So, Florida’s back-water legislative boys have been wobbled by Genting Malaysia’s concept of turning South Florida into a world-class gambling Mecca.[http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/state/fl-the-genting-effect-20111225,0,4041490.story] “Too big, too ambitious, and too kind of glitzy,” says Senate Rules Chairman John Thrasher. This, no doubt, as compared to the building in his own name on the FSU Tallahassee campus. “The whole concept is flawed.”
No, Honorable Senator, the only concept that is flawed is the ignoble concept shared by most rubes in Tallahassee that the state can create a working economy without compromising the naivety of citizens who elect and admire our good-old legislative boys and girls. Without a dearth of jobs and low wages, Tallahassee would have to actually spend money on education and public services. Legislators would have no reason to argue the trivialities of social evils on cemetery steps in the Villages. Worst of all, citizens might realize that the economy of Florida is not the personal plaything of the House and Senate.
Genting Malaysia’s concepts would transform the state for the better. It would transform the employment field for the better. It would even transform the legislature for the better, not by eliminating all the hayseed litter in the Tallahassee chambers. It would make our politicians work. It would challenge them to think for themselves, consider common goods, research. It would make them do something they have not done since they received that low C in Qualitative Analysis. Most of all, it would discourage staffers and lobbyists from doing their thinking for them.
The challenge is that the casino industry must be monitored. It is one thing to give free-rein to companies such as Disney to exploit workers, safe in the shadow of Main Street’s façade. It is quite different to rock ‘neath the magnolias in Tallahassee while casino giants transubstantiate South Florida. This isn’t to say that the Batistaesque threats sung by such critics as former Senator Dan Gelber or lobbyist Brad Swanson would occur, but the introduction of gaming to the Florida economy would demand that legislators actually learn to read the bills they sponsor, support, and criticize. It might keep them too busy to spend their lives campaigning.
Well, okay, so not the latter.
Full casino gaming will benefit Florida. The question is whether it will benefit Florida because of or despite our benighted politicians.