You Go To Hell, I’m Going to Florida

When Tennessee voters didn’t return David Crockett to the US Congress in 1836, Crockett said to his former neighbors, “You go to hell, I’m going to Texas.” Texans, proud of almost everything, sell T-shirts and bumper stickers with that phrase all over the state, including near the Alamo, where Crockett’s career ended.

Bill Cooper, former TCF Bank mogul and former state Republican chairman, has up and moved to Florida, according to Neal St. Anthony in the Star Tribune. “I reject feeding this dysfunctional beast,” Cooper is quoted as saying about Minnesota government. So he’s taking his Scrooge McDuck money bags and going to Florida, where a no-income-tax government won’t bother him for contributions for silly things like schools and roads.

Cooper’s done some good things for Minnesota. And Minnesota, as he acknowledged in the story, has been good to him. Well over $100 million good. Top executives who raid their customers and the low-paid workers at the bottom of their organization to gobble up huge rewards from Wall Street always seem to have a problem forking much of that money over to people who live on bus passes and grocery coupons. If people were worth their salt, they’d make millions just like Bill did, the philosophy seems to go.

So Bill calls Minnesota government dysfunctional. And it has become that, as the Republican program to transfer wealth from those who don’t have much to those who have way more than they need has taken hold here. Cops? Libraries? Roads? Schools? Wealthy Minnesotans don’t pay as large a share of their income to support those quaint things as do middle-class Minnesotans, and yet it’s the wealthy who are whining and mewling about taxes. The Minnesota House votes to make the wealthy pony up their fair share, and Republicans declare it’s the End of Days and bleat that all the wealthy (read “good”) people will go to Florida.

Let them.

The rest of us will plug along here, pay our taxes and see if we can get Minnesota back to being a state that works.

Enjoy Florida, Bill. I went to college there, I spend part of the winter in Key West, and I love the state, what’s left of it. But live there? No thanks. Florida has a government as responsive as a corpse, a legislature that’s sold to the highest bidder (often Big Sugar, which bought the legislature so it could drain the Everglades), tattered schools and a voting system that’s the envy of African dictators. If that’s the kind of state where you want to live, Bill, take your Minnesota money and count it down there. Florida government’s got a long way to climb to reach “dysfunctional.”

— Bruce Benidt