Should We Really Pine For The Good Old Days?

By The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville

Those who pine for the good old days should take a look back 50 years to 1968.

Reason magazine, a libertarian publication, did just that.

It noted that in 1968:

–A total of 334,000 American men were drafted; meanwhile, 16,000 Americans died in the Vietnam War.

–Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy were assassinated as major American cities went up in flames.

–If you wanted to take an airplane trip, good luck finding an affordable fare — ticket prices were controlled by the government.

–If you were a LGBT person, same-sex activities were considered criminal in many states.

–The technology for cellphones was available but the government was dragging its feet in allocating spectrum for it.

–Half the planet was controlled by Communist dictatorships.

Florida’s strong budget

Some day there will be another recession, so it’s good news that Florida’s economy is in good shape right now.

Florida ranks No. 4 in the nation for cash solvency, according to the Mercatus Center of George Mason University; the only states ahead of Florida — Alaska, Wyoming and South Dakota — all have small populations (and Alaska benefits from an infusion of oil revenue).

Florida also ranks:

–No. 4 for fiscal condition.

–No. 5 for service level solvency.

–No. 6 for budget solvency.

–No. 7 for trust fund solvency.

Florida’s worst score is No. 17 for long-run solvency; that’s a warning that this fast-growing state must have policies that focus on the future.

Where Florida lags is in funding mental health and substance abuse; that’s largely because the state refuses to accept Medicaid expansion funds from the federal government.

Manufacturing is growing

The United States is seeing growth in making things, according to a global scorecard compiled by the Brookings Institution.

The United Kingdom and Switzerland are tied for No. 1 in overall manufacturing environment, followed by the United States, Japan and Canada.

Florida ranks among the top states for manufacturing environment thanks to pro-business policies, strong trade and infrastructure.

In all, Florida has 129,000 manufacturers that employ 331,000 workers.

Funding for opioid treatment

The federal government has finally stepped up with a comprehensive plan to address the national epidemic of overdose deaths.

Deaths from substance abuse and suicide are so high that the United States is the only developed nation experiencing a decline in its average life span.

Overdose deaths are higher than those from car crashes or gun violence; they are also happening at higher rates than deaths during the height of the AIDS crisis.

The Senate and the House have passed bills that take on the crisis; now a joint bill must be crafted to go to President Donald Trump for his signature.

This is one issue that affects everybody, so it has thankfully avoided partisan politics.

Bipartisan political reform

While we’re on the bipartisan theme, 4 of 5 voters want to deal with the corrupting influence of big money in elections — they want rules requiring full disclosure of all of the money raised during elections.

While the Supreme Court has said that money spent on campaigns is like speech — and thus can’t be restricted — Americans can legally require that the source of the money be disclosed.

Support was overwhelmingly strong among Democrats (85 percent), Republicans (78 percent) and independents (81 percent).

This article provided by NewsEdge.