Arianna Huffington points to an troubling dichotomy in Florida – people with jobs losing their homes in the foreclosure crisis and education budgets being slashed while well to do retirees ignore the whole problem so long as they can ride around their carefully manufactured world on golf carts.
It’s a story about much more than some people doing better than others. In the course of his interviews, Ben examines the economic gulf that increasingly separates the old from the young, putting flesh and blood on what one economist calls a coming “demographic train wreck.” As the number of elderly Floridians increases, with those over 85 emerging as the fastest-growing group, state leaders are slashing billions from the public education budget, and opportunities for young people — like Dennis Hebert, an unemployed 26-year-old who for a time had to move his wife and young son into their car — are dwindling. Forty percent of Florida’s recent college graduates are unable to find work in the state — a dilemma that’s affecting young people in all parts of the country. As William Collon, a 75-year-old Villages resident, puts it: “The retired folks around here have done just fine. It’s the young people who got in trouble.”
As an aside, the Villages sounds like my vision of hell:
. . . the world’s largest retirement community, the Villages, with 88,000 residents. Here, in stark contrast to the blight of foreclosure, bulldozers clear land for yet more housing construction and residents navigate the pristine grounds in golf carts. The telling statistics are not boom-and-bust home sale prices but amenities: 95 restaurants, 63 swimming pools, 513 holes of golf.
Nothing but old people? 88,000 of them driving around on golf carts all day? It sounds like hell.