There's no denying that political influence is hitting home here in South Florida, if not everywhere in the country. On Monday's show, we welcomed guest Buddy Nevins, former political writer, and columnist for the Sun Sentinel; now founder of the Broward Beat. He broke down a pain point that resonates both locally and nationally — money.
Nevins got real with us: Trump and the Republican Congress will wreak havoc on South Florida. This area's many problems (e.g. public transportation, healthcare, environmental longevity) need one essential thing that is not being supplied by Washington at the moment: MONEY. We'll call this the residual "Trump Effect" on the local economy regarding what we can do and accomplish.
Let's think about it this way and break down some of the challenges that our home of South Florida is facing right now:
- Public Transportation
To cite an example, you may or may not have heard about the much-anticipated expansion of the Tri-Rail, a commuter rail line linking Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. As of the past few decades, the need for a way for commuters to get to work and for residents to travel to other cities throughout the state of Florida has been necessary. However, it could be 10 or 20 years before South Florida residents could hop on a train to get to Orlando or Jupiter.
What is the holdup? The bigger question is who will pay the estimated $40 million per year to maintain and operate the train. Also, that cost is yet to include the money Tri-Rail will be charged each year to use the Florida East Coast Railway tracks.
So why not get federal funds? With no outline or ideas on making the dollars work, state transportation officials have held off on beginning a proposed two-year study that must be done to work out the project's details. The details will then be necessary for determining if the project will even be eligible for federal funding consideration.
- Hospitals / Healthcare
South Florida Hospital CEOs have said it themselves: with the election of Donald Trump, area hospitals must be prepared to deliver more care with less money. With the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare) facing an uncertain future, we can expect more partnerships between competing hospitals, technology-driven solutions to doctor visits, and increased risks of keeping patients healthy (due to the availability of finances).
Under the Trump Administration, costs will be cut. In 2017, 1.7 million Floridians signed up for insurance coverage through the Obamacare platform, including over 600-thousand people in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Any changes around coverage could negatively impact all of these folks.
On the one hand, President Trump says that he will get healthcare taken care of in this country. "I am going to take care of everybody," he said during his campaign in 2015. "I don't care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody's going to be taken care of; much better than they're taken care of now".
On the other hand, many continue to plead that the Trump Administration not repeal and replace Obamacare. In this particular report, a Trump voter that once hated Obamacare now needs it to survive. Check out the interview (starting around 3:40).
Nevins notes that the sick will now be dumped into the emergency rooms of local hospitals. This "solution" will hike the costs for local taxpayers way up.
- Foreign Trade
This one is nothing new; foreign trade, which is a huge part of the local economy, may be negatively impacted by Trump and Congress' anti-foreigner actions. The Muslim travel and immigration ban, the detention of foreign nationals and refugees... locals are even living in fear of possible deportation.
Trump's foreign trade policy is resonating nationally. Big names like Bruce Springsteen have publicly blasted the president on his actions regarding foreign relations. It's only a matter of time before the local effects being to erode the foundations of our country.
"America is a nation of immigrants and we find this anti-democratic and fundamentally un-American." pic.twitter.com/DsXSaLeNNN— Bruce Springsteen (@springsteen) January 30, 2017
- Climate Change Mitigation
Although Trump beats around the bush in the above interview, he says that many of the actions taken to mitigate climate change are unnecessary — even local measures regarding the raising of highways in order to clear rising sea levels. In another interview, President Trump has called climate change a "scam for a lot of people to make a lot of money" and says "it will get cooler, it will get warmer. It's called weather".
How will we be able to combat global warming (both locally and nationally) without the support of our Commander in Chief? How will we be able to manage any of the above-stated areas without federal funding and support? This is what we spoke about today. Check out the full segment here:
Fernand is a principal at Bendixen & Amandi International, the nation’s leading multilingual and multiethnic public opinion research and strategic communications consulting firm based in Miami, Florida. Frequently a guest host and commentator on WIOD, Fernand’s communications projects and analysis have been featured in The New York Times, CNN, National Public Radio, The Washington Post, USA Today, Newsweek, Time, The Economist, and the Miami Herald among others.
Over the last 25 years, Bendixen & Amandi (B&A) has conducted large-scale projects for numerous corporations, multinational institutions, political candidates and elected officials in over 30 countries and in as many as 20 different languages. Fernand manages the firm and brings over a decade’s worth of experience in research and strategic management with an emphasis in corporate, political and public affairs consulting for clients including the United Nations, the World Bank, The White House, Univision Communications, New America Media, the John & James L. Knight Foundation and the California Endowment.
He has conceived, produced and edited a number of successful television and radio commercials for B&A’s media practice including the highly regarded “Nuestra Amiga” spot for the 2008 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign, which Rolling Stone magazine lauded as “one of the more charming moments in the history of the political ad wars.” Fernand is a graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Science Education and has taught at both at Miami-Dade College and at the University of Miami.
Fernand Amandi lives in Coconut Grove with his wife and two kids.