Reposted by MANHATTAN CONTRARIAN
December 22, 2020 / Francis Menton
Of all the states, Florida is the closest demographically to New York. These two states are close to each other not only in terms of total population, but also in relative numbers of immigrants and minorities. As recently as 2013, New York had a slightly larger population than Florida (both around 19.6 million), but Florida has grown rapidly since then, while New York is slowly shrinking. It is estimated that by the time the final 2020 census is published, the current population of Florida will be around 21.8 million and that of New York will be around 19.4 million.
While New York and Florida are relatively close to each other in terms of population and other demographic groups, at least for now, they couldn't be more different in their approaches to public order. In Florida, Republicans have controlled the legislature (both houses) since 1997 and the governorship since 1999. Florida is an example of the state government's low tax, low spending, and low regulation approach. New York has a firm grip on the progressive left and is an example of high taxes, high spending and high regulation.
Different guidelines produce different results. For today, I will mainly focus on the policy response to the Covid-19 virus. In this context, the policy differences mainly concern regulation rather than taxation and spending.
Yesterday I had a recap of the current onerous regulatory response to the virus in New York. In contrast, Florida, led by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, was at the other end of the regulatory response spectrum. In terms of results, here's the bottom line: As expected, the economic decline caused by the government's deliberate suppression of the economy was much, much less severe in Florida than it was in New York. But just as importantly, Florida has also seen, and continues to experience, superior health outcomes over New York. In other words, Florida is clear evidence that all of New York's mandates of conduct (e.g., masks) and the deliberate destruction of small businesses have had no measurable impact in reducing the spread of the virus or improving health outcomes.
According to my review yesterday in New York City, dining in restaurants has been severely restricted for months due to fluctuating guidelines, and since last week, by order of the governor, all indoor restaurants have been completely closed with no indication of when it may reopen. Theaters, concerts, and venues are all closed, and it seems this will stay that way, at least until spring. Although this was not mentioned in yesterday's publication, as of April 17th we have had a nationwide mandate for the wearing of masks for "persons over 2 years of age" when "in a public place".
Florida initially imposed some significant restrictions on restaurants and other indoor businesses, but began to relax them in early June when, for example, bars and cinemas were allowed to reopen. On September 28, Governor DeSantis issued an executive order that lifted almost all remaining restrictions. At a press conference that day, DeSantis was quoted as saying, "Every company has the right to operate" and "We will not close anything in the future." WebMD summarized the future Florida regulations as of this point:
Organizations that have used remote work protocols can revert to unrestricted staff in their offices. Employees cannot resume essential travel. Theme parks can operate normally again and gyms can operate at full capacity. Bars and clubs can operate at full capacity, but with "limited social distancing protocols".
In Florida today, theaters are open, concerts are held, and the legendary theme parks take in visitors (albeit somewhat limited).
When it comes to masks, Florida has never imposed a statewide mandate, leaving each county to make its own decision. Twenty-two districts issued mask mandates for at least a period of time, but 45 never. The Dec. 21st Town Hall has a long stretch (based largely on a paywall study of the data at Rational Ground) that provides the results. These results are utterly devastating for any claim to the effectiveness of mask mandates. From the town hall (with an internal quote from Rational Ground):
If the masks were even close to the stated values, one would expect the counties that went maskless to be absolute dumpster fires next to the counties in which mandates were implemented, right? At the very least, the numbers should favor the masked areas by more than a percentage point or two. So how did it go? Yes, it was the mask cult's worst nightmare: “When the counties had a mandate, there were 667,239 cases over 3,137 days, with an average of 23 cases per 100,000 per day. If the counties did NOT have a statewide order, there were 438,687 cases in 12,139 days, averaging 22 cases per 100,000 per day. "
In short, the mask-free counties actually had better health outcomes than the mask-mandated counties.
As part of his September 28 policy, Governor DeSantis announced that he would not enforce fines or penalties for not wearing a mask.
So let's compare the health and economic outcomes between Florida and New York. First health:
- Florida. Deaths per million population, previous pandemic (figures from Worldometers.info from December 22nd): 966.Deaths within the last 10 days, last first, from December 21st to December 12th: 106, 86, 69, 108, 102 , 112, 89, 137, 81, 71 – a total of 961 in this 10-day period.
- new York. Deaths per million people at the start of the pandemic: 1,886 (almost twice as high as Florida – and Florida has many more elderly people). Deaths in the last 10 days, most recently December 21st to 12th: 179, 95, 85, 121, 156, 112, 126, 120, 87, 79 – a total of 1160 in the ten days or more than 20% more than Florida even though Florida has more than 10% more population.
If New York's elected guides have something to show off to turn this city into a ghost town, you sure can't find it in these statistics.
Now to the economic statistics:
- Florida. Unemployment rate in November (last available): 6.4% (versus a national rate of 6.7%)
- New York. New York State Unemployment Rate in November: 8.4%; for New York City 12.1%. Obviously, New York City is bearing the brunt of the forced closings of the restaurant and entertainment industries.
For New York City, that additional nearly 6% of the forced government unemployment compared to Florida represents approximately 200,000 people, most of them at the lower end of the income distribution. I suppose you could justify deliberately making all of these people unemployed if you could get any health benefit from the decrees. However, there is no evidence of any health benefit. New York's health outcomes have been shown to be worse than Florida's. The virus does its own thing, even though it is imperative that our dictators show that they "do something", however meaningless that "something" may be.
In other comparisons of public policy metrics between the two states, the annual budget of the Florida government is $ 92 billion and that of New York is $ 177 billion. How could that be when Florida has 10% more people? New York City spends nearly $ 29,000 per student on K-12 education, while Florida spends less than $ 10,000 – and Florida scores slightly better on the national NAEP tests. And, of course, New York has some of the highest income tax rates in the country, and yet lawmakers have been desperate to get more revenue from even higher tax rates. Florida, while having no income tax at all, appears to have enough money to get around.
Florida shows us all what a competent state government looks like. The extreme lack of competence in New York is just shocking.