Weekend chores on a Florida barrier island begin with a stop at the local convenience store/gas station.
This mom-and-pop operation relies on seasonal tourists to show a profit. They bought the business from a pair of Pakistani brothers, who knew how to turn a profit. Mom and Pop, in their late 50s, moved from their Wisconsin farm, now being run by their kids.
Mom opens the store at 6 a.m., and Pop closes at 8 p.m., splitting a 14-hour day. Mom begins by clearing trash left by partiers from a nearby bar and grill that closes at 4 a.m. In the summer, most of the bar’s clientele are locals, who keep the business going until the snowbirds (U.S. and Canadian) begin their annual migration in the fall.
Across the street is a block of rental duplexes, where tenants tend to be local grifters and nomads, and their girlfriends. The somewhat shabby buildings are on the main road several blocks from the beach.
Town police make frequent visits usually for intoxication and domestic violence. Homeowners, those who reside year-round and those who winter on the island, ask the town commission to do something about the duplexes, but the landlords counter that not all people living on the island are millionaires, and they have rights too.
I purchase gas and some lottery tickets. Mom looks bewildered and says, “The lottery? You aren’t the type.” I reply, “As my eldest son says, it is a tax on the stupid, but I see it as a donation to the state. I would rather the state have it, than have Mr. Obama redistribute it.”
Mom’s eyes light up, “Can you imagine Obama and Congress passing 99 weeks of workers compensation for those lazy bums? Like clockwork at noon every day, they start filing in for 6 packs and 12 packs of beer and bottles of wine. At 6 or thereabouts, they wander over to the bar and stay for hours, even until dawn. I have found them sleeping on our gas islands. They couldn’t make it across the street.
"They joke about living off workers comp and welfare and their girlfriends’ paychecks. They say they will not work for peanuts and that the government owes them a living. These bums just expect handouts. What is Congress thinking? There are some legitimate unemployed but, these people never work.”
Mom sighs, “I get up at 5 every morning and start cleaning the area by 5:30. While our young people are fighting in Iraq, these loafers just demand more and more handouts. The bleeding hearts in Washington give it to them.”
Heading for the door, I say, “They vote and that is what the pols count on.” Mom’s parting words are, “They are too lazy to vote, unless they are paid. I saw it in Chicago and Milwaukee.”
Next I head for the supermarket. Gathering my groceries, I choose the checkout line manned by a retired businessman, who is working for the health benefits. His business in the Midwest employed 150 workers, but he sold it when the labor union problems began to intensify. He notes that, although his employees made more than he did, Obama would classify him as “the rich.”
He laments the class warfare mentality of the president and most Democrats but admits to being a lifelong Democrat. Current Democrats, he says, lack the stature of Harry Truman, Scoop Jackson, and Jack Kennedy.
Today he has something to show me — a lengthy supermarket receipt for items including steaks, shrimp, and crab-meat purchased using a food stamps credit card.
The remaining balance on the card is in excess of $2,000.
“Wow,” I comment. “That is some card, some money, some good deal. Was it a local or a tourist?” He says it was a person who spoke very little English but managed to question the amount of the purchases.
The teenage bagger, hearing the conversation says, “I never saw $2,000 in my life. Some people get it all.”
A 60-something man behind me in line laughs, “What do you expect from the redistribution of wealth — Obama economics. It ain’t his money, and what’s ours is now everyone’s. You wanted change, and you are getting it. The Democrats have the greatest scam going — a sucker is born every minute.”
Back home, I open the paper to read that Florida's Gov. Charlie Crist has signed an executive order extending jobless benefits in the state. The beach bums thus are assured their booze money. Why work, when they have 99 more weeks of free money?
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