What's It Like to Wake Up From a Tea Party Binge?
February 21, 2013 3:41 AM   Subscribe


 
Here's the regular version if other folks find the "print" version weird on their browsers.
posted by threeants at 3:46 AM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's really hard not to get indignant and upset about what the article is about! I'll do my best
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:09 AM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


It didn't have to be like this. In early 2011, the federal government awarded Florida a $37.5 million grant to help get patients out of nursing home care. The grant was part of a Bush-era program, but the latest round of funding ended up in a rider attached to Obamacare. And so, in June 2011, the state Legislature voted to reject the money.

Republicans said they were making a political point: "The legislature didn't feel it was appropriate to take money from a bill that is unconstitutional," then-state Rep. Mike Horner told the Orlando Sentinel. "It seemed that we were being inconsistent."


Well it was also probably because the state would then have been forced to put up matching funds and the state doesn't have the money, but that's a nice self-serving way to put it.

And the "damage" is not supposed to be "repaired." That's the point. Programs which do not have small-d democratic support insofar that people are unwilling to pay taxes for them are themselves damage and undemocratic and should be dismantled. That's pretty much what the Tea Party says and does and why people vote for them.
posted by three blind mice at 4:15 AM on February 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


cut nose spite face
posted by pipeski at 4:16 AM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have long insisted that the worst thing I could wish on these yokels is that they get exactly the government they want. Well, here it is. Too bad so many sick, poor, and powerless people had to get crushed under the wheels. And even worse, that so many of them will keep voting for the same policies.
posted by Mayor West at 4:16 AM on February 21, 2013 [27 favorites]


But of all the big pots of federal money that Florida has rejected, none quite compares with Scott's moves to block Obamacare's expansion of Medicaid to the working poor. Today, a single parent with two children can't qualify for Medicaid in Florida if she makes more than $3,200 a year—one of the nation's lowest eligibility levels. Obamacare provides funding to raise that ceiling to $25,390 for a family of three. The federal government would pick up 100 percent of the cost of the expansion for the first three years, and 90 percent in later years—sending about $73 billion in new funding to the state in the next decade, with Florida's share of the bill totaling just $9 billion... If Florida rejects the Medicaid expansion, state hospitals stand to lose about $654 million a year in federal payments for care to the uninsured—payments that were reduced in Obamacare on the assumption that hospitals would gain revenue by caring for the newly insured.

... in June, Scott announced that he would be rejecting the Medicaid expansion. "We don't need to expand a big-government program to provide for everyone's needs," he said. "What we need is to shrink the cost of health care and expand opportunities for people to get a job so more people can afford it."
So what he's basically saying is he's prepared to literally kill people, kill people that could have been saved but for avoidable treatment cuts to make a political point.

Is there no way he and the florida government could be sued for wrongful deaths due to gross negligence and failure in their duty of care?
posted by ArkhanJG at 4:21 AM on February 21, 2013 [32 favorites]


So what he's basically saying is he's prepared to literally kill people, kill people that could have been saved but for avoidable treatment cuts to make a political point.

Bear in mind that Rick Scott literally got rich by deliberately and systematically defrauding the government through his doc-in-a-boxes.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:23 AM on February 21, 2013 [46 favorites]


If you didn't see Al Madrigal's hilarious piece on the Daily Show the other day -- on the Tea Party of Florida advocating for the right for idiots to ride Manatees without being charged under the Marine Mammals Protection act -- it's priceless.

Warning, do not be drinking anything or it will be coming out your nose.
posted by spitbull at 4:24 AM on February 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


Well that was fucking disturbing, and disgusting.
posted by Dysk at 4:29 AM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


As a Florida resident this piece makes me want to cry
posted by I am the Walrus at 4:36 AM on February 21, 2013


Florida now requires the jobless to take a 45-minute online math and reading test before even applying for benefits

Wha?!

Mind you, since they are also slashing the funds for education, the teabaggers probably see this as a win-win situation from a fiscal point of view.

Apart from that, I already thought I'd plumbed the depths of human stupidity with the "Agenda 21" paranoia...and then came the "Mosquitoteers". They probably think their beloved guns will keep them safe from dengue-carrying alien diptera tarnishing their precious bodily fluids.
posted by Skeptic at 4:36 AM on February 21, 2013 [8 favorites]


And the "damage" is not supposed to be "repaired." That's the point. Programs which do not have small-d democratic support insofar that people are unwilling to pay taxes for them are themselves damage and undemocratic and should be dismantled. That's pretty much what the Tea Party says and does and why people vote for them.

Wait, what? I think there's a triple negative in there.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 4:37 AM on February 21, 2013


Not coincidentally, Scott has softened a bit, reversing course on some of his most radical budget cuts and restoring $1 billion in education funding. He is even negotiating with the Obama administration over the Medicaid expansion (but only, apparently, in an effort to turn the whole program over to private managed-care plans).

Ah, I was wondering whether this was going to be immediately overshadowed by yesterday's announcement that Scott has changed course and now endorses the Medicaid expansion. Well played, MoJo.
posted by psoas at 4:37 AM on February 21, 2013


I should go back to bed because I thought the story was going to be about a mother who was dealing with the aftermath of a tea party with a group of two-year-olds (who happened to call themselves the tea party governance) and I was wondering "how much destruction could a bunch of little two-year-olds possibly make?".

Still kinda wish the article was about that.
posted by littlesq at 4:42 AM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I once posted to my blog pictures of Rick Scott and actor Michael Berryman (who if you know him, you'd know him from such luminary pictures as the original Hills Have Eyes, as 'Pluto', or perhaps from his similar kind of character at the end of Weird Science, or even the principal in the Motley Crue video for "Smokin' In The Boys Room"). I asked people who they thought was the governor and who played the mutant in the horror movie.

The first few people to answer all picked Scott as the actor, until someone from Florida posted who was who. And then said, "But the truth of the matter is that the politician is really the cannibalistic monster."

And watch the Daily Show bit linked above. These people are, as far as I can tell, either venal as a Tammany Hall politico, dumber than a sack of hair, or utterly deranged in their thinking. They cannot be thrown from the political landscape with a trebuchet fast enough.
posted by mephron at 4:48 AM on February 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


Similar stuff going on in Maine, except that the governor is more on the crazy end of the spectrum than the evil one.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:56 AM on February 21, 2013


So it turns out there are death panels, consisting of state legislatures controlled by Tea Party republicans.
posted by TedW at 5:05 AM on February 21, 2013 [61 favorites]


So it turns out there are death panels, consisting of state legislatures controlled by Tea Party republicans.

You see! This is why you shouldn't trust the government with your healthcare. Because when we're not incompetent we're actively trying to make your life worse!
posted by MuffinMan at 5:16 AM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


.
posted by zombieApoc at 5:21 AM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


In Wisconsin, it's now illegal to use state inspection reports if you're suing a nursing home.

Since our tea party governor took over, we've slipped to 46th in job creation. hooray.
posted by drezdn at 5:24 AM on February 21, 2013 [24 favorites]


Well it was also probably because the state would then have been forced to put up matching funds and the state doesn't have the money, but that's a nice self-serving way to put it.

By "it was probably because" you mean, "I just made this up this story"

Programs which do not have small-d democratic support insofar that people are unwilling to pay taxes for them are themselves damage and undemocratic and should be dismantled.

Turns out many Americans are willing to pay taxes to take care of sick, weak, and disabled people unable to fend for themselves, when they're not being lied to about the situation by rich assholes and the ignorant hateful rubes duped into helping them.
posted by crayz at 5:24 AM on February 21, 2013 [25 favorites]


These people are, as far as I can tell, either venal as a Tammany Hall politico, dumber than a sack of hair, or utterly deranged in their thinking. They cannot be thrown from the political landscape with a trebuchet fast enough.

Democrats need to run on a tax everyone a lot more to pay for all of this really important stuff and give the voters a clear choice.

The Tea Party is at least clear that these programs are not important enough to ask people to pay taxes for. Fine. You may disagree with that and think them horrible bad people, but that's what elections are for.

Once the Democrats win on their platform of tax increases on everyone and the big money starts flowing back into the state coffers all of this debate will become moot.
posted by three blind mice at 5:26 AM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Programs which do not have small-d democratic support insofar that people are unwilling to pay taxes for them are themselves damage and undemocratic and should be dismantled.

I'm pretty sure the people of Florida are actually in support of not drinking contaminated sewage water, controlling tuberculosis outbreaks, and not suffering catastrophic shore damage during the next large hurricane. The other problem is that programs do not exist on the electoral cycle-- firing thousands of teachers one year creates educational issues that cannot be fully remedied by re-hiring some of them years later. Destroying part of the Everglades ecosystem is not something that could later be fixed by throwing money at it, despite what the company who apparently thinks it's a great place to dump mercury may think.

The Tea Party is at least clear that these programs are not important enough to ask people to pay taxes for.

I don't think this was clear to many Floridians at all, actually, which is probably why his ratings have tanked faster than Battlefield Earth.
posted by jetlagaddict at 5:31 AM on February 21, 2013 [19 favorites]


Florida now requires the jobless to take a 45-minute online math and reading test before even applying for benefits
Wha?!


How much do you want to bet it's purely an attempt to prevent monolingual Spanish speakers from accessing benefits? That's the obvious and I have no other ideas.
posted by hoyland at 5:41 AM on February 21, 2013 [8 favorites]


It sought to prevent the Osceola County health department from accessing an $8.3 million federal grant to help expand two health clinics and build a new one and rejected $50 million worth of disease prevention funding. (The state did accept a $2.6 million abstinence-only sex ed grant provided through Obamacare.)

Yup, sounds about right.
posted by staccato signals of constant information at 5:45 AM on February 21, 2013 [8 favorites]


US News columnist Peter Roff dubbed Scott's budget a "tea party dream" and speculated, somewhat prematurely, that it "almost assuredly gets him on the short list for vice president in 2012 or, depending on the outcome of that election, for president in 2016."
One of the many opportunities that Obama lost in pivoting towards deficit reduction was the spectacle of "Tea Party Republicans" rejecting Federal cash. He should have kept on throwing money at these idiots and watched as a huge fissure develop between the state and national Republican parties. But, as you can see from the quote above, DC believed that the "Tea Party" was some sort of grass-roots popular political movement, rather than playtime for our richest moron-Americans. Instead he just quietly dropped the high speed rail just when things started to heat up.

If you have any sense of local politics, the idea that state politicos would just keep on happily rejecting free federal money out of "constitutionalist" principles is just crazy which this article seems to miss in order to sell the GRAR.
posted by ennui.bz at 5:50 AM on February 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


Slightly off-topic, but the Tobacco Control article about how the Tea Party was funded by the tobacco industry just became available for free.
posted by goethean at 5:51 AM on February 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


The state Legislature has also done its part to liberate mosquitoes from the shackles of big government.

Yucks.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:01 AM on February 21, 2013


Remember, don't grant your government power assuming the best, rather grant them power assuming the worst.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:34 AM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I currently live there. I'm glad I'm not old or poor here. Also glad to be getting out within the next 2 years praise the flying spaghetti monster, may his tentacles never wither in the sun.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:01 AM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


And the "damage" is not supposed to be "repaired."

At least you've stated the Tea Party/GOP goals clearly: nothing less than the sabotage and ruination of the state and federal governments. Good thing these guys already have nice government jobs or they'd never get on another plane.

In other news, Mexican ginger Josh Treviño calls Rick Scott's medicaid capitulation the "most fruitless attempt at a conditional surrender since Jeff Davis in Danville." I don't know if this makes the citizens of Florida the confederates or the slaves.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:12 AM on February 21, 2013


Florida: America's Failed State?
posted by acb at 7:15 AM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


And the "damage" is not supposed to be "repaired." That's the point. Programs which do not have small-d democratic support insofar that people are unwilling to pay taxes for them are themselves damage and undemocratic and should be dismantled. That's pretty much what the Tea Party says and does and why people vote for them.

To be fair, both wolves when polled were 100% sure they wanted to vote to have the sheep for dinner.
posted by Talez at 7:33 AM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Florida: America's Failed State?

Now, c'mon. Indiana's just getting started. Florida had a head start.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:34 AM on February 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: America's Failed State?
posted by Strass at 7:39 AM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: America's Failed State?

If only. At least we'd have two more Elizabeth Warren types in the Senate.
posted by Talez at 7:43 AM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


So if unemployment is $275 a week, and the MedicAid cutoff is $3,200 a year, that means even unemployed folk don't qualify for free healthcare? How could anybody qualify then?
posted by Jehan at 7:57 AM on February 21, 2013 [8 favorites]


>>Programs which do not have small-d democratic support insofar that people are unwilling to pay taxes for them are themselves damage and undemocratic and should be dismantled.

I'm pretty sure the people of Florida are actually in support of not drinking contaminated sewage water, controlling tuberculosis outbreaks, and not suffering catastrophic shore damage during the next large hurricane.


Exactly. Most of the time, what's really happened is that a majority of voters is stupid enough to believe they can continue to get the things they want but pay virtually nothing for it. There are plenty of states (and, frankly, Florida is one of them) that would be virtually uninhabitable were it not for bucket-loads of government support. Sure, the Tea Partiers in Florida don't want to pay any tax. But pretty soon when they find that they can't get treated for their mosquito-borne dengue fever and contaminated-water-borne e. coli infection because the for-profit hospitals didn't think it was profitable to rebuild after the last tropical storm in the absence of disaster relief assistance... they're going to be singing another tune.
posted by slkinsey at 8:00 AM on February 21, 2013 [9 favorites]


The Tea Party is at least clear that these programs are not important enough to ask people to pay taxes for. Fine. You may disagree with that and think them horrible bad people, but that's what elections are for.

Yeah, crystal clear about taking advantage of an infrastructure that's the product of significant investment, wanting to cut public investment and explaining its effects. One out of three ain't that bad. As for elections on certain matters, the phrase 'tyranny of the majority' was coined by an American, wasn't it.
posted by ersatz at 8:06 AM on February 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


Programs which do not have small-d democratic support insofar that people are unwilling to pay taxes for them are themselves damage and undemocratic and should be dismantled. That's pretty much what the Tea Party says and does and why people vote for them.

People or state primary voters? The Tea Party is just another example of how activists can push a party by being "high information" voters, in particular, by voting in primary elections where no one else is motivated to participate. Then in the general election, people vote R or D for whatever turd got shat out of the primary because they want to be responsible voters.

The problem is that it takes either a burning desire to climb the party hierarchy or an ideological fervor to combat negro communists poisoning our precious bodily fluids to get someone to give a crap about the upcoming election for state water commissioner.
posted by ennui.bz at 8:07 AM on February 21, 2013


they're going to be singing another tune

Yes but what tune is the question. If the state were to collapse personally I think they're going to be singing "We Are All Loyal Klansmen" before they sing about the virtues of high taxes and strong government keeping capitalist greed in check.
posted by Talez at 8:11 AM on February 21, 2013


For strokes, for cancer, for the wooping cough,
the state has one solution: "Walk it off."
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:13 AM on February 21, 2013 [7 favorites]


I discovered Florida around 2006. By discovered, I mean a vacation with friends to the Keys. Since then, I've been back to different parts almost every year, and I am smitten. I discovered my own personal paradise around the Indian River Lagoon. Every time I return home to Wisconsin, I start searching for homes and jobs in the area. I love wildlife and I love the ocean, and there is more there than I dreamed possible. I want to live there some day, it would truly be like living in paradise, being able to do plankton tows whenever I want.

Then I read things like this and go "my god, how could I possibly live there without murdering everyone?"

Liberals, come with me to Florida. Let's live in paradise and kick the tea partiers out. It's too beautiful to leave for the crazies.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 8:22 AM on February 21, 2013 [12 favorites]


>>they're going to be singing another tune

Yes but what tune is the question. If the state were to collapse personally I think they're going to be singing "We Are All Loyal Klansmen" before they sing about the virtues of high taxes and strong government keeping capitalist greed in check.


Some of them would be, I imagine. But considering that non-Hispanic whites comprise only around 58% of the Florida population -- which percentage is shrinking every day -- those who do sing that song might not find that it has the effect they were hoping for.
posted by slkinsey at 8:26 AM on February 21, 2013


Only when you live in Florida can you really understand just how dysfunctional a place it really is. The state legislature controlled by a republican super majority has been waging war on the state's citizens for years. I knew Rick Scott would win when he ran against the milquetoast democratic candidate Alex Sink and at the time I said a Scott administration is EXACTLY what the state needed because it would finally show the tea party for the bunch of frauds they are. There's a large swath of the population here that have come from somewhere else to retire or start over and they've heard the myth that living in Florida is cheap and easy. They basically don't believe the social contract applies to them so they expect all of the trappings of civil society but non of the responsibility for paying for it. Gov Scott and the republican legislature have let this narrow-minded group of individuals dictate policy and now you have a population that by-and-large hates the governor and is fed up with Tallahassee. Gov Scott knows the voters of Florida despise him so he's started tempering his policies such as proposing every teacher receive a $2500 raise across the board and as of this morning a complete about face on medicare expansion via Obamacare. He's trying to portray himself as being stuck between a rock-and-a-hard place and that his only option is to give in to the federal government on medicare. Of course the tea party is pissed and the head of the largest tea party org actually used the word traitor on NPR this morning. The truly sad thing is that the same NPR story reported a statistic that 1 in 4 Floridians will be helped by the medicare expansion.

I was born in Florida, went to school here, my family is here and I run a small business here but not a day goes by that I don't think about leaving. My hope is that with 2 more years of a Scott administration he will continue to be hated and the tea party will self destruct by continuing to be bat shit insane and maybe we'll start to see some moderate responsible law makers elected but I'm not holding my breath.
posted by photoslob at 8:28 AM on February 21, 2013 [25 favorites]


Here in godless liberal Californian, I can only laugh. Move here, photoslob. We have better oranges, too.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:43 AM on February 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


Liberals, come with me to Florida. Let's live in paradise and kick the tea partiers out.

Yeah, but then they'd just move into Georgia or *shudder* SC. Let's just keep them contained... for now.

Florida: It's like Wikipedia's sandbox, in real life!
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:59 AM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Liberals, come with me to Florida. Let's live in paradise and kick the tea partiers out. It's too beautiful to leave for the crazies.

I lived in Florida for a few years. Giant fucking cockroaches and summers so hot and humid that just waiting at the bus stop turned my ass crack into the Amazon River. Of course, I moved back to PA, where the politics have gotten just as derpy and I recently discovered the Pensylvania wood cockroach, so I guess all I really gained was weather that doesn't turn me into a sweat factory.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:04 AM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


So if unemployment is $275 a week, and the MedicAid cutoff is $3,200 a year, that means even unemployed folk don't qualify for free healthcare? How could anybody qualify then?

Unemployment benefits only last for so long--the amount of time you can receive them is based on how much you earned (because unemployment is an insurance program that only pays out in proportion to how much you--and/or your employer on your behalf--paid into the system). That's one of the reasons it's so disgusting how people keep referring to unemployment as a handout: the only people who even qualify are people who paid into the system, and even then, the system is basically designed to pay out less than the claimant's personal contribution to the system.

No matter how many weeks you are eligible, you cannot receive more than 26 weeks of unemployment per benefit year in Florida unemployment compensation.

So lawmakers have pulled off a hugely successful swindle in Florida, convincing people to willingly allow them to impose conditions on and to limit the return in benefits they get from their own contributions to the system. Basically, they want to be able to just spend all that money on their own investment schemes, rather than return it to its rightful owners in the form of the benefits it was originally supposed to guarantee.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:13 AM on February 21, 2013 [12 favorites]


Dirigibleman, I hate going outside in the winter here in Wisconsin. And our summers are stupidly hot and humid (though not for as long). My thinking is that hiding inside during the hottest weather is no different than during the coldest here. The difference is no snow to battle when you do have to go out. Plus baby turtles in the spring. Baby freaking turtles.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 9:13 AM on February 21, 2013


Liberals, come with me to Florida. Let's live in paradise...

Is there another Florida I'm not aware of? Or have I been mistaken as to what "paradise" means?
posted by Thorzdad at 9:14 AM on February 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


I grew up in Florida. Couldn't be paid enough to go back. Paradise or no damn paradise; it's full of cranky old people, and more than would seem demographically possible, full of the crazy. Plus, bugs. Also, tourists.

And the infrastructure in Florida, just like in most of the South, was for crap before all this began, and it's going to take years to clean up after the mess the Teahadists are making.

No, what we are seeing in Florida is what's going to happen in the rest of the country, if we don't do something to counteract their corporate funded grass roots "activism". We have got to get moderates and progressives elected.

We have to slough off the insane, hell, give em part of Florida to build Glenn Beck's AynRandoptia. Let 'em live off the grid for a while, trying to grow their own food, and educate their own children, and swat their own mosquitoes; they'll quickly learn the value of a culture with a social agenda geared towards cooperation.

I think the problem is that most moderates and progressives are really polite. And rightwing zealots are bullies about what they believe; they will yell and scream and rage, and call it political discourse.
posted by dejah420 at 9:17 AM on February 21, 2013 [7 favorites]


Pope Guilty: "Bear in mind that Rick Scott literally got rich by deliberately and systematically defrauding the government through his doc-in-a-boxes."

I thought this was hyperbole, and then I read the guy's wikipedia entry. Holy shit. How in the world did this guy get elected?
posted by Big_B at 9:22 AM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


We have to slough off the insane, hell, give em part of Florida to build Glenn Beck's AynRandoptia.

But the baby turtles. WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE BABY TURTLES?!
posted by [insert clever name here] at 9:24 AM on February 21, 2013


"Mosquitoteers"

What the fuck? Is that even a real thing

*googles*


(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:29 AM on February 21, 2013 [8 favorites]


Mosquitoteers:
The Republican challengers believe AMCD [Anastasia Mosquito Control District] has operated in the red and is living on reserves, a charge the incumbents say is not true.

For example, [Mosquitoteer] Smith claimed there is a “$714 net operating loss in this year’s budget.”

[Non-Mosquitoteer] Browning, a school teacher turned businesswoman, called that an “outlandish accusation” and “dirty politics. He knows that’s not true.”
Seven hundred and fourteen dollars? Seriously?

I don't live anywhere near this bug-infested hellhole, but I'm willing to personally cover that shortfall for their Mosquito Control if the Mosquitoteers would promise, in turn, to shut the hell up and stay out of politics.
posted by Flunkie at 10:18 AM on February 21, 2013 [7 favorites]


I'm a liberal, but I'm tired of this shit. When do we - ever - hold people responsible for their own actions? Do we believe in democracy or don't we? Elections have consequences.

This is not Soviet Russia. If the voters freely choose to turn Florida into a shithole, who exactly is responsible? If you can't be arsed to vote in primaries, but complain about the caliber of politician that stands for election, whose fault is it exactly? There will always - always - be mendacious, conniving, thieving, and ignorant politicians, because there will always be mendacious, conniving, thieving and ignorant people in the population. Your job is not to elect them into positions of power.

If you live in a democracy and don't bother to get informed, get involved and vote, what right do you have to complain? If you did all that, but don't like the outcome, well, that's democracy, ain't it? Don't like it, do something about it.

I'm tired of reading about scumbag politicians. They only exist because they were voted in. Blaming a politician is like blaming a shark for being a shark. The real fault lies with the voters - the politicians are merely the mirror held up to the voter mass.
posted by VikingSword at 12:23 PM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]




I think the problem is that most moderates and progressives are really polite. And rightwing zealots are bullies about what they believe; they will yell and scream and rage, and call it political discourse.

Absolutely agree. Tom Ashbrook's program Tuesday about the sequester was a great example of this.
posted by MarvinTheCat at 1:06 PM on February 21, 2013


I'm tired of reading about scumbag politicians. They only exist because they were voted in. Blaming a politician is like blaming a shark for being a shark. The real fault lies with the voters - the politicians are merely the mirror held up to the voter mass.

You have to consider who the voters are though: Florida's got a massive population of aging retirees who have decided as a bloc they don't give a damn about their "social obligations" anymore. Meanwhile, it's also got a massive underprivileged population that barely has the time to think about anything other than making ends meet, if they're lucky enough to have work at all. Also, we've had systematic state congressional gerrymandering for years, and some of the most problematic voting laws in the nation. Fault doesn't really change the facts. It's tempting to say "that state gets what it deserves," but in the end, we're all in the same boat. Florida's economic and political failures end up costing everyone because Florida and other failed states consume more Federal revenue than they generate.

tl;dr: personal feelings of frustration that feed into the nihilistic urge to say "just screw them, then, they deserve it" don't really count for squat.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:43 PM on February 21, 2013 [11 favorites]


"Nowhere in the country is it this hard to get help when you lose a job," said Valory Greenfield, a staff attorney at Florida Legal Services.

Is it ever. I called the local unemployment agency when I was six months out of work and had had to move back in with my parents in FL, and the lady who answered said I wasn't eligible for benefits and then she just about broke down in despair: if someone with a master's in a technical field couldn't find entry-level work, what hope was there for the rest of her clients?
posted by casarkos at 1:52 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Too bad so many sick, poor, and powerless people had to get crushed under the wheels.

That was the whole IDEA behind the formation of the Nation.

Only landholders could vote at one time.

And the system is working 'as intended' at the moment.

The system isn't supposed to work for the 'sick, poor, and powerless'.
posted by rough ashlar at 2:16 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


> They basically don't believe the social contract applies to them so they expect all of the trappings of civil society but non of the responsibility for paying for it.

This way of thinking has spread, like a fog, seemingly across the whole of North America. Toronto voted its own Tea Party Mayor in a couple of years ago and his support consists of people who want subway lines built to their front door but faint in rage at the thought of paying anything but less in taxes.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:40 PM on February 21, 2013


ArkhanJG: "Is there no way he and the florida government could be sued for wrongful deaths due to gross negligence and failure in their duty of care?"

Nah - if they did that that'd set a precedence to go after Capitalism in all its guises for all of its negligent genocide, and we wouldn't want to do that!
posted by symbioid at 4:03 PM on February 21, 2013


I think we should give the Libertarians and Tea Baggers Florida. Just let 'em have it all. But there are two specific terms they must agree to before given the keys to the state. One, they must cut government to the bare minimum. And I mean minimum. Which they will agree to, since that's the base of their philosophy.

Two, they must stay in power and keep the government down to size for at least ten years. Politicians must be Republicans/Libertarians/Tea Partiers. So it'll be a Libertarian petri dish of sorts.

A decade later even the top leaders of the state would be begging to be let back into the modern world.

(I kid, of course this is a horrible idea, but is there anything that can be done to hold a mirror up to these loons?)
posted by zardoz at 4:38 PM on February 21, 2013


You know, there is a way to fix this sort of this sort of shit. This year was the first in over a decade that California had a balanced budget -- a surplus actually. And how did we do it? Our governor asked us to raise taxes, and we said, "Yes!" And whaddaya know, we're totally cool with it.

Wow. Levying taxes to pay for services. What a concept.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:39 PM on February 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


What we need is a giant saw. Saw it off, give it a good kick with our foot, and suddenly Florida is Cuba's problem.
posted by Foam Pants at 5:15 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Seven hundred and fourteen dollars? Seriously?

Later in the article, it mentions a 714 thousand dollar deficit; the first figure was probably a typo. Not that they still aren't crazy.
The budget document Smith relies on does show the district with a $714,000 operating deficit, but Browning said that is only a contingency budget, a “worst-case scenario,” which was never used and is now moot.
posted by BinGregory at 7:24 PM on February 21, 2013


Afroblanco: Wow. Levying taxes to pay for services. What a concept.

California is kind of a special case, because the voters, through California's initiative process, which bypasses the Legislature and governor, passed lots of bills mandating that the government spend a certain amount on programs, and then absolutely refused to raise taxes to pay for those programs. So California, gradually, became a fiscal wreck, as the government was forced to borrow to pay for programs it wasn't allowed to fund properly.

The lesson I took from that is that if you want to make raising taxes hard, which is cool, then you have to make raising spending even harder, because spending is always popular, but taxation is not.

If you want to require a 66% supermajority to raise taxes, for example, then you'd better require 70% to raise spending.
posted by Malor at 8:42 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Still, the fact remains that California, the very birthplace of Ronnie's career and the "sagebrush rebellion", agreed, en masse, to raise taxes so we could balance the fucking budget. And it worked. And we're happy about it.

And what's totally fucking sad is how, when I talk about this, I feel like I'm talking about something strange and revolutionary, when in fact it's just things fucking working for a change.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:45 PM on February 21, 2013 [8 favorites]


And what's totally fucking sad is how, when I talk about this, I feel like I'm talking about something strange and revolutionary, when in fact it's just things fucking working for a change.

Well, you know what Winston Churchill once said about Americans and your good judgment:

You can always count on Americans to do the right thing—after they've tried everything else.

Mind you, he may have been influenced by his notoriously erratic, egocentric American mother...
posted by Skeptic at 3:26 AM on February 22, 2013


Still, the fact remains that California, the very birthplace of Ronnie's career and the "sagebrush rebellion", agreed, en masse, to raise taxes so we could balance the fucking budget. And it worked. And we're happy about it.

And what's totally fucking sad is how, when I talk about this, I feel like I'm talking about something strange and revolutionary, when in fact it's just things fucking working for a change.


California is a very different place compared to the conservative 1960-1980 period. After the massive military base shutdowns and cold war demobilization (think contractors not troops) that started in 1989 large conservative elements of the populace were wholesale removed from the state and the politics became significantly more liberal. 1992 for instance is when California flipped from a red state to its now semi-permanent blue in the presidential election.

The election of a supermajority D legislature, the willingness of that supermajority to consider tax increases and the passing of prop 30 all point to a new era of sensible governance in California. Maybe now we can repeal prop 13 and start to undo the 35 years of fucking carnage it has inflicted on local government and school systems.
posted by Talez at 9:01 AM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's a large swath of the population here that have come from somewhere else to retire or start over and they've heard the myth that living in Florida is cheap and easy. They basically don't believe the social contract applies to them so they expect all of the trappings of civil society but non of the responsibility for paying for it.

This is so true and despair-inducing. I've lived in FL for over 30 years now and I can tell you this attitude is surprisingly common. And it's not just snake-hunting yokels who live on fan-boats in the swamps thinking this. There's a reason Romney gave his little 47% speech to a country club audience here.

That bit about Agenda 21 also kills me. I've seen enough "Info Warrior" bumper stickers, even in my little backwater, to lose all faith in the critical thinking abilities of electorate.

Don't come to Florida. It's awful. I'd relocate if we could afford it, especially now that I'm about to have a kid and face the nightmarescape that is public education down here.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 9:11 AM on February 22, 2013




(Ditto here, kitty stardust! Oh how nice it would be to relocate... Unfortunately, no one else seems to want to live here either anymore, which makes being shackled to a money-pit of a house that probably couldn't be sold for half of what's still owed on it just a little frustrating now and then. Why, hello there, jug of wine! Thanks for offering. Don't mind if I do...)
posted by saulgoodman at 9:10 PM on February 22, 2013


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