As President Joe Biden’s administration stumbles through its term, a variety of poor policy decisions and their negative repercussions are increasingly felt across the nation, with Florida and Manatee County experiencing their share of the impacts. Notable among these hardships are the economic challenges marked by inflation and rising interest rates, along with concerns around crime, border security, and other failed federal strategies.

Economic Strains: Inflation and Interest Rates

One of the greatest challenges facing residents in Manatee County is the significant rise in commodity prices, which has escalated the cost of living. Wether it’s fuel, grocery or utility bills, working families and retirees are feeling the pinch of high prices which are rising at rates not seen in decades.

Compounding this issue are high interest rates, which stem partly from Biden’s reckless monetary policy. High interest rates have cooled the once red-hot housing market in Manatee County, putting homeownership further out of reach for many Florida natives.  

The significant rise in home prices, especially in the Manatee-Sarasota area, is driven in part by an influx of residents from liberal states. Fleeing high taxes, rising crime, and stringent regulations, these newcomers are drawn to Florida’s no state income tax, business-friendly policies, and strong stance on individual liberties. 

This migration trend shows a preference for conservative-led states, as many relocating individuals bring substantial economic contributions, further fueling the demand for homes. As a result, home prices have increased due to the growing population and the corresponding rise in demand that has outstripped supply. 

Manatee County’s Capital Improvement projects have also seen an increase in cost due to inflation, supply-chain challenges, and labor shortages. Reached for comment, Manatee County Commission Chairman Kevin Van Ostenbridge stated, “Policies from Joe Biden’s administration have led to high inflation, which is driving up the price tag on public projects. Now, it’s costing Manatee County taxpayers more to improve roads and parks.”

Public Safety and Crime

The administration’s approach to law enforcement and criminal justice, often criticized as being too lenient, has raised concerns among citizens in Manatee County. The perception of being “soft on crime” has sparked debates on community safety and justice. Florida, known for its strict stance on law enforcement, finds itself at odds with more lenient federal policies, potentially affecting local sentiments and approaches to crime and safety.

In contrast to the federal government, Governor Ron DeSantis’ administration has taken a firm stance on “rogue” state attorneys as seen with the last year’s removal of Andrew Warren as the State Attorney for Hillsborough County in August 2022. 

The removal came after Warren announced that he would not enforce certain state laws, including those related to restrictions on abortions and treatments for transgender youths.

DeSantis cited neglect of duty and incompetence as reasons for the suspension, arguing that Warren’s refusal to enforce specific laws represented a failure to uphold his duties as a public official and appointed Susan Lopez to serve as the acting state attorney.

Warren labeled his dismissal as an “unlawful political maneuver” and filed a lawsuit in Federal Court to be reinstated. The lawsuit was not successful as the judge presiding over the case stated that the court did not have the jurisdiction to restore him to the position of state attorney. Warren has since contested the ruling and is currently anticipating an appellate court’s verdict.

Border Security

Another glaring Biden failure is the administration’s handling of border security and immigration. A virtually open border policy has led to a surge in illegal immigration, burdening states like Florida.

Manatee County, while not a border community, still feels the effects of a tsunami of illegals in terms of resource allocation and law enforcement. The increased burden on our local school system and concerns over illegal activities remains a topic of discussion among the county’s residents and leaders. 

Other Policy Areas

In addition to these issues, several other policy decisions of the Biden administration draw criticism for their impacts on Manatee County:

Energy Policies: Decisions around national energy policies, particularly those shifting focus away from American energy independence, resonate locally, where energy costs and environmental sustainability are ever-present concerns. These failed policies contribute to rising energy prices, negatively impacting households and businesses in Manatee County. 

Bradenton City Councilwoman Jayne Kocher told the Manatee Herald, “We need to return to the policies that secured the United States’ energy independence. The current environmental agenda under President Joe Biden destabilizes our economy and threatens our self-reliance.”

Foreign Policy: Manatee County’s large veteran community keeps a close watch on foreign policy decisions. Shifts in international relations and military engagements have indirect yet notable impacts on sentiments within communities. In 3 short years under Joe Biden two major wars have broken out and the U.S. had a disastrous exit from Afghanistan. 

Environmental Regulations: Federal environmental regulations, aimed at tackling issues like climate change and coastal protection, have been overreaching, stifling local industries and economic growth. 

As Joe Biden’s administration moves into the final year of his term, the totality of the effects of his policies on regions like Manatee County and the broader state of Florida are yet to be determined. Economic challenges and public safety concerns continue to shape the dialogue at local dinner tables and water coolers. Meanwhile, lack of attention to crucial issues like border security and energy policy continue to be significant topics of conversation.

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