DeSantis is making Floridians’ lives 'worse in order to make a point': report
In a Monday, September 4 report for The Atlantic, staff writer David A. Graham points out that it's rare for anyone to "turn down $346 million in free money. But that's effectively what" Florida Republican governor and 2024 presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis did.
Graham references a recent Politico report noting that the GOP leader last week "blocked his state from getting energy-efficiency incentives under the Inflation Reduction Act, the signature [President Joe] Biden-administration policy that passed in 2022."
He "is the first governor to reject such a large pot under the IRA," Graham emphasizes, and "The rebates that he rejected would have been available to not just low-income but also middle-income households; his decision deprives them of an opportunity to get money back for upgrading their home’s energy efficiency."
The Atlantic staff writer notes that it's possible DeSantis' decision to turn down the money aligns with "many Republican politicians' strong commitment in recent years to ideological purity—and owning the libs—even at the expense of impoverishing and immiserating their own constituents."
Ten states still have not accepted the ACA's Medicaid expansion, and many of them are deep-red states that show little inclination toward changing their mind. That isn’t to say that voters don’t want the expansion—time and again, when voters in states with resistant governments are given a chance to vote on the matter, they vote in favor. But conservative politicians in those 10 states have calculated that the risk of popular anger is outweighed by their sincere ideological commitments and, additionally, by the political benefits of being seen fighting a liberal program.
In short, Republican governors are choosing policies that make the lives of their citizens worse in order to make a point. Rejecting environmental policies like those in the IRA is particularly poignant in Florida, where the effects of climate change are already being felt more often and more acutely than in many other parts of the country—as the recent destruction brought by Hurricane Idalia reminds. And because the federal government can reallocate unused money to other states, not taking it could exacerbate the existing divide.
The Atlantic's full report is available at this link (subscription required).
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