KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID!
Opinion By Jan Bergemann
Published January 5, 2011
OK., folks -- election party is over: LET'S GET TO WORK!
Lots of election promises to keep, not only to the folks who supplied the election campaign checks.
face it: Florida's economy is a disaster -- the real estate market more or
We don't need rallying calls and highly paid economists telling us that it will get better soon. Remember -- economists usually make more mistakes in their economic forecasts than the weathermen make in their weather forecasts.
We have read in the last few weeks all the fancy ideas about new growth, more building and luring more employers to Florida. Isn't that exactly what got us in the mess in the first place?
numbers vary, but there are between 300,000 and 400,000 empty
homes and condos in
Every good coach in sports will tell you: "Never change a winning team!" It's sad to see that our legislators forgot about this successful approach.
economy thrived when retirees from up
North were flocking to the
We fleeced the tourists, sold them fraudulent timeshares, condos and condo conversions that turned out to be worthless. Our government ignored their complaints, even protected the scam artists. Many are gone, never to return. Spain was only too happy to accommodate these tourists -- and their money.
Retirees were lured from up North with the false promise of easy living in the sunshine. They were not told that they would be liable for paying the association dues of their neighbors who stopped paying their dues for various reasons. They were not told that our legislators would protect the banks and mortgage companies against liability for their unscrupulous lending practices that caused most of the economic disaster in our communities.
Retirees invested their life-savings in their dream homes in the sunshine, only to see their life-savings disappear into nowhere. Home equity, supposed to be used to buy into assisted living facilities if need be, disappeared overnight -- and folks have to stay in their homes -- if they are able to pay the ever-increasing bills and association assessments.
Communities, which promised protection of property values, turned into financial traps. Families are losing their homes even if they paid all the bills they initially agreed to pay.
THE COMMON DENOMINATOR FOR ALL THESE PROBLEMS: GREED!
and growth-mismanagement -- mixed with corruption and fraud -- created the
financial mess we are experiencing here in
Before we continue our political and business leaders' dreams of continued growth we should rather listen to the folks whose common sense is still down to earth. How about efforts to again attract retirees and tourists, making them feel welcome again -- not abused as cash cows for greedy scam artists and corrupt politicians? Shouldn't our chief priority be finding buyers and/or renters for all these empty buildings, condos and homes -- before they turn into moldy ruins?
and tourists have been the main ingredients in the recipe that created a
successful economy for
Let's use the old recipe to success: KISS. Keep It Simple, Stupid! Create laws and enforce these laws in order to show the potential future retirees up North and the tourists from all over the world that we are serious about encouraging them to enjoy their lives and time in Florida. That is what worked in the past and it will work again.
If we continue the current way, we destroy our country from the inside out. We have an expert in our state legislature who could lecture his colleagues about what happened to great empires that destroyed themselves from the inside out. Senate Mike Haridopolos is a history professor by trade. Nobody better qualified to tell his colleagues about the great empires that suffered downfalls, caused by greed and corruption.
WE ARE SERIOUSLY WORKING ON OUR DOWNFALL --
IF WE DON'T GET TO WORK REAL FAST!