For going on 14 years, the Florida Republican Party has fiddled and belittled the middle class. It isn't an act of God that's destroying the American Dream; it's petty, self-serving, greedy acts of Man, justified by a perversion of capitalism that's the equivalent of economic rape. Relentlessly, a political, ideological mind-set has been robbing generations of their "pursuit of happiness."
Of course, the nightmare doesn't have to continue. It is within our control to stop it — if, but only if, enough people face reality. In the meantime, as long as Floridians remain passive, their future is bleak —and getting bleaker. There will be no long-term economic recovery in this state until and unless the middle class recovers its buying-power. That's just a fact of our consumer-driven economy.
Since 1999, Florida has been the guinea pig for a failed experiment in top-down, free-market economics on a scale never seen before. The assault on the middle class began in earnest when voters elected Jeb Bush and a Republican-dominated Legislature, a consolidation of power that gave them unprecedented carte-blanche to implement year after year of elitist economics — without a peep from those getting shafted.
Florida's sorry state of affairs is well-documented in the briefing paper, "Under Attack: Florida's Middle Class and the Jobs Crisis," co-published by Demos and the Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy. Here's a summary of some of its conclusions: