Guest Post: Florida – Much Worse Problems Than the Oil Spill

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Doug Hornig of The Casey Report

Florida – Much Worse Problems Than the Oil Spill

Media coverage of the oil spill’s effect on the Gulf focusing on
tourist income lost by the waterfront towns – with footage of empty
beaches, restaurants and T-shirt shops – dominates the news. Interviews
with devastated business owners are heart rending. But they always end
with references to somehow hanging on until “things get back to

Trouble is, things are not going to “normalize.” Not for the Panhandle
of Florida, and probably not for the rest of the state, either.

Projections suggest that Florida can expect oil all along its west
coast, and possibly throughout the Keys and up the east coast as well.
Yet even before BP’s well began spewing crude, pressures within the
state’s economy were building. It was an explosive situation awaiting a

Oily beaches and dying wildlife are likely that match.

Take unemployment. Statewide, it ballooned from 3% in 2006 to a peak of
12.3% in February 2010. Though it’s backed off, it remains in
double-digit territory at 11.2%. ”Officially” – though official numbers
understate the problem. Illegal immigrants, some 4.5% of Florida’s
population, aren’t counted; the long-term unemployed and aging workers
are regularly purged, even if they’re still looking for work.

This in a state already confronted with the worst of the coming
healthcare/taxation crunch. It has the second oldest population in the
nation, and as its citizens retire, their earnings fall off, causing
tax revenues to drop. At the same time, healthcare bills rise,
stressing social service budgets.

Florida is ground zero for Baby Boomer demographics. With 600 seniors
for every 1,000 workers now, and the number trending inexorably higher,
soon every employed person in the state will essentially have to adopt
one senior to care for out of his or her paycheck.

Housing? Naturally, rising unemployment amplifies the difficulties of
maintaining homeownership. With further negative effects from the oil,
we can only expect the situation to worsen. A tsunami of defaults and
foreclosures – and bank failures – would not be a surprise.

Florida is mortgaged to the hilt. It ranks second only to California in
total securitized non-agency mortgage loans, 10% of the national
total. Of those, half are 60 days or more delinquent, or 16% of all
such mortgage delinquencies in the country, the highest ratio anywhere.

The state is full of retirees trying to live on modest incomes while
hanging on to their homes. Unsurprisingly, this has led to a
disproportionate amount of at-risk loans. 85% of the statewide pool is
rated Alt-A or Subprime.

Nor has the crash in prices bypassed the Sunshine State. Nationally,
fewer than 30% of houses sold for a loss in the past year, compared to
nearly 50% in Miami and 65% in Orlando.

Many would-be sellers are clinging to the cliff edge by their
fingernails. Overall, 81% of all Florida loans are under water, with
the average mark-to-market loan-to-value ratio standing at 138%. Almost
40% of borrowers are crushed beneath debt of more than 150% of the
value of their homes.

State government is no better off.

As the oil cuts into employment prospects, tax revenues will nosedive –
and even before the blowout, the state was broke. The projected budget
shortfall for fiscal year 2011 was $4.7 billion. What it will actually
be is anyone’s guess – a bigger number is baked in the cake – but at
$4.7 billion, it already represented more than 22% of the FY10 budget.

Both tax hikes and service cuts are political suicide. And desperately raising taxes in a depressed economy tends to decrease revenue, anyway. Yet a balanced budget is mandated by law. Where will the additional money and/or savings come from?

Then there’s Florida’s $113.8 billion public pension fund. It must
generate earnings of 7.75% per year to meet its commitments to the
nearly one million public employees and retirees who depend on it.

What investment safely yields 7.75% today? Nothing. So the fund’s
administrators are asking for permission to try some “riskier”
investments. Maybe they’ll succeed. Or maybe they’ll wind up staring
down the barrel of a pensioners riot.

Florida’s coming problems are intractable, at best; the least bit of bad luck and they may become utterly irresolvable.

Expect bailouts. Washington will not be able to ignore what happens to
this beleaguered state. The federal government will be forced to spend
yet more vast sums of money that it doesn’t have, on a recovery that
will take years, if it ever happens.

And that makes Florida’s plight a looming horror for us all.

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thesapein's picture

only plugging because this video is so conclusive and was dedicated to Matt Simmons:

dark pools of soros's picture

now it makes sense why Simmons had to be capped...

Rusty Shorts's picture

 - holy shit, thanks jesus!!!

blindman's picture


 and ...the y 10431685.95 coordinate doesn't

belong to either well a or b.  it indicates a location

north of both these wells.  from the video, live feed,

from bp from 4/2010.  sheesh.

thesapein's picture

Those coordinates are in feet measured within the sector, so you're talking about less than ten feet between where the camera was sitting and well B, before the camera moved to well A. 

blindman's picture

not really,

there are 3 y coordinates under consideration here.

a : y 10431617 00

b : y 10434194 00   (typo in recorded document on video?)  should read

b : y  10431494 00   ?

...and then this one from the live feed

? : y 10431685 95  .


note:  there are two separate coordinates indicated for well b.

the difference being between y: 10434194.00' and 10431494.00',

neither of which would be visible from the coordinates posted

on the b.p. live feed footage presented in this video.  the map seems

to indicate the second value is a typo.?  

 looks like more than 100 feet, closer to 2700(typo) feet north of

b and 60 some feet north of a.  also if you look at the x coordinate

there seems to be 300 ft. separation between a and b in that dimension

and the other ? mystery coordinates from the live feed place it's

location about 2/3 the distance from a to b. 

so that is roughly 200 feet west of a?

i'll grant that reading the

coordinates from the live feed is difficult but the locations do not

add up so to speak.  but so what.  their credibility is shit anyway...


again ? live feed coordinates..

x:   1202581 28

y:  10431685 95

.  does not match a or b by at least/more than 100 + feet.  ?

did i transcribe this y coordinate incorrectly?   no.

and visibility down there is what?  30 feet. 

this does not work.  clear error or fraud, or both, on the part

of the producer of the live feed,  they would claim error no doubt.

or better yet, blame it on a damaged net belonging to

a fisherman.

b.p..  all lies all the time every step, everyday.  it is what they

do in terms of public relations for liability concerns.  we needed

an honest broker,  we got spin and damage control.  here a dynamic

that repeats and this is what will/does do us in.

apologies for the repeated corrections if you noticed.  typos on coordinates

are confusing.

JW n FL's picture

Its not the first time... BP has modded the information and / or photo's.


litoralkey's picture

Just escaped from FL last year.

Go to or some website that provides census data, sort out FLorida's zipcodes by median household income in 2000,

A few of those towns are now bankrupt... and those are the locations with supposedly the greatest private wealth concentration in the state.

Destin, Long Boat Key, Palm Beach, east Boca Raton, Key West, Merritt Island etc.  THe bigger nail in the coffin is the death of the Kennedy Space Center and 2ndary industries and tertiary economy.  The SpaceCoast is in freefall, Flagler county is downright scary in terms of every econometric and social stat you can find.


However, RevPAR for hotels is UP, significantly, in the last year.  So much so that any hotel owned outright before ~1999, i.e. without a mortgage, can now run a positive rate of return.

Not all tourists go to the beach.  Not al beach goers get in the water.  All those old people can't walk on sand safely, and it doesn't affect their holiday plans.


masterinchancery's picture

Illinois is no better off than Florida, even without oil.

VWbug's picture

i think florida's a shithole, but my folks like it, so i just booked them a place in sarasota at 30% off the usual rate for the month of january.

they watch CNN every night but they aren't scared off by the MSM fear mongering (unlike a lot of zh'rs)

I think florida will have a great winter season, the seniors LOVE a bargain, and they'll get them if they book now : )

Kaiser Zose's picture

Exactly how much oil damage has FL seen?  I don't know the answer to that but I haven't run across reports of widespread oil contamination of their beaches / wetlands.  And I'm not trying to diminish what pollution has occurred - or that their gulf coast tourism economy hasn't been impacted.  But with most of the oil evaporating / dispersing - it seems more likely that FL will be left with just a junked out economy rather than alos having the now discredited Simmon's environmental apocalypse piling on.

Janice's picture

I am in Florida.  I haven't heard about oil on the beaches/wetlands as much as I'd expected.  However, we stay away from the beaches.  My concern is the chemical dispersants that BP put into the water.  In the past, we have been scalloping in the Gulf, swimming and fishing.  Now, I don't let my children swim and we darn sure won't be eating from the Gulf.  Did you see the dead fish in Jersey?  Did they come from Florida?  I sure don't know, but won't take the chance either. 

Kaiser Zose's picture

I'm far from FL but like to visit there...other than the old Q Tips from the northeast that bugger up traffic ;)...I'd be cautious also about shellfish from the Gulf at this point - but the reports of east coast fish die-offs and linkage to anything in the GOM don't add up.  Maybe they are linked, but nobody has offered any proof - and certainly no evidence that sufficiently dense plumes of Corexit and/or Oil have remained intact and flowed all the way up the eastern US seaboard.  The proof thusfar is akin to saying "wow it's hot today, that global warming sure is getting worse..." or vice versa...Now -- enter conspiracy theory - Gov't and Big Oil covering up the oil/corexit migration.  As someone trained in engineering, and practicing a long time, the Jersey/GOM linkage doesn't pass an initial screening for credibility - though I wouldn't completely rule it out.

Janice's picture

It shouldn't be that hard to examine the fish that washed up in Jersey.  The larger concern is whether you can believe "government sponsored" testing.  Fish swim...sometimes in the Gulf Stream.


See post below where the Jersey fish were Menhaden whose range is Jupiter Inlet to Nova Scotia.  I'd love to test the water in the Bay of Fundy right about now.

Pope Clement's picture

I remember more than 60 years ago there were big moss bunker and menhaden die offs in Raritan Bay in mid-summer. My dog loved to roll in the piles of rotting fish on the Staten Island shoreline.

TBT or not TBT's picture

"Expect bailouts. Washington will not be able to ignore.... "

Frack that noise.     Solidarity will NOT be the word of the day when the reflation efforts end and the reckoning arrives.   It's back to the the very truth itself:  Everyone takes care of their own self, kin, and property FIRST.   Neighbors and local government needs secondarily.    Far away irresponsible people way down the down the list.

minus dog's picture

They won't be carrying on about solidarity, they'll be carrying on about Schoolsnhospitals instead.  Oh, wait, they already are...

Missing_Link's picture

They rally round tha family!

With a pocket full of shells

Madhouse's picture

They have got to spend within their means. Its horrible. Boo hoo hoo.

If BP spill is going to cost more, then get it from BP, period. Take over their gas stations in FL if you have to.

And, oh,  PSTFU


traderjoe's picture

It's worse then that. You can buy a decent house in Ft. Myers for $50k. Probably a $200,000 house in 2005. I'm sure that there were a lot of honest people that bought at those prices and got caught up in it all. Some compassion is deserved. 

cossack55's picture

Screw compassion.  All those lovely homebuyers probably voted for Dems/Repubs so now they can benefit for voting for crooks, scum and swine.  It is still all about performing your own due diligence.

nmewn's picture

"Some compassion is deserved."

It's an old Cracker plot to drive the interloping non-natives away...ROTFL.

Empathy, sure OK, fine.

But how many tee shirt outlets are really needed? The northerners could use the tan anyways as the glare from their half naked bodies is a traffic hazard as well as an assault on the senses...LOL. The value added by yet another McDonald's to feed soylent green to masses of loud, boorish, obnoxious, nasal talking, pastey transplants is

Oil? Pish posh. We have organism's that dine on it at most depths. Our mosquito's have been known to carry off small pets. Along with sharks, sting rays, jelly fish, alligators, water moccasins and rabid racoons it's a wonder anyone can survive outside the confines of an air conditioned condo on the tenth floor.

And traffic. Good Lord! They apparently remove most of the turn signal levers on cars with out of state plates. On the ones that were missed somehow, you can find those signalling a right turn from the left lane for five miles before they finally get the lever unscrewed to disable it and slam on the brakes, put it in park with all the passengers looking everywhere but to they're front!

We'll be fine, trust me ;-)

aheady's picture

You just perfectly described Chincoteague Island, Virginia.

New_Meat's picture

Old Cracker tricks been played before-mid-'20's?

- Ned

nmewn's picture

Oh yeah...we've had our share of scoundrels no doubt about it.

If I recall you are from the NE.

There are exceptions to every rule, regarding the NE...yourself being one in my opinion. And I mean that about you.

When I was a kid there was an old guy who retired down here from Bawwwstun. Helluva a guy. Used to take all the kids to the ball games at Al Lang Field. Just loved the game, enjoyed kids & people, a widower with no family closing out his life in retrospect. Great guy, helped alot of people in distress on even his moderate means.

But I won't lie...most I have found from that area of the country I wouldn't piss on them if they were laying in front of me on fire writhing in agony. Upon hearing the accent my antenna go up and my hand instinctively reaches to see if my wallet is still there ;-)

I hope you understand...only being truthful.

New_Meat's picture

Cracker comment made in great affection--one of my business associates and became great friend is in Ocala, cutting grass and showing horses now.  So it was always "Yankee-this" and "Cracker-that".

Intensified quite a bit with the New Black Panther audio/video re-release.

"There are exceptions to every rule, regarding the..."

and fill in the blank there.  I've always tried to look at the individual vs. the <category>, not always succeeded, but try.

I  hope things going well for you.

- Ned

nmewn's picture

"I  hope things going well for you."

Yeah, not bad. Just taking a break from cuttin the grass right now. Had some wind come through that knocked some big limbs down...was chain sawing...till the chainsaw puked, so I just got the tractor and pushed them into the woods.

I got caught up to date on Jeff Hardings four part piece on the financial deformed bill this morning...a good read if you havn't read it.

Most of it I knew about...some I didn't. The expansion of the state continues. The bill (law now) is just another "look we did something" kinda thing. The lobbyist's will form the rules for regulating behind closed doors...same as it ever was.

An observation about the Ocala area maybe your aquiantance can confirm or deny for me. I've noticed most of the "good" horse farms are to the west side of I-75. I've often wondered if it was because the limestone and dolomite was closer to the surface in that area promoting stronger bones.

How bout you...everything goin good?

New_Meat's picture

Good to hear that you didn't take offence at the Cracker thing.  I have a new job that requires me to teach across the internet (vs. what I fridken know-with a chalk-board) and I'm learning how tough a presentation is when I can't see audience faces.  Just one of those on the side things.  Not the real job (what is a real job these days?)

We're flat out, looking for qualified engineers.  I spent most of the weekend working on new business.  Quite a dichotomy (sp?) between the real economy and O-vision of same.  Michelle not doin' so bad,though.  So, yes, going well and my son starts work tomorrow.

I'll look for Harding, unfamiliar to me.

And I'll ask my craca' friend about the geo question.  He's pretty settled, so he'd give me a) the truth, or b) his opinion.  I might have to meet him and pour an adult beveridge into him before he'd admit the truth.

Take care,

- Ned


nmewn's picture

"Good to hear that you didn't take offence at the Cracker thing."

Hell no...why would I...heh heh...well, we both know why, but I take it in the "spirit" it was given. There are other Crackers on here from what I can tell, a Conch and probably more Parrot Heads than will admit to it.

"We're flat out, looking for qualified engineers."

Many good ones are retired and have no desire to get back into the meat grinder of corp at any price, the young ones, fresh out of school have potential but need senior engineers to guide them in more complex projects...and some are getting ready to retire or do something I hear...

"I'll look for Harding, unfamiliar to me."

Look no further my friend...1 of 3 here;

"Quite a dichotomy (sp?) between the real economy and O-vision of same."

I think it's exactly what is desired...whether it's the Cloward-Piven strategy, corporate capture or complete incompetence, the result is the same...continued hardship for the worker bees. If one were actually trying to damage the economy what would be done different than what has been done up to this point? I'm staying with the latter (incompetence) until evidence presents itself of the other two possibilities.

Good deal on your son...mine goes into middle school this year, honor roll student with an attitude...get's it from his mom ;-)

"I might have to meet him and pour an adult beverage into him before he'd admit the truth."

In my experience, you can learn alot from a man that way...LOL.

SeeYa Ned


New_Meat's picture

"Honor student w/attitude" please encourage that--ZH (well Airborne) "all the way".  But gotta guide the young skull fulla mush.

Please let him know that a "yankee" is watching his six for good performance.

I had so much fun w/Citadel and UF guys who couldn't get the whole "lending dignity to what otherwise..." thing.

but we got through that.

I'll see you.

- Ned

nmewn's picture

"Please let him know that a "yankee" is watching his six for good performance."

And know that if TSHTF there's a place for a yankee and his kin here...we'll plow a road from the GA/FL line to as far as Floral City Lt., but it may not be a straight line ;-)


JW n FL's picture

by nmewn

I Luv You Man!


I could go on but...


You know what I mean...

Shiznit Diggity's picture

The elderly's health care is paid for by the Federal gov't, not the states.

soon every employed person in the state will essentially have to adopt one senior to care for out of his or her paycheck.

That's BS.

traderjoe's picture

Um, as I understand it Medicaid expenses are shared by Feds and States. 

Shiznit Diggity's picture

Medicaid is for the poor; Medicare is for the elderly.

RichardP's picture

Those both elderly and poor receive both Medicare and Medicaid.

Shiznit Diggity's picture

Do you think that Medicaid expenditures on elderly Floridians are a material sum relative to Medicare expenditures on elderly Floridians? I don't.

williambanzai7's picture

The ghost of W returns to the Chad State.

nmewn's picture

Check the demographics and birth place of the people who reside in Palm and Broward counties before you make a complete ass out of yourself again.

You will find they came from the NE section of the country and Michigan. They carry with them the same intelligence level that destroyed the states they fled.

Janice's picture

Agreed.  My family is 5th generation Floridian.  We are smart, stealth, backwoods country folks from North Florida.  If TSHF, you'll want us bringing our guns to the fight.  We are locked, cocked and ready to rock.  Florida from south of Ocala should be severed and dropped into Gulf.

-Michelle-'s picture

Florida stands on its head.  Those of us in NFl will face the Golden Horde from the south when TSHTF.

nmewn's picture

My lineage goes back pretty far as well...but you are definitely a Cracker...a term of endearment as you know.

If you cut a line from about Hernando/Pasco east west and let it float off it would suit me as well...the sheer volume of parasites down there makes it uninhabitable.

As far as the fish kill in Jersey, as far as the gulf stream, it seems it would carry them out to sea. So it seems like a localized fish kill at first blush. Maybe I'll look at current flows and the species of the fish (deep water vs. shallow water) later.

Right now, I'm going to go back to school shopping and take advantage of the no state sales tax law that this "backward state" has...ROTFL.

SeeYa Janice.

Janice's picture

Proud to be called a cracker.  Thanks!


Did a little research in your absence.

The fish that washed up in Jersey were Menhaden fish. 

From wiki: Gulf menhaden range from the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico to Tampa Bay, Florida, finescale menhaden from the Yucatán to Louisiana, yellowfin menhaden from Louisiana to Virginia. The Atlantic menhaden ranges from Jupiter Inlet, Florida, to Nova Scotia. The various species of menhaden occur anywhere from estuarine waters outwards to the continental shelf.

A parent to the Florida Current, the Loop Current is a warm ocean current in the Gulf of Mexico that flows northward between Cuba and the Yucatán peninsula, moves north into the Gulf of Mexico, loops west and south before exiting to the east through the Florida Straits and joining the Gulf Stream.

I wonder if they were Atlantic menhaden, from Jupiter Inlet to Jersey shores?  I'm just asking.  I am not a marine biologist.

HardwoodAg's picture

Bait fish kills happen. It is not necessarily a sign of man-made toxins. Bluefish or Strippers will corner a school in a cove and munch on any that try to flee the safety of numbers. Those that opt to stay in the cove, can and do die-off in large numbers due to lack of disolved oxygen.

nmewn's picture

Not a marine biologist either...but I do fish when I can.

As Hardwood points out, menhaden is a bait fish and is pretty fragile regarding it's needs (dissolved oxygen). Looks like something local killed them. The gulf stream turns east off the Carolina's and Virginny.

Some bozo down thread said Fla. dumps raw sewage into the waters. No. To my knowledge this practice was stopped here although they do it up North so maybe that's what did it...yankees are well known for shitting in their dinner bucket...LOL.

As for the oil spill. When it happened I went out and stocked up and stuck it in the freezer. Give it a year or so it should be fine. The volume of water to oil/corexit we're talking about is huge...but no ones taking any chances, me included. On the Atlantic side it should not be a concern.


Now, the tongue in cheek Anectodal Back to School Florida Tax Holiday Shopping Report that ZHer's have been anxiously awaiting...or not. Junk away if you must...LOL.

Just the boy's this round and from my perspective of course...the girls do their own thing.

We got there early and the shelves were well stocked. Walmart (yes Walmart) had youth jeans priced at $12.00. Backpacks $25.00-$30.00 (which were not, the backpacks, to squire nmewn's liking). Parking lot half full but filling as we left.

The mall was quiet as we entered and little nmewn was on mission walking five paces ahead of me. Directly ahead was one of those over priced stores that are found there (Billabong etc.) and of course he made a beeline for it. Rooting through the light selection of bookbags he came up with one...$50.00...GAG! The clerk allowed that it was buy one get one half off anything in the store. The bookbag was all...and enough for me.

On to JC Penney, at the other end of the mall, where it was moderately crowded and well stocked. Daddy needed some new Dockers $25.00 each. By the time we were leaving the store had become quite crowded especially in the shoe department.

Over at Game Stop squire nmewn had a little trading to do. No currency changed hands and he left with the battery pack he needed and a $10.00 credit on his account.


Stores were filling rapidly because of the weekend tax savings.

It was a pleasure to pay exactly what was listed on the signage ie $25.00 X 2 = $50.00. The prices were not marked up for the weekend, recon...LOL.

Overall, a good program initiated by the state of Fla. for the people of Fla. which you will not hear me say often. Good also for the retailers to move their merchandise and very good for the shop that sold the overpriced bookbag.

As an aside, I paid cash for all credit cards involved.


Janice's picture

I bought school supplies end of July, first of August.  I didn't want to deal with the crowds.  Nothing like fighting with a woman three times your size over a 20 cent wal-mart folder, as her child stand idly by screaming because he/she can't have McDonalds.  No thanks, I'll pay the sales tax. Caught some cool sales.


I don't know about the fish thing.  I come from a long line of dirt farmers.  We did most of our fishing in rivers.  Never seen fish die is such quantities....unless it was preparation for a family reunion.  Friends would take us out into the Gulf.  Not so much fishing anymore, life got too fast. 

nmewn's picture

"Nothing like fighting with a woman three times your size over a 20 cent wal-mart folder..."

I hear ya. That's why we went early. I think it's a great idea (Tax Holiday) for the retailers & the people. It just so happened Tyler threw this up and we got some idiots who thought they knew anything about Fla. by having visited Disney or the beach.

I loved it...LOL.

"I come from a long line of dirt farmers."

Same, half way. My mom was from S.Ga. Small town around Valdosta. My dad was from (hold your breath) Brooklyn...LOL.

Raised on the coast, mostly, born in the Burg. Moved around alot. Lived in Jax back when the smell of the paper mills was all you smelled and Hialeah down south which was cool. We have acorns around here like they have coconuts. That was pretty wild...but you get used to it...don't park your car under that tree ;-)

I remember Red Tides growing up being pretty frequent things along the west coast of Fla. having to do with algae blooms in the summer. I'm 50 now. Don't know about the east coast as the waters much cooler in the Atlantic. I really don't think the menhaden fish kill is related to the oil spill just by the sheer volume of water & tidal action diluting anything that might make it up that far. Take note of the eyes of the fish. They have not been dead that long. Still say it's a local thing.


RichardP's picture

Re. the New Jersey kill:  I read in a local (there) online newspaper that the water is 85 degrees.  Warm water doesn't hold oxygen well.  The fish apparently were chased up a river, which was measured and had a low oxygen count - from the high temps and bio-runoff stuff getting into the water.  The fish died in the river and were swept out into the bay.  They apparently didn't die in the bay.