In a world that seems to be bound for economic shrinkage, whether we little people want it or not, the fabulous Florida Keys seem to somehow escape the fate meted out to lesser peoples. How do I know? Because I read the newspaper.
If we read the Key West Citizen we find out that the city of Key West is awarding it's elected commissioners real wages around twenty thousand dollars a year up from the current measly $8500. That sends an odd message in a time of austerity but consider this: all of us who earn less than a hundred grand a year in the city are to get a two percent raise. I find that news astonishing as we read of bankruptcy, failure and endless unemployment Up North. Then consider Monroe County which after years of chaotic maladministration is running sufficiently well that five percent raises are proposed all round. County commissioners lack the nerve to approve the raises for their employees but nevertheless the good news remains good.
All this sunny economic well being stands in stark contrast to the reports we hear of financial Armageddon being visited on cities Up North and in Europe. Unemployment in the Keys is lower than average but that's not because we have lots of jobs. It's just that when people lose their jobs down here they bugger off back up to their families on the mainland so our stats look good by comparison. Not great at around 6%, but still not bad all things considered.
Life is different in the Keys not just because we still attract tourists, people who perhaps would be going further afield in good economic times come o theKeys no matter what when the going gets tough. The newspaper also says property values in Key West are going up and thus property taxes upon which we depend are apparently increasing. That and strong tourism means this is the land of milk and honey as our national economy shrinks.
I never ceased to be amazed by my good fortune living in the Keys.
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