Community Conversations

What grade would you give Miami-Dade’s economy?

Locals did not give Miami-Dade County an A-grade for its economy. Job opportunities and low wages were among the reasons why they did not grade the county well.
Locals did not give Miami-Dade County an A-grade for its economy. Job opportunities and low wages were among the reasons why they did not grade the county well. MCT

We asked the following question to readers on social media and the Public Insight Network recently: What grade would you give Miami-Dade’s economy? Thanks for all of your responses. Below are a sampling of your comments, some of which were edited for length and clarity. Learn more about the Public Insight Network and read and comment on previous discussions at MiamiHerald.com/community and select Community Conversations.

“I give it a D for the anemic effort to diversify our economic engines and come full throttle into the 21st century. Miami-Dade should be the center of renewable energy and energy efficiency manufacturing market for the Caribbean and South American markets. We continue to suffer brain drain as there is little promise of attracting major corporate headquarters unlike other major Florida cities, though we have financial capacity to provide incentives to attract them here. We must grow beyond dead-end tourist theme parks, stadiums and building condos to sustain our economy.”

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Cindy Lerner, Pinecrest

“For those of us who are financially OK the grade would be a B+ or an A-, but it is more than apparent that there [are] many, too many, falling through the cracks or skating too close to the edge. It takes no imagination at all to believe those folks would grade the economy as a D or F. It is easy to be blind to local economic problems if you interact only with the folks living in the B+ world. But an honest look around should give fair-minded well-off people pause.”

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Sid Kaskey, South Miami

“As long as one American remains unemployed, Miami-Dade’s economy receives an F, for the failure to promote full employment. Our salaries continue to be the lowest in the nation, the average earnings of most families not meeting the standards required to, if nothing else, pay the taxes that continue to rise. What would we do? Rather than hire all these companies to do all government work, employ the unemployed to clean, maintain and provide services.”

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Esperanza Reynolds, Miami Lakes

“D. The reason for this is because too many jobs are dependent upon retail/hotel/hospitality/service industry jobs, and they don’t pay enough across the board to build a credible tax base for major infrastructure projects here. And those types of wages also keep wages down for other higher earning skill sets in the area, also.”

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John Felder, Miami Beach

“I would give it an F. Income inequality. Miami-Dade’s economy is biased and for the wealthy. The poor do OK but the middle class has almost disappeared - controls on zoning, R.E. projects, lack of rent control, etc.”

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Mara Houstoun, Miami

“B+. Raise the minimum wage. It will definitely have a positive and great impact on our economy. Republicans believe it will create chaos, but they will be proven wrong again and again. It will be a tremendous benefit not just to our local economy, but our entire country.”

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Oswaldo Gutierrez, Miami

“Miami-Dade gets a huge F+ for the working class people like me who have not gotten raises in years, but yet the cost of living has gone up. I’m a paralegal doing most if not all of the grunt work for my attorney, and I actually spent a month living in cheap motels because I could not find affordable housing options. I earn too much to qualify for public housing assistance but yet don’t earn enough to live in a nice apartment. It’s not fair. Why if I work and pay my share of taxes in the city and the county, why should I be forced to live like a welfare recipient? I think for every big money apartment being snatched up by foreign investors looking for green cards, there should be a percentage of affordable workforce housing built. That or rent control would be another option.”

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Elizabeth Gonzalez, Miami

“C+. Miami’s small businesses community has yet to reach its full economic vitality. Many still struggle with a lack of proper banking, available credit given new banking underwriting guidelines, and overall cash flows are depressed. To uplift will take: easing of restrictions by banks, ease traffic, buy-local mentality needs to be added to the “One Community, One Goal” initiative, and addressing crime in our communities. It is a gargantuan task and too much rhetoric.”

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Jim Angleton, Bay Harbor Islands

“D-. A greater variety of industry and higher paying jobs. This is a low-wage area where the sunshine is part of the benefit and companies get away with paying sub market wages due to this ‘perceived’ benefit.”

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Mike Vidal, Miami

“I would say a D. The job market is not that great. The homeless are everywhere. Cost of living is high. I don’t know if gambling is the answer.”

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Bruce Martin, Miami

“We need more good paying jobs. Most of the jobs down here are low wage, dead-end service jobs. To bring that up, we need to encourage more than just tourism-related and/or sales jobs.”

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Robert Black, South Miami

“Miami-Dade gets a C for a mix of poor opportunities and high intervention by way of regulatory nepotism and financial favoritism. Small businesses, the economic backbone of the American economy, suffer through extraneous red-tape to form a business in financially difficult environments, while local consumers go under-served in many sectors, though over-saturated with options. Diversity of choices, as opposed to illusion of options, would do a lot to change my grading of the County. That and a reassessment of the regulatory actions of local governments to align with the goal of protecting the public, rather than service certain private interests.”

Prem Barbosa, Miami-Dade County

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“B. Common sense at the government level would have the biggest impact. The climate change issue is a big one. Renewable energy, like solar and wind if it were supported by the government, could be a huge boom. If people are healthier they are better off - they are happier, they do their jobs better, less sick days, etc. If the roads were in better shape and traffic flow (the timing of the lights are terrible here) would make everything better.”

Cary Brief, Miami

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