When Rick Scott became Florida's governor, he proclaimed that the sunshine state was "open for business!" What he didn't say was that the doors were closed to Florida's hard-working families. Since that time, Scott and our other politicians have been busy pushing policies that are good for business and billionaires, while selling them as being good for our state.
According to Forbes magazine, our politicos are doing a great job at the "build it better for billionaires" bit. The magazine ranks Florida as the fourth best place for billionaires to build their homes and park their Bentleys. CEO's also think it is a great place to do business, placing the state as the second most favorable in Chief Executive magazine's rankings. That must be good for the rest of us, right? Maybe places like Miami are done being the best on all the worst lists! Maybe those of us fighting income inequality can just go home and be happy. Right? Right?! Not so fast.
The one list Florida should have made is the best state for the super-rich to rub how happy they are in the face of working people, because that is exactly what is happening. When you look at how the well-being of regular Floridians is faring, as Gallup did, you get a completely different picture than the rosy one painted by politicians or their billionaire patrons. In its "Well-Being" index, which measured people's feelings about their work environment, their access to basic necessities and their self-evaluation of their own "life situation," Floridians fall to the familiar bottom of the barrel of each index. When it comes to basic access to things such as clean water, access to health care and enough money for food or shelter, Florida ranks 44th. We place a pathetic 45th place in our perceived and anticipated life-situation. But the most telling ranking is with our work environment. For all the glowing reviews that billionaires give for doing business in Florida, working people don't seem to reciprocate those compliments when it comes to actually working in those businesses. When evaluating job satisfaction, supervisor treatment and other topics conducive to healthy workplaces, Floridians ranks a miserable 47th.
Why isn't this so-called "well being" trickling down? Probably, because our politicians stopped working for us a long time ago. While they are pushing policies to cut corporate taxes and gutting education, hard-working families in Miami and the rest of Florida are fighting the effects of the Great Recession on our own.The super-rich, and their supporters will still insist, even after reading this, that policies that help the rich also help the economy, and therefore contribute to all of our well-being. According to the Wall Street Journal article, nothing could be further from the truth. For all of its pro-CEO, pro-billionaire posturing, Florida's economy had the tenth slowest expansion. Compare that to New York, which was ranked by CEO's as the second worst place to do business but had the second-fastest growing economy in 2010. Hmm... maybe politicians should tick billionaires off more often.
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