Big companies often love getting big handouts and special privileges from the governments. But sometimes these special favors end up backfiring and causing more harm to the companies than good, as Disney is quickly learning.
Here’s a transcript of our conversation:
Emma: Hi, Brittany.
Brittany: Hi, Emma.
Emma: So, today I wanted to talk about something pretty interesting that’s going on in the state of Florida between Governor Ron DeSantis and sort of his team and the lawmakers that sort of answer to him. And Disney, which is a company that I’m sure we are all familiar with. And that has kind of been coming under fire from, a lot of conservatives and, and parents and religious folks for some of the stuff that they are, kind of embracing as a company. But also, you know, they, basically have gotten into this public battle with the state of Florida over, all kinds of stuff. So, to give kind of a rundown, I’ll start at the beginning, Florida passed a bill that makes it illegal for teachers to teach certain, certain content that’s sensitive personal content to children between, I believe kindergarten and third grade, which, polling shows is actually quite popular that most parents, regardless of their political views actually do agree with not having schools do that. So that was a part of the bill. I believe it also gave parents the right to sue schools that broke the rule and basically kept certain topics out of classrooms.
Brittany: So that was it also, just a, oh, sorry.
Emma: Yeah, no, go ahead.
Brittany: Just to chime in, it also made it so parents have to know what’s going on. So a lot of times parents didn’t even know what was being taught to their children. And that was one thing the pandemic really taught them is cuz they were home with their kids learning and they’d be like, oh my goodness, what is this teacher my kids? So it also, it does a few things. But one of the things it does is make sure that the parents are sta like they’re kept in the loop about what is being taught.
Emma: Yeah. That’s a great thing to add. Which is I think all of us would agree is very important. You know, there’s a lot of homeschooling families and unschooling families and private school families that listen to this show, but I know there are, a lot of total twins customers that are still, you know, have their kids in public school. And I went to public school and my parents were always having to ask about, you know, well, what are you teaching this week and what’s the deal with this? And it was this constant thing and they had to really fight to know what was going on in school. So I can totally understand, I don’t have kids, but I can totally understand why a parent would be, you know, very fired up and concerned about this. So Florida passes this bill, I believe it’s been signed, or at least it’s expected to be signed. And it became this crazy thing and people started calling it the Don’t say gay bill, which that literally, that word is nowhere even in the text of the bill. No, it doesn’t.
Brittany: It actually doesn’t have anything to do with the bill.
Emma: It has nothing to do with it. But of course, it was this like clever slogan that got kind of put out there by the media and it really stuck and people just lost their minds over this when in reality, truly, like the bill doesn’t stop anyone from talking about, you know, anything. It’s, specific to teachers and it’s a very specific type of education that they’re restricting from classrooms. So anyway, Florida passes this bill, and Disney, which is a company with very, you know, sort of, left-wing, like very pro-LGBT values as a company. And that’s a pretty well-known thing about Disney. They came out and started pushing really hard against Florida and kind of kind of fighting with them over this bill and saying, you know, this goes against our values. We don’t support this and not Disney. Florida in return, Ron DeSantis, who’s the governor of Florida, is now taking away a special status that Disney has as basically its own independent special district. So this is really crazy. And this is how sort of the special district works. Disney basically has its own government in the state of Florida, so it has almost complete control over what happens in its parks in the state of Florida. So it’s called an independent special district, and it basically has, it’s 25,000 acres, it’s about 40 square miles, and it operates like a county government. So it has building and municipal services, it has police and fire protection, it can raise taxes on itself. And the whole setup was basically to give Disney like its own governing authority while also kind of taking away some of the tax burden from the people in the area. But what’s sort of ended up happening is it, there’s this weird conflict because Disney is a private company that basically owns its own little government and it’s within the state of Florida. So, you know, I’m definitely kind of like a libertarian-minded person and I love self-governance, but I do think it’s very sketchy when you have a huge business that, you know, gives a lot of money to politics that get, that has a huge lobby, which lobbying is when companies will pay to try to persuade the government to do certain stuff that benefits them. And you’ve got this, huge company, massive, massive company, and the government’s giving it these special benefits. And I think that’s just so crazy that that was allowed in the first place. And so now you’re in this situation where, you know, I think a lot of people listening to this podcast right now probably would side with Florida and with Ron DeSantis on, you know, being opposed to Disney and what Disney is trying to do. And you know, it on a personal level, I would probably agree with you, but I think it’s really crazy when we’re at a point now where the government is now giving and taking these benefits to businesses based on, you know, some very personal, very, you know, sort of news of the day type things that are happening. And it’s concerning to me to see that the government, you know, there are so many places where companies do get special benefits from the government, like, what Disney is enjoying in Florida and, you know, depending on something political that happens and whatever people are fired up about, it can just be given and taken away. And I’m not concerned about that because I’m necessarily like really scared for the businesses. You know, obviously, I think business is awesome and that businesses should be free to do as they like, and you know, that’s a good thing. It’s part of what makes this a free country. But when you have the government using these special benefits kind of as a weapon to enforce, you know, certain things or to punish people for having certain opinions, that is very, very scary to me. So, Brittany, I know that you’ve spent a lot of time, you know, working on some of these like legal research and stuff like that with cases where people have been targeted by the government in this way. What do you think about all of this and what, you know, given your background, how do you see all of this kinda playing out?
Brittany: Well, I’m sorry to put you back on top. I actually have not done any work in this area. Ok. So, yeah this is not one of the areas that I specialize in. I do a lot of legal research, but not in this one. But I think it’s scary, you know, anytime you give the government, what is that quote? Hug can give it, take it then, What is, the quote? I can’t think of it. You would give it, take it away, or something like that, right?
Emma: I think so, yeah.
Brittany: So if the government can give you these privileges, the government can take them away. And that is why the important thing to remember in this is the government shouldn’t do either, right? If you never give it to someone, you can’t take it away. So I think that’s the most important thing to remember here, is that’s how the problem became in the be and excuse me in the first place, is we gave the government too much power and you can’t ever reign that in again. And it, you know, people end up paying for it. And I don’t, I’m on the, a lot of people don’t like Disney right now. I know there’s a lot of like gov about that, but I think the main thing to remember is yes, that this shouldn’t, they should have never had any special privileges, to begin with. Sorry, I couldn’t add more.
Emma: No, that’s, yeah, you’re totally fine. What do you mean you haven’t researched Disney’s own little independent government that they have. I actually just learned recently that that’s a thing and I was like so shocked about it. It’s just, it’s so wild that like, again, I’m all for self-governance and I love when small communities are like self-managing and like independent of the government. I think that’s really cool. But it’s crazy to me that it’s like this weird relationship that this business has with this government and they kind of like let them do their own thing. It’s super, super strange to me. The weird thing was the raising taxes part. Yeah. I find that really strange. But yeah, it’s, I think you had a great point there where you’re like, you know, he would give us, take it away where it’s like, you know, on one, I love anytime the government takes away these certain privileges that are given to businesses because I think it causes a real lack of, you know, fair competition and it does interfere in the free market when certain businesses are being given these, you know, these benefits that are basically there because they have this good relationship with the government that crowds out smaller businesses that in a truly free market would be able to compete, you know, depending on whose product is better. But I think, you know, the fact that there are so many special benefits like this from the federal government, from state governments, and it’s really a problem I think in our country that prevents a lot of competition from happening. And, you know, I love the free market, I love capitalism, but when you have the government involving itself in things like this and you know, granting special privileges to these huge companies, it’s a big problem. And I think that’s probably something that most people would actually agree on is that the government shouldn’t be handing these benefits out in the first place. But I think it’s another one of those things, it’s kind of like, well we should have term limits or you know, Congress shouldn’t be able to make a bunch of money trading stocks because they have access to this insider information. It’s something where I think so many people would agree on it, but at the same time it probably won’t ever really go, I won’t say ever, I’m being a little cynical, but it probably won’t go away.
Brittany: Easy to be cynical.
Emma: Yeah. It probably won’t go away anytime soon when you can really see the interest that, you know, these government politicians would have in kinda keeping things the way they’re, cause you know, these special interests, they make life really, really comfortable for people in the government. And it’s kind of like this, I scratch your back, you’ll scratch mine type thing. But yeah, it’s super weird. Brittany, I don’t know if you have any closing thoughts on this as we kind of get ready to wind it down here.
Brittany: No, just kind of reinforcing what I said before. If you know you wanna stop this, then don’t give the government the power in the first place.
Emma: Yes. Oh, evergreen statement. We could say that about everything we talk about. On this podcast, but awesome. Alright. Right. Well, we will wrap it up here today, guys. Thank you so much for listening and we will talk to you all again soon.
Brittany: Talk to you soon.