Assigned Reading: In South Carolina Town, Economic Calamity Since Obama’s Inauguration
(FROM: Washington Post)
I’ve been through Greenwood, South Carolina. I was there for some sort of historical function while working for a daily newspaper in [somewhat] nearby Oconee County. It’s a nice town. Beautiful area. And, reading the article in the Washington Post, I feel for the people there. I really do. I know what it’s like to be forced to choose between utility bills based upon what can be done without, because something is going to get disconnected that month.
Not to mention that, also, I too have been trying for a few months now to get a job in that depressed Palmetto State economy for this time next year, when my wife and I move to Charleston following my graduation from law school.
I couldn’t help but notice that, in the comments following the piece, some folks are blaming South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford for refusing funds from Barack Obama’s so-called “stimulus” package. Even when I was down in Charleston last month, talking with contacts about the dried-up state of the job market, I heard more than a few people criticize Sanford for trying to turn away money that could provide more in terms of unemployment benefits for South Carolina’s rising number of jobless citizens.
But the people across South Carolina, including the people in Greenwood, do not need further unemployment benefits — they need jobs. And when the federal stimulus money ran out, it would be the businesses and people in South Carolina who would be on the hook for making up the difference through a much higher tax burden. And higher taxes, as we all know, don’t exactly encourage the expansion of business and industry.
If he was going to take the federal money, Sanford wanted to use the federal stimulus funds to pay down the state’s debt. People from the Lowcountry to the Golden Corner obviously failed to understand why, saying that paying down the state’s debt should hardly be a priority compared with propping up those who have lost their jobs in this economic downturn. I beg to differ — a fiscally conservative act which would beget more fiscal conservatism, paying down the state’s debt would have provided Sanford with wiggle room essential to the implementation of policies that would encourage business to set up shop in towns like Greenwood rather than turn tail and run for greener pastures with less of a tax burden, like Delaware, or Texas, or points overseas.
I really do feel for the people of Greenwood, just as I feel for the people through that state and throughout all the others. I’ll feel for them even more when our federal government passes confiscatory taxes such as the pending cap-and-trade plan, an ill-conceived proposal which will shutter factories and companies from coast to coast.
When it comes to those in Greenwood and beyond, the only way that we will see true, lasting change is by reducing the tax and regulatory burden on American business and industry, thus making the United States a friendly environment that fosters success rather than stifles it in the name of social justice, perceived fairness, or global warming.
Rather than deriding the Tax Day Tea Party, perhaps Edith Childs–seen in the photo above with Barack Obama–should have stuck around for a few minutes and, instead of focusing on the signs she saw, truly listened to the words being spoken.