In recent months, Gov. Sanford has publicly refused the same sort of bailout funds being asked for by governors of other states, and has expressed his displeasure with the prospect of his citizens and his state being forced to foot the bill for other states which have not been as fiscally responsible. Today, he wrote a piece for conservative Web site Human Events. A snippet:
[E]fficiency in an assortment of governmental programs won’t lead us out of the $1.2 trillion deficit our federal government faces this year — a number, mind you, that doesn’t even include any new “stimulus” spending. Obama’s list may include expanding unemployment benefits, hundreds of billions more to bail out states that have made poor spending choices, and many billions on top of that for infrastructure, some of which will only be able to be described as local pork.
Getting out of this mess will mean the new president taking a real stand for fiscal responsibility and making choices opposite of the ones he has made so far. Staying on our current path will lead toward a financial train wreck of epic proportions. Avoiding that disaster will require a very serious conversation among all Americans about our economy’s future, both for the short term and the long term.
In the short term, the new President and Congress need to recognize one simple truth: When you’re in the hole, quit digging.
Obama’s stimulus package approaches $1 trillion. That would be in addition to the $7 trillion already spent and committed in bailouts and various stimulus packages over the past year. Leaving aside for one second the absurdity of trying to fix a problem caused by debt by stacking still more debt on top of it, if $7 trillion in stimulus hasn’t moved us closer to a solution, how will spending even more help?
Sanford is right on, and this is only a portion of what he had to say. Finally, a chief executive understands that spending our way out of debt and financial crisis is simply not an option. Other governors, including California’s Arnold Schwarzenegger and New York’s David Patterson, certainly don’t seem to comprehend that. Former President George W. Bush didn’t, either — and predictably, President Obama sure doesn’t understand.
Because of the nature of this economic crisis, we cannot keep borrowing from overseas to fund pork projects put into the latest “stimulus” or appropriations bill by giggling Democrats, so blinded by the bitterness of the past 14 years that they’re just clamoring to do something with a majority and a Democrat in the White House. One of these days, far before the ink in the Federal Reserve’s printing presses runs dry, countries like China and the United Arab Emirates are going to simply say no. They’ll say no because we’re a credit risk. They’ll say no because our paper will be worth just that . . . paper. Sanford gets that.
Fiscal conservatism is the answer here. We need across-the-board tax cuts on everything from personal income tax to payroll tax to corporate tax to capital gains tax in order to induce people into investing again, into creating jobs again, into the reinvigoration of the American entrepreneurial spirit. If we must spend money–and, done correctly, it might not hurt–we should do so in a manner which will provide an influx of cash quickly and to carefully selected, shovel-ready infrastructure projects, the kind which will create jobs in the short term and economic benefits in the long run. By the time the jobs from the shovel-ready projects wane, more long-term employment should be available due to the actual stimulus of business and industry created by the tax cuts. Spending money on the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and on NASA research into the farce that is global warming does nothing for the economy.
As I venture out into 28-degree Philadelphia this evening, I will undoubtedly pine for the warmer weather of Charleston as the brisk cold hits my face here. More and more, however, I am looking forward to the move because of the people and the political climate which awaits. Gov. Mark Sanford is a Palmetto State Powerhouse, and so is Sen. Jim DeMint. Now, if only some of that common sense could make its way north from Columbia to Washington, D.C.