Mark Sanford puts SC unemployed at risk, turning down $700 million in federal stimulus bill
Originally published on BuzzFlash.com on Thu, 03/12/2009 – 1:23pm
Mark Sanford might want to be president in 2012. But if Sanford is going to get there, he should concentrate on his day job, being Governor of South Carolina.
Right now, Sanford acts like he doesn’t want to provide the necessary leadership to help his state. South Carolina has a 10.4% unemployment rate, yet Governor Sanford doesn’t want to spend stimulus money on the unemployed. The 10.4% mark is the fastest growing unemployment rate in the country, and the overall mark is second to Michigan’s 11.6%. When your state is slightly better off than Michigan when it comes to employment, your state is not in good shape.
The state has been forced since December to borrow $176 million from the federal government in order to pay jobless claims. Allendale County has an official unemployment rate of 23.4% in January; 75% of the state’s counties had double digit unemployment rates.
As Don Schunk, a research economist at Coastal Carolina University told The State newspaper, “The speed with which things have deteriorated is unprecedented.”
What is Gov. Sanford doing to help in this crisis? Whining about having to use money to help the unemployed, which he doesn’t want to do. Wanting to use stimulus money — not for stimulus — but to pay down the debt. And let’s not forget the awkward, inaccurate comparisons to Zimbabwe.
Now we have the main course: Gov. Sanford is officially turning down $700 million from the stimulus package. Yes, Sanford said no to $700 million because “We don’t think it’s a good idea to spend money that you don’t have.”
Gov. Sanford, if you say no to the money, you won’t be able to spend it. The good news for the residents of South Carolina is that the state House and Senate are working on bills to override Sanford’s decision, and restore some adult responsibility and leadership to the rudderless state.
If the race among these Southern Republican governors is trying to see which one plays chicken the longest, Sanford might win the prize. But when he runs for president in 2012, and reporters come to South Carolina and ask residents what they think of him, Sanford better hope they don’t talk to someone who was unemployed in 2009. But at this rate, finding someone in South Carolina who isn’t affected by the current crisis will be really difficult.