Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro recently moved to Florida, where he recently visited a meeting with the Cuban exile community in Miami, had a conversation with the mayor of Miami Francis Suarez in his web show Cafecito time. In it, Shapiro and Francis Suarez talk about the reasons why the pundit moved from LA to Miami, the best policies to handle the growing crime epidemic and the current state of the media in America.
Shapiro started by telling Suarez why he decided to leave California after spending almost his entire life living in the Golden State. He said that the heavy burden of state taxes that Californians endure, combined with public services quality that “is not even close” to what they are paying in taxes had started to convince him to plan to move away from the state.
For the Shapiros the tipping point came last year as the pandemic ran rampant throughout the country and forced millions to stay at home, with Californians living under one of the most strict lockdown regimes in the country. Last year’s rise in crime also played a role in Shapiro’s decision to move out, with him saying that LA politicians “allowed crime to explode” as “homelessness, crime, and drug use bleed over the suburbs”.
He then visited Florida and after three weeks decided to buy a home in Miami, he said that they decided to move to the Sunshine State because of its lower taxes (Florida is one of the few states in the country without states tax), regulations that are more business-friendly, and public services that “actually work” with a police force that is “actually allowed to do their job” and where there are plans to “actual deal” with homelessness.
The current situation of California is so bad, said Shapiro, that when his company The Daily Wire decided to move out of LA almost all of his employees decided to leave as well, something that he did not expect. Suarez said that unfortunately, this is a “common story” as cities are “taking people for granted”.
Suarez then told the conservative media celebrity the reasons why he thought that Florida, and specifically Miami, has done so well throughout the years. For him, the reasons are fairly simple: he keeps low taxes, his administration has increased police funding, and he is focused on giving people quality of life.
For Suarez, these points are of great importance, as he gives the example that while his city has reduced the only tax they can raise (property tax) to historically low levels, they have been able to actually increase their revenue by a significant margin as the low tax rates motivate more people to come to the city.
Media, policing, and the appeal of populism
During their 18-minute conversation, mayor Suarez and Shapiro also talked a little about the current state of the media and how it is affecting the quality of public debate in the nation. The mayor said he found it very worrisome that there is little actual debate going on in the current media landscape, with both conservatives and liberals refusing to lend space to hear out the other side.
He said that this inability to hear out the other side of the arguments if we are unable to have a “balance of ideas” and if there’s no “fluidity of ideas” then we “really are not as free as open as a society as we tell ourselves”.
Shapiro agreed with what he heard, saying that in his podcast he has always been willing to talk to people from the other side of the aisle to debate and have a conversation, while also always recommending to his audience to go and listen to other opinions (especially form the other side of the political argument) in order to have a better understanding of what is actually going on.
Shamefully the feeling is not reciprocated by the mainstream media, according to Shapiro, who says how media outlets like the Washington Post or the New York Times have become obsessed with “purifying” its content, citing the resignation of former New York Times conservative columnist Bari Weiss as an example of this trend.
The result of this is that it has helped the rise of alternative media, such as the Daily Wire, which although it can have a positive effect as users can reach both the left and right-leaning media to garner a full picture, it also makes it easy for each side to get “siloed” into their predetermined political positions, says Shapiro.
Suarez and Shaprio then talked about the dangers of economic populism and lamented how attractive these policies have been in many cities throughout the country. With Suarez saying that it is “scary” when a charismatic leader tells his voters that all it needs to be done to solve our problem is “take away money from the rich” and promising equality, while only achieving “equal misery” with Suarez equating many of these policies with those pursued by the Cuban regime.
Both ended the conversation by talking a little about the importance of policing in keeping cities safe, with Shapiro condemning the decision by LA officials to “defund the police in a middle of a crime epidemic” and Suarez saying that while this happened in California, Miami increased funding for police departments and managed to decrease crime rates by 25% and in 2019 the homicide rate was the “lowest the city has had since 1957”.