It’s no secret that Florida’s unemployment system is not only stingy with its benefits level, it’s intentionally inefficient, buggy, and designed to frustrate would-be filers. This was the handiwork of former Governor (now Senator) Dickwithears, who wanted to minimize costs for employers at the expense of unemployed workers, and keep unemployment numbers down to bolster the appearance of the state’s economy.
The system was problematic even before the economy crashed this year as a result of #TrumPandemic, but when entire armies of newly unemployed Floridians attempted to file, all hell broke loose. Gov. Runt Duh-Santis, already over his head trying futilely to manage a plague, found himself playing defense on a second front as well. “We’re working on it,” he said, grimly. “Give us some time. And remember, I’m not the one who brought this system in.” Cover ass much, Gov?
It took tech nerd geniuses about 6 months, but I’m told that most of the redundancies and bugs have been ironed out, and the system is working acceptably, if not well. On the promise of anonymity, one of these dataheads agreed to give me some perspective on the back story. Let’s call him “Buzz.”
“When a team from my firm was assigned to fix this system – we dubbed it “Operation Clusterfuck” – the first thing we realized is that its major shortcomings were built-in. Intentional. It was designed to fail,” he tells me.
So it was actually a success!
“That’s fair. Well, a fair assessment, not fair to the millions of taxpayers who not only bought it, but were now getting screwed by it. And we also saw that had there not been this emergency, Operation Clusterfuck wouldn’t even have been launched – the administration was fine with a busted system.”
The emergency being #TrumPandemic, right?
“Hmmm, not exactly. The emergency was a public relations problem. At first, the administration didn’t care much that people were getting screwed left and right, they just didn’t want to get blamed for it. But blaming the media and passing the buck just wasn’t working any better for this than it was for their mismanagement of the pandemic, not with entire families and communities clamoring for help. So they broke down and brought us in to fix it.”
“And then – maybe mid-October – we started getting pressure to speed it up. That was brand new: ’til then nobody bothered us about anything, they seemed happy to let us be and be able to tell anybody who asked that they were addressing the issue.”
More ass-covering. Ever find out why the change in attitude?
Buzz chuckles mirthlessly. “We figured it out. It was the election. The polls. They were afraid the President would lose! And now that Florida is his home state, he might come down and file for unemployment benefits! Maybe $275/week (maximum) doesn’t sound like much, but hey – when you’re down and desperate, you take whatever you can get. And how embarrassing would it be for the state of Florida if the ex-president of the United States couldn’t successfully negotiate the application, or had his benefits delayed, or even denied?”
I guess he could apply for a Payday Loan – isn’t that what his own Labor Secretary had recommended back in March? Criminal interest rates, but he’s real good at wriggling out of debt through bankruptcy and advanced deadbeatery.
“We knew we were right after the election results came in. Listen, this is from Sunday’s paper: Florida Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, had a sharp response for Trump. “You’re FIRED!,” she tweeted. “Let me know if you need help applying for unemployment in Florida”!’
Wow, a Democrat! Nice of her to offer assistance.
“Yeah. Anyway, we started working overtime, and I think we’re at a point where it’s doing okay. Of course, if we see another spike in infections, and another crush of applications, well, let’s just say Operation Clusterfuck isn’t ready to stand down.”
So there’s your back story, Obalesquers! And as tawdry a tale of official apathy in Flori-duh as you’ll find, where public welfare is at best an afterthought, and rank and file citizens are routinely shuffled to the back of the queue.