Florida Horror Story

I was up late reading the New Yorker, Feb 9&16, ‘The Ponzi State’ by George Packer. Wow–where is Swamp Thing when you need him?

It was a very scary picture of what happens when you run a state around low taxes, ‘freedom’ from regulation, and neglecting to consider the long-term welfare of the working class.

I know that we’re all middle-class here in America, whether we make $10 an hour or $500,000 a year but we have to get over that. Most of us work. Jobs. We depend on a paycheck.

The profiles of couples who were able to support their children as bank tellers or construction workers, and who now are jobless with only a high-school education are chilling. That could be a lot of us if things continue to deteriorate.

These people who are willing, in fact, desperate to work need health insurance protection, job retraining and temporary employment to get through these times, but that would mean a change of direction.

I was wondering too, why high schools don’t teach financial literacy the way they teach algebra and geometry. Why don’t they teach civics and how to critically evaluate the tide of advertising that comes at us every day? Sex education is good and necessary, maybe we can get up the nerve to open up the topic of money some time soon.

Governor Carcieri was on the radio calling for more tax breaks for upper income Rhode Islanders. He should take a drive around greater Providence and see all the ‘for rent’ and ‘for sale’ signs. Florida had a trickle-down philosophy of government–watch what is happening there and ask if you want Rhode Island to go the same way. It’s colder here too.

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4 thoughts on “Florida Horror Story

  1. Nancy-higher taxes tend to hit middle class people the hardest.My wife and I have far under a six figuire annual income.We have family responsibilities of a financial nature.The recent meltdown left our daughter in a bad situation through no fault of her own.No unrealistic mortgage or anything of the sort.We need to help out at “home” before we start allowing Kate Brewster to dictate where our income goes.Let her pay more taxes if she’s so concerned.We still gave a substantial amount to organizations helping total strangers because it is the right thing to do-but who we gave to was OUR choice.
    BTW my daughter and her husband each work two jobs-it’s not like they’re chilling out waiting for a handout from anyone.She’s also a full time doctoral student.My son is raising a daughter on a deli counterman’s salary.Think we should give our money to Kate Brewster’s choice of recipient or but essentials for our grandaughter?I wouldn’t give a warm cup of spit to a lazy son or daughter,but that’s not who I raised.
    I am REALLY sick and tired of Kate Brewster and Linda Katz and their cohorts-I know this sounds very cynical,but sometimes it seems they are afraid that if too many people break the dependence cycle,they’ll be out of a job.

  2. i wish the new yorker story was online. the situation of couples who followed the rules and worked and supported their children is dire when the corporations move elsewhere, when the banks abandon their bad mortgages, when houses are empty and there are 30 applicants for each advertised job.
    this is a financial katrina, and if people are not able to get back to work they will end up as economic refugees, arriving in other states that have recession problems of their own.
    employment, job retraining and health insurance are needed now–jobs not handouts.

  3. Joe, sometimes you just go a bit too far.

    First, we can comfortably raise taxes on people making over $200,000. I have all kinds of real evidence that our tax structure is not driving them away. Conversely, upper-income folk are not congregating in places like Alabama, which is in the bottom five states for taxes.

    People making the most benefit disproportionately from the “public goods” provided by the state; any state. As such, asking them to pay a higher portion of their income in taxes is not an onerous burden. That is called progressive taxation.

    Sure, the top end pays most of the taxes; that’s because they have the most money.

    Second, where were you in the 90s? The real prosperity of the Clinton years truly raised all boats. Incomes climbed and welfare rolls fell. I don’t recall the Kate Brewsters of the world complaining.

    So, come on, Joe. Deal with reality. Don’t live in Republican la-la land. You have, apparently, completely bought into all the crap that Reagan and the Bushes have been selling for the last 30 years. It was crap then, it’s crap now, and it’s the reason your daughter is in the fix she’s in. I completely agree that it’s no fault of her own.

    But anyone who has voted for Reagan or GWBush does bear a share of the blame. The GOP has waged a relentless and merciless class war for the last 30 years. People who voted for the GOP have been willing foot soldiers in that war.

  4. Bush may have been crap.I know I didn’t vote for him.
    I did vote for Reagan and I think he was one of our best Presidents,even though as a Federal employee he wasn’t that good for us.I just don’t think the accusation that I live in “la la land”is legitimate.I would be happy to compare my experiences in the real world with yours.I actually have no idea what you do for a living or what your experiences are,but don’t run down my life experience.I grew up in a very economically modest situation,basiclly paycheck to paycheck.I’ve never had a capital gain in my life.I served 4 1/2 years in the military,icluding a year in Vietnam.I spent 26 years in local and Federal law enforcement and I was never a pencil pusher-all my time was spent on the edge.I’ve done some travelling around and met people from all over the world.I am also fairly well read on history and world affairs.I have dealt only with reality all my life.
    I have survived three episodes of cancer,20 years of diabetes,polio(1953),pneumonia,etc.I don’t come by my opinions by “buying into”anyone’s line of bs.
    My view of professional advocates like Brewster and her cohorts is based on listening to what they say.
    Comparing Bush and Reagan is absurd.Reagan was a master of applying pressure on our adversaries abroad without involving us in a major conflict.
    Bill Clinton managed to launch a war against Serbia and bomb numerous civilian targets while inflicting little damage on the Serbian military.Clinton was a major disappointment as President,and I have to admit I voted for him in 1992 because I didn’t like Poppa Bush either.
    I’ll never see $200,000 in income in my life,not even close to half that.Yet I feel pressured by increasing taxes.the concept of a middle class tax cut is nonsense-it never seems to work out in relaity.The filthy rich kennedy clan seems to have their money safely overseas,yet I have never heard you criticize that Embarrassment Patrick.
    Next time to want to denigrate the value of someone else’s ability to form a valid opinion,please inform we participants here on the blog what your experiential background is.

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