Too many Floridians believe that new Florida State laws should be considered "Tea Party Progress". Thinking members of society (and many Floridians) dub the last legislative session the "Tea Party War on the Poor". Just how did so many deviations from civilized thought become modern day law? How do Tea Party Republicans answer the following?:
"What is going to happen to the poor when Medicaid and other assistance is cut or eliminated? These citizens live among us now -- are they meant to sleep in tents on some piece of vacant land, eating from dumpsters until they die of privation?"
Few will be amazed to learn that the extreme Right Wing shows no emotional or intellectual understanding of this potential. They have no thoughts or solutions for these members of society -- standard Republican Tea Party mindset. The most coherent response is that Tea Party members do not like the fact that too many people are getting a "hand out" rather than a "hand up". The new phrase "hand slap down" can be added to future discussions of recent changes to Florida law.
Because only a few hundred dollars per month separate most locals from enduring a similar fate, they seem to willfully misunderstand the plight of the "working poor" living among them. Wages are stagnant or declining in a region where the top wage for blue collar women is $12 per hour, and the top wage for blue collar men hovers around $15 per hour, unless they are "management" and make up to $20 per hour. The locals that are thriving/surviving have not considered that other local workers are expected to feed and keep a roof over the heads of their family as well. Unfortunately for the majority of local blue collar workers, with only one income, they are living below the poverty level, and with two incomes, the family still qualifies for moderate level affordable housing.
There are consequences to living paycheck to paycheck in an area with few primary jobs and declining wages. A single mom was arrested for stealing food recently to feed her family. There was no one available to take care of her children while she was held in jail for the crime of trying to keep them alive. No local program existed to "cover" this situation. I cannot find any record of what happened to her or to the kids, but she and her family will not be alone in this kind of suffering. The State of Florida has done everything possible to destroy the already shredded safety net for the poor, many of whom are single women with children working more than one job while qualifying for food stamps and Medicaid.
At the same time, the State has passed a new five part law with regard to abortion rights. Of the most onerous, a pregnant woman will have to view her ultra sound or listen to a description of the fetus seen in the ultrasound prior to an abortion. This is a State that teaches "abstinence only" in most rural counties, and has lost millions of Federal dollars in "comprehensive sex education" grants for the privilege to continue this practice. While making both birth control and abortion more difficult to attain, this State has cut or eliminated aid to single parents and pregnant women via Medicaid. Rick Scott and the Republican party are waging a war on women's rights and, unfortuantely, are succeeding in ensuring that young women will have less opportunities for success than their predecessors in recent decades.
Too many people continue to believe in the sanctity of the individual's right to prosper outside the constraints of the social compact. Those that believe the "rugged individual" should prosper at all costs as well as that the free market remains viable are going to witness first hand what happens when Libertarian Ideals (aka Floridian Idiotology) turn into Social Darwinism for the poor. There will be more crime, more people living on the streets, and too many children dropping out of school and/or going hungry. Not understanding this likelihood, "Floridiots" defined as the proponents of "Floridian Idiotology", demand smaller government with less police, less firefighters, less taxation and more gun rights; they truly believe, against all odds, that all will be well once the poor do not receive assistance.
In arguing with one local male about the fact that the free market does not exist for commodities such as oil and fuel, or for monopolies such as health care and insurance, he replied that he wasn't too interested in economics! I guess that is true of Rick Scott, Paul Ryan and all the others that believe there will be no consequences from removing the social safety net and subjecting the poor to the cruelty of the "free market".
I am mentally and emotionally exhausted from arguing with these ignorant, selfish people - I have made myself physically sick in result. I am sure the poor are feeling very similar stress in their disbelief and economic insecurity. What is going to become of these poor people when they get sick? There are no new primary wage jobs being created in this area, unemployment is at 11.4%. There are no stats for underemployment, workers for whom unemployment has run out or those without health insurance. Yet, in spite of having the third highest unemployment in the country, the Florida legislature just cut employment benefits from 26 weeks to 23 weeks -- in a state that ranks 47th lowest in its unemployment payout -- $275 per week. This figure supplies a level of income that is WELL below the poverty level for a single income family.
At the same time, people are losing their homes and home values continue to decline at least 1% per month. When the local government of this Tea Party county learned that it is ranked #1 in the State for its high number of foreclosures and vacant homes,, they declined a $1 million dollar Federal grant to create new affordable housing rentals and sales. By rehabbing foreclosured properties with Federal dollars, the county could have provided at least ten homes to help shrink the list of the 350 families now waiting for a new or rehabbed Habitat for Humanity home. Yes, "idiotology" reigned supreme in that decision but then, again, this county is dominated by Tea Party (TP) rhetoric, Fox News turned on in every restaurant and doctor's office and the presence of TP thugs and bullies who shout down any voice of reason during official local meetings.
Huge disruptions to the once sought-after "Florida lifestyle" are occurring in Central Florida (and across the State). The predominance of Floridiot propaganda prevents them from opening their eyes or listening to reason. People will be living on the streets and in abandoned buildings, engendering crime and death, before it dawns on the majority that this is no way to live. The appeal of the Wild Wild West to these "rugged individuals" may diminish once the underbelly of that lifestyle becomes their every day reality.
Rick Scott has nothing in mind but taking all he can get from this State, at least just short of going to prison. The Tea Party Right elected a criminal to office and turn a blind eye to what he is doing. His bald head and white supremacist attitudes were to very alluring to many Floridians. Florida's leadership is corrupt, and in general, the rural citizenry voting in the extremists have no critical thinking abilities. They go with their gut while believing that might makes right and white reigns supreme. In result, the other half of the citizenry have to live with what the extremists created via their Floridian Idiotology. Perhaps we will evolve socially back toward reason and fairness, thereby restoring civilized society without too much more damage and loss of life.
On the other hand, thank God my husband likes guns and has lots of ammo...