The forgotten Florida voters rise up and vote
Letters: Blue wave? Red wave? How about the ‘retiree wave’? - Palm Beach Post
Bottom Line: There’s a great point to be made here. Specific to Florida, 24% of our state’s population is over the age of 65 according to the Census Bureau. That’s 5% higher than the national average. Even if you’re just a casual observer of politics you’re likely aware that the older an adult is they more likely they are to vote. In the case of this story, this cycle and South Florida - there’s much more to consider.
We’re pacing record turnout with over 2.6 million votes already cast. In the 2014 midterms 6 million 27 thousand votes were cast in total. We’re closing in on being halfway there a week before Election Day. While much of the attention this cycle in Florida, and specifically South Florida, has been paid to the anticipated surge of young voters who’d surely vote for Democrats (or so the conventional wisdom goes) - we’re seeing what does appear to be a surge in turnout being led in large part by older Floridians. It makes perfect sense in context to this cycle.
What are the top reasons for retirees to seek out Florida? Weather and taxes, right? Let’s talk about money for a minute in the context of the average retiree on a fixed income. Income for retirees come from what types of sources prominently?
- Retirement accounts
- Social Security
Take Andrew Gillum’s proposals for higher corporate taxes, expanding Medicaid and dramatically higher state spending. Do seniors benefit from any of those proposals? No, they don’t. But would they potentially negatively impact their income? Of course. If companies have to pay higher taxes it could put a strain on pensions for affected companies. How about interest? A good economy means higher interest rates which benefits interest paid and Social Security’s COLA. Florida is the fourth biggest economy in the US. Do higher taxes for businesses, individuals or potentially both equal A) Better economic growth or B) Slower economic growth?
You do the math. Now about dividends. If companies face a 41% tax increase are they more or less likely to pay increasing dividends? And about retirement accounts. If companies earn 41% less money (every public company in Florida would be subjected to Gillum’s tax increase) what will that do to earnings and values of Florida’s companies? It’s not complicated. Every economic policy of Andrew Gillum lacks any benefit for seniors with only potential downside. Then add in the South Florida effect.
With county ballot initiatives seeking to raise property taxes for schools (it already passed in Broward in the primaries) there’s additional motivation for seniors to want to vote. Do seniors benefit from higher taxes for school spending? Of course not, but they would be left holding the bag for hundreds of additional dollars in taxes for them in South Florida. You’ve likely not heard the economic breakdown for seniors in Florida addressed in this cycle. South Florida media outlets are too busy endorsing these tax increases and candidates. It’s all the more ironic because 52% of daily newspaper readers are seniors. We may well be seeing the senior wave because there is nothing but potential economic downside for every retiree on a fixed income if taxes increases are passed.