With all the recent hype about the Great Recession being over there remains a deep seeded undercurrent of distress that millions are facing every day. For Tom Jenkins another day in paradise, this being Florida, is filled with an endless struggle just to make ends meet. Even then Tom so often remains on the short end of the stick. Having moved recently to Florida hoping to escape the harsh cold Chicago winters only to find another kind of harsh cold reality in the land of eternal sunshine didn't take long to sink in. Having a degree in Bio-Chemistry from Northwestern Tom thought it would be easy to find work in his field in Florida. Hoping to capitalize on his recent work experience at a research lab in Chicago but when budget cuts eliminated his position Tom had a notion that things would be better in Florida. With over $45,000 in student loan debt Tom was anxious to get back to work. But like so many people who thought the land of opportunity was in Florida found out very quickly that door to opportunity was locked tight.
The sad misfortune for so many like Tom who come to Florida only to find out when they get here the harshness of Florida's economic picture is as dark as it gets. The so called "Let's get to work" slogan that carried our current Governor into office has generated a business climate of service and retail employment opportunities and even those are in limited supply. The sad state of affairs in Florida is not unique either, practically every other state is faced with a similar reality. Few higher wage employment opportunities, amidst a lager percentage of service and retail industries where wages are so far behind the inflationary trends that is sweeping the nation. All this adds up to is millions of Americans unable to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.
A case in point is in Osceola County Fl. the average wages are under $24,000 that's if you manage to be hired. And, if you are hired it is in the service industry that dominates all of Osceola County and most of Florida. Affordable housing, well, lets just say for the workers the picture is bleak at best. Wages don't even come close to managing an average rent of $800 per month. And that is on the low side. What this translates is that so many workers are so financially strapped now they have to rely on governmental assistance like Food Stamps. But, with this years Federal budget cuts in those safety nets have made matters even worse. What is so alarming is the fact that our fat cats in our state houses continue to look the other way. It is a known fact that Disney World is the number one tourist destination where those mega million tourists dollars should be proportionally disbursed into employee wages but aren't. For all the tourist industry does in Florida and anywhere else there is a high profile tourist destination the employees that make it all possible for those to enjoy these destinations are not recipients of wages commiserative of all the money spent in these destinations.
Many legislators in state houses all across the country continue to think that the average worker in the service and retail industries are high school and college age kids working at summer jobs just for chump change. The reality today is a far cry from the soda jerk of 50 years ago. The work force that makes up the majority of workers in our service and retail fields are college graduates, single mothers, laid off workers, middle age men and women, and seniors who have to try to supplement their meager social security because they have lost their pensions and trying to keep pace with the rising medical costs. All are working for that chump change. The sad reality today is that with all this service oriented industry has created a dynamic of homelessness and working poor that has not been seen since the Great Depression.
What makes matters even worse right here in Florida our state house and Governor ever since the Affordable Health Car Act, was implemented turned their noses at Federal Health Care funding. Meanwhile medical costs like everything else has continued to soar leaving millions more so impoverished it is an another American tragedy. What is so pathetic is that our own elected officials said they would correct a great injustice that being Obama Care when in reality have done nothing. Our most benevolent leaders of state whose own callous demure is another shinning example of the political expediency of the times.
For Tom Jenkins and others like him with student loans looming the likelihood of climbing out of that mountain of debt with the limited employment opportunities available is very remote. The prognosis today in seeking meaningful employment where wages equate to the cost of living is grave. The newfound reality is a nation that has surrendered our economic future. A painful reminder of what our political reality today has done. The sign of the times when wages for the past four years have decreased for the majority of workers leaves little doubt that things won't improve. It has been our political structure has degraded to the point that a democratic republic has ceased to exist for the majority of Americans. A new political reality where the smallest minority, the wealthiest few, now control the destinies of the majority. A destiny the leaves the Tom Jenkins of America unable to ever reach that ladder of upward mobility.