...in ohhh, so many ways.
Photo of Governor Mark Sanford is from NBC news. He is the cause of all this. Inscribe his face on your memory. After he is out of office, he deserves to be made unemployable for the rest of his days.
States have until midnight on Friday to apply for the economic stimulus package, and as regular Dead Air readers know, our sorry-ass governor has yet to do so, citing some kind of half-baked, Ayn Randian bullshit. He is proudly refusing the funds on principle. And our state, of course (no thanks to him and his type), is in some pretty bad shape.
Needless to say, South Carolina is in some dire economic straits. Where is Sanford getting the idea that we don't need the money? Pulled right out of his clueless, rich, white-boy ass.
Of all 50 states, only my state and Montana have not applied for funds.
And only Governor Sanford can apply. It is all on him. And since he refuses, as my post title today proclaims: we are fucked.
There was a protest in Columbia, at the South Carolina statehouse, yesterday. According to the STATE newspaper (Columbia):
At least one of DEAD AIR's readers may also lose her job.
Rally urges Sanford to 'Take the money'
Educators, students, lawmakers rally at State House
By GINA SMITH - firstname.lastname@example.org
More than 1,000 teachers, college students and others converged on the State House Wednesday with a message for Gov. Mark Sanford: Take the $700 million in federal stimulus money.
Without it, an estimated 1,700 teachers, like Lisa Matthews, could lose their jobs, according to the state Department of Education.
Estimates by some Democratic lawmakers put the job loss number in the 3,000 to 4,000 range.
The House version of the budget uses $350 million of the federal funds to offset cuts to K-12, higher education and law enforcement.
Matthews, carrying a sign that read: “Pink Slip for Mark Sanford,” said she has been put on notice by Kershaw County school district leaders that she will lose her job as an in-school suspension teacher at Lugoff-Elgin Middle School if Sanford doesn’t accept the funds.
The governor has until Friday to make a decision but has already made it clear he won’t take it unless state lawmakers agree to pay down a corresponding amount of state debt.
“I just don’t feel like he understands, like he gets it,” said Matthews, who has been a teacher for nearly seven years. “He’s trying to make a name for himself. And he’s doing it.”
Behind her, Janet Haselden, a media specialist assistant at Lugoff-Elgin Middle School who also will lose her job without the stimulus funds, said she is disappointed with the governor.
“I don’t think he’s looking at the big picture right now. I don’t think he’s thinking about the needs of schoolchildren,” she said.
It's personal, Governor Sanford, you swine!
From Tim Smith, of the Greenville News:
Furious barely covers it for me, folks. I have pretty much been reduced to sputtering level, no good for a blogger.
Sanford has said he will only accept the $700 million -- part of $2.8 billion in stimulus money available to the state over two years -- if lawmakers agree to spend the same amount to reduce the state’s debt.
Sanford for months has protested the federal stimulus legislation, arguing it will only heap debt on taxpayers and not cure the economy. He said accepting the $700 million for the budget will only postpone dramatic pain to agencies for two years, when the money runs out.
Lawmakers argue that rejecting the money will in effect send South Carolina taxpayers’ money to other states without any of the benefits. And without the stimulus, they argue, thousands of teachers will lose their jobs, tuition will be hiked by double digits at state colleges and prisons will close.
Sen. Hugh Leatherman, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, met Wednesday afternoon with Sanford in his Senate office about the issue and told reporters afterward that the meeting was "utterly fruitless."
"He offered no compromise, no stepping back from the cliff upon which he has plunked our state," Leatherman said, who accused Sanford of becoming "personal" in the meeting and telling Leatherman he just wanted "to grow government."
Joel Sawyer, a spokesman for Sanford, said Leatherman’s complaints were an attempt "to distract from the real issue here: the governor has offered a very reasonable middle ground in taking a quarter of the stimulus money and using it to pay down debt." Sawyer said the governor is continuing to work with some legislators on a plan to spend the money on debt.
Leatherman said he told the governor the state couldn’t afford to use the stimulus on debt and is already in a bind over the potential loss of federal matching dollars if further cuts are made to education and Medicaid agencies.
One of Sanford’s closest allies in Congress, Rep. Bob Inglis of Travelers Rest, on Wednesday urged Sanford to accept the funds.
"It’s like this," he told the Gannett Washington Bureau, "a table full of food has been prepared. And South Carolina is going to join the other 49 states in paying for the food. That being the case, it seems irrational to me to refuse the sustenance."
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has also urged Sanford to accept the money, on Wednesday released a letter to him by Peter Orszag, the White House budget director, who said Sanford, not lawmakers, has to apply for the stimulus money. But Orszag said Congress should change the law.
"It would be unfortunate (and we believe unintended) policy outcome if the children of South Carolina were to be deprived of their share of federal stimulus dollars, which South Carolina citizens have already paid for," he wrote.
U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the House Majority Whip, had tried to head off this week’s crisis by inserting language in the stimulus legislation allowing legislators to bypass governors who don’t accept the funds.
Clyburn on Wednesday said in response to the White House letter that Sanford’s refusal of the money would cut education funding for two-thirds of the state’s children who would have been helped by the money.
Meanwhile, on the state Senate floor, Sen. John Land, leader of Senate Democrats and the Senate’s longest-serving member, displayed what he called the "countdown clock to chaos," showing the time left before Sanford has to make a decision.
Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler asked the governor to change his mind, "pretty please with sugar on top." Others called Sanford "Don Quixote" or suggested his actions were influenced by White House ambitions.
Sen. Michael Rose, a Dorchester County Republican, pleaded for a compromise.
"This is mutually assured destruction. That’s what we’re headed for," he told the Senate. "This is too serious to risk brinksmanship."
But three of Rose’s resolutions, non-binding statements that he said were attempts to reach out to the governor, were sent to Leatherman’s committee, where he predicted they would die.
Leatherman said if Sanford doesn’t apply for the money Friday, he will seek passage on the first available legislative day afterward of a resolution asking for the stimulus money, as allowed by Clyburn’s provision.
Ohhhhh, won't someone help us?! (((cries))) (((howls)))(((starts singing any number of trad blues songs)))
As one commenter said on one of the above articles: Governor Sanford seems to have a pretty high tolerance for other people's pain.
I remember people used to actually engage in tarring and feathering. It's a thought.