Time: When the big 'cane hits, we're [email protected]#!ed

Floridians should learn how to turn pee into drinking water NOW.

Floridians that scare easily should be careful not to leaf through this week's Time Magazine while waiting at the Publix check-out counter. Because apparently- and I think we all knew this, but it's just not nice to talk about it- if Miami gets smacked by one big hurricane our state is seriously financially [email protected]#!ed:

Ike could well be a Gustav-like bust rather than a Katrina-like disaster. But eventually, disaster will visit the peninsula, and it's still not clear who's going to pay the tab. "It's going to be a financial nightmare," says Cecil Pearce of the American Insurance Association. "Florida is the nation's basket case."

An Ike-sized hurricane hitting Miami, says reporter Michael Grunwald, could cost $70 billion in damages. And while big numbers and the government tend to cause our eyes to gloss over- Somebody will take care of it, right?- Time says, in this case, nope.

The blame, as is often the case, can be traced to Governor Charlie Crist- but in fairness, Florida's residents are his enablers.

After Andrew's destruction, most in-state insurance companies were put out of business, and national ones were scared away. With sky-rocketing premiums for Florida residents, Crist provided subsidized insurance to 1.3 million high-risk homeowners, and through his Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, reinsurance to the few remaining Florida insurance companies.

It's very complicated in a sort of so-this-is-why-I-don't-read-Time kind of way, buy the gist is: Crist has put Florida on the hook for some bills we won't be able to pay in the event of The Big One.

What Time doesn't say, is what going belly-up as a state will really mean. Will the rest of the country treat us like that cousin who likes bourbon and blackjack a bit too much, and cut us off? Will Florida turn into a apocalyptic Waterworld, where only those with boats or machines that turn urine into drinking water survive?

Or will we successfully beg for one of the biggest disaster bail-outs the government's ever handed out?

That sounds presidential. Maybe Florida's legislators should start sucking up to Sarah Palin now.

-Gus Garcia-Roberts

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Gus Garcia-Roberts