Tuesday, March 17, 2009

OK Mark, What Were You Thinking?

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (R) sent a letter to President Obama telling him how he wanted to spend the stimulus bill. He objects to the whole idea, but specifically the $700M aimed at extending and expanding unemployment insurance. That piece he wanted to use to pay down SC's debt.

Not real surprisingly Peter Orszag wrote back that it wasn't happening. Perhaps nicely he told Sanford that the President doesn't have that authority. Peter seems to be a nicer man than I, because I'd have told Sanford to stick his politicking someplace rude. Unemployment insurance is a matter of pennies on the dollar wage paid, it is one of the most insignificant costs of having employees and even with South Carolina's sliding scale it seems to run around $0.06/$1.00. One is tempted to ask Mark Sanford just what the sales tax in South Carolina is since it is nearly equivalent and falls most heavily on the lower incomes. The last report I had put South Carolina's official unemployment numbers at 10.6%, the second highest in the nation following Michigan. You might think there's a reality in that kind of number that might be meaningful to a Governor.

Unemployment dollars are one of the most directly stimulative pieces of the pie, unlike other rebates or credits, those dollars will be spent and spent virtually immediately. Now the distinguishing characteristics of the beneficiaries of this element are pretty simple, they tend to be the bottom of the work force in any affected business, which means the poorest and the most numerous, in fact at that unemployment percentage it is safe to guess that the unemployed outnumber the employers considerably, but Sanford has made it clear whose interests count most heavily in his thinking.

Consider who SC elects in state wide elections, we've dealt somewhat with Sanford, the US Senators are Republicans Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham. Judas Priest, that's a cohort. Jim Sanford is pretty pissed that the Federals think they can tell SC how to spend Federal money, an odd and ungracious attitude for a state that sucks the Federal Teat to the tune of $1.37/$1.00 they send to Washington DC. You could contrast that with nasty liberal old New Jersey at $o.55/$1.00. The flat truth is that the nasty old blue states have subsidized principled old SC for a long time now, I guess it's real easy to make big talk about drowning government in the tub when it's keeping your rat hole afloat.

I am no more bothered by Sanford taking this tack than I am that Rush keeps shooting off his trap and Republicans keep licking his, um, boot. It looks as though the SC legislature will do an end around on Sanford and take the funds so the workers may not be the losers, but this makes pretty clear the regard the conservative Republicans of Sanford's stripe hold ordinary Americans. Because DNC is not populated with idiots, they also see it and see political capital to be gained. Sanford objects, this is not the Obama model of new politics. Maybe he mistakes reaching out with capitulation and is surprised that there's a ball bat in the hand that didn't reach across. Well Mark, what were you thinking, I'm thinking we'll take your political games and beat you about the head and shoulders with them and maybe extinguish your career.

LTEs are a good thing...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...



2008 South Carolina Constitution


SECTION 1. Power of impeachment; vote required; suspension of officer impeached.

The House of Representatives alone shall have the power of impeachment in cases of serious crimes or serious misconduct in office by officials elected on a statewide basis, state judges, and such other state officers as may be designated by law. The affirmative vote of two-thirds of all members elected shall be required for an impeachment. Any officer impeached shall thereby be suspended from office until judgment in the case shall have been pronounced, and the office shall be filled during the trial in such manner as may be provided by law.

When the Governor is impeached, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, or, if he be disqualified, the Senior Justice, shall preside, with a casting vote in all preliminary questions.