There's really no better way to make a state suck good and hard than when an arch-conservative Republican governor decides to play for higher office. No longer interested in reelection, the would-be future president no longer needs to feign interest in whether state residents struggle or prosper or live or die, so long as none of it happens to a degree that might attract national press. That governor can spend every moment of every day thinking up new ways to be a performative asshole to attract national Republican primary voters who absolutely will not vote for you unless they think you're the biggest asshole who ever assholed.
With Gov. Ron DeSantis at least going through the rough motions of a presidential run, this is going to cost Floridians some serious cash. National outlets are beginning to notice what the Capitalist reported a few weeks ago: The DeSantis line-item veto of a pair of federal block grants last month means Florida no longer qualifies for federal programs that would have provided a whopping $377 million in energy money for the state.
The money would have gone towards electrification and energy efficiency, but the biggest losers here are Florida consumers. Much of that $377 million was coming from the federal program handing out rebates for buying energy-efficient appliances, the kind you now find at every Best Buy or Home Depot, which means that Florida consumers alone (?) won't be seeing the consumer rebates the rest of the nation is getting while shopping for appliances.
It's literally free money to help Americans buy new appliances—ones that use less electricity than older models, resulting in lower electricity bills and perhaps more importantly, reduced strain on electrical grids. So why did DeSantis reject the money? Because he's running for asshole in chief and those consumer rebates come from the Federal Inflation Reduction Act, which is the Biden-pressed energy policy overhaul, and Ron DeSantis is a giant enormous baby. The Capitolist:
Politically, the move sets DeSantis up to declare that he’s refusing to accept any more federal money from the Biden Administration. The governor’s office did not respond to a request for more information about DeSantis’s reasoning for the vetoes, so it’s not clear if the governor was aware of the cascading impact of his decision. But political insiders view it as a calculated strategy meant to bolster his presidential campaign and take away a Biden Administration talking point highlighting DeSantis’s previous acceptance of federal dollars for other programs.
DeSantis has been an absolute wrecking ball when it comes to the Florida economy, which currently boasts an inflation rate that's over double the current national average. The Walt Disney Company pulled out of a major expansion in the state as DeSantis wages war on corporations that don't abide by his anti-LGBTQ+ obsessions, the state is chasing away workers, the entire educational system is a wreck, and Florida is even seeing a resurgence of malaria. Oh, and don't forget the ongoing sewage crisis.
In the meantime, DeSantis spends his days cooking up fake data and scheming vengeance against companies and university professors that publicly disagree with him. He's got the most Trumpian part of “Trump” down pat, seemingly living solely for retaliating against oft-imaginary enemies.
One thing seems clear: If you really want to wreck a state's economy, elect a conservative governor and give them the idea that they might be able to manage a presidential run. From Wisconsin's Scott Walker to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to Ron DeSantis (and we can't forget Rick Scott), those Republicans are willing to piss away massive economic gains for the sake of impressing the galaxy of hard-right rubes who will not settle for anything less than leopards eating faces, always and forever.
Get used to it, Florida. By the time primary season rolls around in earnest, DeSantis will be sending his new personal police force door to door to make sure you've purchased a gas stove and will be promising to staff elementary schools with state-credentialed alligators. The man has a presidential run to salvage.
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