1. Florida Politics

Romano: Does the Florida in Rick Scott's TV ads have any vacancies?

Published Sep. 23, 2014

The time has come for me to move on.

I have discovered a new and spectacular locale that defies belief. It is a place where the economy is bustling, and the problems are inconsequential.

People are always smiling, the environment is pristine and no one seems to care about, or need, health insurance of any type.

No doubt about it, I want to live in Rick Scott's commercials.

Seriously, it looks like everyone has a job in Commercial Florida. And they don't seem to mind if the job is only part-time or that they are being paid minimum wage.

Meanwhile, corporations are completely charitable in Rick Scott's Florida. They don't need to pay taxes because, gosh, they do so much for us already.

And the state Constitution is, like, totally bendy in that version of Florida. You ignore the laws you don't like, and get all We-the-People everywhere else.

Yup, that's the place I want to live.

'Cause, and this is a little sad to admit, the Florida in those commercials looks a lot better than the state where I actually reside.

You see, my Florida has problems. Life-crushing, soul-numbing problems for real people who aren't fortunate enough to make the cut in Commercial Florida.

In my Florida, there are a lot of people in poverty. More poverty than in most places in the United States. According to a study released by the U.S. Census Bureau last week, the poverty level in Florida was 17 percent. That's nearly one out of every five people.

I'm just guessing, but if those folks could afford cable television, they might not recognize the Florida in Gov. Scott's campaign commercials.

In my Florida, the middle class is practically a rumor. The median household income of $46,036 is about 10 percent lower than the national average.

If you include Washington, D.C., the median income in Florida is 40th in the nation, and is actually worse than it was the year before Scott took office. They keep talking about new jobs in Commercial Florida but those jobs never seem to translate into livable wages in the real world.

In my Florida, you better pray for good health for you and your family. Because that census report says 20 percent of Floridians have no health insurance, which is the third-worst rate in the United States behind Nevada and Texas.

Not to belittle our Southern neighbors, but it's kind of eye-opening to be trailing Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi in anything other than college football.

And yet, as bad as all of that seems, there is an even more damning difference between Commercial Florida and the one most of us live in.

The census has an index that measures income inequality. Basically it shows the gap between the super rich and the super poor.

The income gap in Florida is tied for the sixth-worst in the nation. Somehow, to me, that seems more disturbing than everything else.

Because what that says is, there is plenty of money floating around this state. But instead of floating into your house, it is apparently confined to a handful of wealthy neighborhoods.

So, yeah, I'm more than willing to move on.

Just one question:

Do you need to bring your own Coppertone to Rick Scott's Florida, or is the sun fake, too?


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