I find it helps me to get my mind around this state by picturing it's economy in biological/thermodynamic terms. By my reckoning, Florida has three major populations: tourists and retired folks, who form a resource base for opportunistic entrepreneurs, the last group, to exploit. The money is the base of a food chain and things operate from there.
To be fair, everyones not a pirate. I know there is a large percentage of the population that just lives their lives like people do everywhere: they deliver mail, or teach, or drive trucks. They're administrators, public servants, police, technicians, doctors and so on. Still.....the food chain starts with the tourists and the retirees, and there are a lot of souvenir shops, RV dealerships, and generally sleazy retail operations. One enterprising exterminator has devised a program to eliminate "orange rats". For a reasonable fee. Commendably preemptive since there seems, at this time, to be no such thing as orange rats.
I guess technically I'm neither a tourist nor a retiree. I act like a tourist but I'm living in my own house so. ..I'm not retired but our house is in a retirement community...I don't know. I do know I love the Natural Areas of the state: coral reefs, the pelagic ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, my own Florida Scrub with it's Gopher Tortoises and endemic vegetation. Sandhill Cranes walk down the street in front of our house. In the spring, migrating warblers flit about in the Spanish Moss draped Live Oaks in the front yard. Herons, egrets, eagles abound among a tremendous diversety of bird life. It rained this afternoon bringing the treefrogs to life in the rain gutters around the screen porch. Their sharp barking calls punctuated the sound of steady rain on a metal roof.