By Yaël Ossowski | Florida Watchdog

ST PETERSBURG — A trait that is often regrettably lost when a politician takes office is consistency in both rhetoric and action.

The rhetoric that fiscal conservatives in Florida and across the country have been successful in conveying and repeating is the idea that the federal government cannot create jobs.

This is the mantra Florida Gov. Rick Scott repeated at the Conservative Political Action Conference inOrlando on Sept. 23, 2011.

“In Florida, the unemployment rate has gone from 12 percent down to 10.7. We’re still above the national average, but we’ve generated 87,200 private sector jobs — private sector! And we have 15,000 less government jobs in the state of Florida. Government doesn’t create jobs,” Scott said to cheers.

But in a letter addressed to congressional leaders on Aug. 2, Scott seemed to change his tone, emphasizing the very positive impact that federal spending enjoys in the subsidization of defense contractors in the Sunshine State.

“I respectfully request your careful consideration of the impacts of the estimated $500 billion in anticipated defense cuts,” wrote Scott, pleading for a stopgap in the sequestration cuts that are slated to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2013.

The $500 billion in general cuts to the discretionary budget of the Pentagon over a decade will represent less than $50 billion per year.

Considering that the current military budget exceeds $1 trillion annually, the sequestration as applied would affect 0.5 percent of total military spending every year, an amount that would still put the United States leagues ahead of other countries in terms of government investment in arms and armies.

Scott goes on to add that more than 680,000 jobs in Florida are either indirectly or directly tied to federal funding to defense contractors — meaning that the funds are directly tied to creating or sustaining jobs.

“Clearly, the defense presence in Florida plays a critical role in protecting our nation and in supporting our economy,” wrote Scott, a sentence that  the Florida League of Defense Contractors, the main lobby for arms manufacturers in the Sunshine State, had to practically take credit for on their website.

“We did not plant this sentence, but it mirrors FLDC’s logo: “Equipping America’s Heroes, Creating Florida Jobs,” said the FLDC in a blog post on Thursday.

Scott’s office declined to comment on this connection, as well as his rhetorical swing toward jobs sustained by the federal treasury.

If Scott is to make this issue significant enough to address a letter to Congress, perhaps he should consider changing his mantra: government cannot create jobs but it must sustain them as long as possible.

Better yet: government cannot create jobs except for building weapons and gear for our soldiers.

Being honest, fair and consistent is what win, not changing teams at the earliest convenience.

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