December 23, 2006

Weekend Question 1: Has Jeb Bush Gotten Enough Credit for What He Has Done as Florida’s Governor?

Filed under: Economy,Education,Taxes & Government,TWUQs — Tom @ 10:01 am

ANSWER: He has received a lot, but it’s almost impossible for him to get too much.

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This BizzyBlog post in June pegged off of a Weekly Standard column by Fred Barnes that ran down Florida’s impressive economic progress during Jeb Bush’s eight years as governor.

But this little nugget that I found in the course of what was going to be another Ho-Hum Hiring Headline post really puts Jeb’s tenure into perspective, especially compared to other states:

More than one-third of all jobs created in the United States during the past five years have been created in Florida, according to Tax Watch Center for a Competitive Florida.

Florida’s population of 18,090,000 per the latest Census Bureau release (Excel file) as of July 1, 2006 means that it has barely more than 6% of the nation’s population. So Florida’s share of job growth has been running at a rate that is over 5 times faster than the rest of the nation (33% divided by 6%) based purely on population — and it’s really more impressive than that, because the Sunshine State’s relatively high retiree population means that its workforce participation rate is lower. I reviewed the past three years of Bureau of Labor Statistics data (Nov. 2003 through Oct. 2006), and Florida has added 789,300 jobs during that time, and its overall employment has grown by about 9%.

Here’s a capsule reminder of Barnes’ economy-related points about Jeb Bush from his column earlier this year:

  • Political leadership: ….. he’s changed the policy debate from how much government can do to how much it should leave to the people and the free market. “That’s his greatest effect,” says Robert McClure of the Bush-friendly James Madison Institute in Tallahassee.
  • The economy: It’s bursting at the seams. Florida is no longer totally reliant on tourism, agriculture, and the retiree industry. Under Bush, Florida has become the fourth largest high-tech state. Its bond rating has been hiked to Triple A.
  • Taxes: Bush has slashed $20 billion in taxes over eight years and enjoys the heartburn this gives the media and liberals. “I do love it,” he says. ….. His tax cuts are all the more shocking in a state with no income tax but with a balanced budget requirement.
  • Education: Bush’s education reforms have been vindicated by scholarly studies. Jay Greene and Marcus Winters of the Manhattan Institute found testing to end social promotion in Florida schools had led to “substantial academic gains for low-performing schools.” ….. The percentage of African-American fourth graders reading at grade level doubled to 56 percent from 1999 to 2005.

This statement from his farewell a couple of days ago puts a fine exclamation point on what Jeb Bush has done:

“I really honestly believe we have made a difference,” Bush said. “My core belief at the end of the day is that if we can just build the field of dreams, just build the fertile ground if you will that allows people, individuals and families, to pursue their own dreams there will be more prosperity, more innovation and more good things happening than any government program ever created.”

“I believe that when I got here. And I believe it just as much as a leave.”

Is it too late for everyone to ignore his last name and draft him?

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2 Comments

  1. God, he really is desperate to get people to promote him for a spot on that ’08 ticket, isn’t he? He’s even paying you.

    Comment by Steve M. — December 23, 2006 @ 11:21 am

  2. #1, sometimes all one has to do is post someone’s comment to expose them as a complete fool. This is one of those times. Nice goin’.

    Comment by TBlumer — December 23, 2006 @ 1:23 pm

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