The Patriot Post® · Why Florida and New York Have Very Different Records

By Brian Mark Weber ·

Anyone following the news these days might conclude New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is setting a standard for future leaders to respond to the next pandemic, while thinking Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is foolish for opening up his state’s economy. In reality, the reverse is true.

People in Florida are resuming their lives not based on a rejection of the science but in response to understanding it. As a result, Floridians are beginning to thrive while keeping the coronavirus in check. Florida’s virus deaths are minuscule compared to New York’s, even though Florida has more than three million more residents, including 20% more elderly people. Moreover, this is despite the fact that many New Yorkers fled to the Sunshine State since the outbreak of the virus.

Meanwhile, Cuomo had his state, including hard-hit New York City, endure one of the nation’s strictest lockdowns all while experiencing the nation’s highest death toll. The consequence is millions of New Yorkers have lost their jobs, homes, businesses, and savings. No wonder a headline in the New York Post this week read, “It Needs to End. Now.”

Making matters worse, Cuomo wants the rest of America to bail out his state, and it’s not all due to the virus. It’s due to the Democrat governor’s decade of mismanagement.

According to The Wall Street Journal, since 2010, when Cuomo took office, the contrast between New York and Florida couldn’t be more stark. Florida’s population grew by nearly three million; New York’s increased by just 75,000. And yet Florida’s budget since 2010 has grown by $28 billion, while New York’s has increased by $43 billion. Part of that is because New York spends three times as much as Florida on Medicaid. Oh, and the Journal notes, “New York has a top state-and-local tax rate of 12.7%, while Florida has no income tax.”

Those are but a few examples of contrast. But in short, the Empire State is losing residents, spending too much money on worker benefits and Medicaid, maintaining high taxes, and failing to keep up with states like Florida in terms of job growth. And now, instead of unleashing the economic power of its own people, Cuomo wants to send a bill to Washington.

Despite this decade-long history of failed policy, the national media portray Cuomo as a political genius, when all he’s really done during the pandemic is govern by fear. But the coverage of DeSantis is just the opposite.

The national media was apoplectic when DeSantis allowed beaches in Jacksonville to open up to the public in April, warning that he was risking lives, threatening to spread the virus to other states, and acting “recklessly.” DeSantis was mocked by many media and political figures alike. And they shamed Floridians as halfwits for daring to live their lives and trying to save their businesses.

But the DeSantis administration was acting thoughtfully and strategically to tackle the virus. Rather than implementing sweeping lockdowns based on dire predictions, the governor discovered a significant percentage of COVID-19 patients and deaths in other countries occurred in elderly populations. So he removed seniors with positive coronavirus tests out of nursing homes. At the same time, Cuomo was moving them into nursing homes, which resulted in thousands of deaths.

This week DeSantis defended his actions and reminded the Leftmedia of its desire to see Florida turn into New York. He told a reporter, “A lot of people in your profession waxed poetically for weeks and weeks about how Florida was going to be just like New York. ‘Wait two weeks. Florida’s going to be next!’ ‘Just like Italy. Wait two weeks!’ Well, hell, we’re eight weeks away from that, and it hasn’t happened.”

Florida is hardly alone. So far — and we emphasize so far — reopening states are doing alright. The Washington Examiner reports, “States that have reopened their economies appear to be faring no worse in terms of coronavirus cases than those that have not.”

What’s happening in New York and Florida today should be a case study for the next pandemic. Let’s hope the next generation of Americans learn from New York’s failed response that the cure can be worse than the virus and the best way to recover is to follow Florida’s model.