But this must be wrong. Citizens are lining up to live under such policies. What Time means is that Florida under DeSantis isn’t producing what Time thinks a good government should look like. But this is why we have elections, to elect someone to decide and enact these things.

The Tampa Bay Times – which is at least local journalists – says one of the horrors is: “The state has gone from enabling a narrow slice of the K-12 population to be eligible for school vouchers to one in which every student is eligible at a potential cost of billions of dollars.” Of course, the potential cost of school vouchers is zero. All the children are going to get educated on the state taxation dollar. The only question is in which schools – the overall cost doesn’t change in the slightest.

We do have to come back to this: watch what people actually do. That’s what tells you what they really want. So, Americans are lining up at the border to be able to live in Florida, there’s an influx moving from elsewhere to there.

So, what is it that Florida is doing right to attract them? Well, we’re not about to argue that the Governor is responsible for everything that happens in a state. But we would argue that these things the woke and progressive insist are what’s wrong with Florida could well be what is attracting people to the place. After all, the majority of voters in Florida did elect DeSantis . Therefore, there are an awful lot of people not sold on those woke and progressive ideas. That’s how democracy works, right?  Voters, not journalists, get to decide?


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