Californians and New Yorkers flock here for relief from high taxes, crime and regulation.
The City of Miami next to the waters of Biscayne Bay, July 21. Phot: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
While President Biden struggles to understand the meaning of the term “recession,” Americans across the country—especially those fleeing places like New York and California—are feeling the effect of the recession in a real way. The cost of groceries and of government is crushing them. This is painfully felt in cities, where increasing costs as well as increasing crime erode the quality of life.
But the debate over the definition of a recession misses a larger point. We are witnessing a competition between two core philosophies.
On one side, we have the socialist model: high taxes, high regulation, less competition and declining public services with government imposing itself as the solver and arbiter of all social problems. On the other side, we have the Miami model: low taxes, low regulation and a commitment to public safety and private enterprise. The models present a stark choice on issues ranging from personal freedom, economic opportunity, public safety and the role of government.
People are voting with their feet by moving their lives, their jobs, their businesses and their families to low-tax states. Many Americans living in New York state and California are paying more than 50% of their annual income to local, state and federal governments. They are effectively employees of the state, beholden to a government with public services that neither deliver value nor ensure their personal safety.
In Miami, many residents have personally experienced the socialist model along with its symptoms of hyperinflation, class resentment and stagnant growth. Four years ago Miami residents elected me to pursue a different path. We reduced taxes dramatically, and our revenue base doubled. We invested in our police, and our crime rate dropped. And last week we reduced taxes to their lowest level in history—cutting costs for residents and promoting economic growth.
Miami is a place where you can keep what you earn, invest what you save, and own what you build. We are meeting the high demand of rent costs by encouraging public-private partnerships, activating underutilized land through zoning reforms, and harnessing free-market forces to build more. It works, and our new residents from New York and California can confirm it.
But in this era of stagflation and recession, we know we must be bold and we must be brave. Even in Florida, we must embrace innovation and enterprise by eliminating the recent online sales tax. We must also eliminate the Florida commercial rent tax to increase our supply of commercial space for our growing economy of small businesses. At the federal level, we must keep the Trump-Ryan tax cuts, protect seniors and the working poor from inflation’s devastating effects, and work to prevent inflation from pushing more middle-class and working-class Americans into higher tax brackets. We must balance our federal budget and reduce the new surge of regulations that impose an extreme political ideology over free enterprise and fair play.
The socialist model has failed Democrats locally, and it will continue to fail them nationally despite attempts to censor statistics or parse words. For pundits still unsure what “recession” means, think of it this way: A recession is when your neighbor loses his job; a depression is when you lose yours; and recovery begins when Joe Biden loses his.
Mr. Suarez, a Republican, is mayor of Miami.
This piece was originally published in the Wall Street Journal.