Friday, March 13, 2009

Governors Sanford And Perry Reject Federal Aid For Unemployed

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Hebiclens renders the demented Governor of South Carolina

After Michigan, South Carolina has the worst unemployment rate in the U.S.-- north of 10%. They also have one of the worst governors anywhere-- if not the worst: Mark Sanford (picture by Hebiclens above). The good news for South Carolina is that Sanford is term-limited out. The bad news for South Carolina is that an even more extreme sociopath, Gresham Barrett, is likely to replace him. They deserve him. On the other hand, what's really scary, is that Sanford is determined to run for vice-president... of the United States... of America.

And his campaign slogan? "Ah turned down the stimulus money." The $700 million was meant to help unemployed workers and to keep other workers-- like school teachers-- from being fired. But Sanford's political calculus doesn't include unemployed workers or teachers. He's trying to appeal to the furthest right base of what's left of the Republican Party in dark corners of Idaho, Wyoming, Georgia, Texas, Utah... places like that.
House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston, said the $700 million can help state agencies, such as the Department of Education, transition to smaller budgets over a few years rather than taking the hit at once. Charleston Mayor Joe Riley urged Sanford to change his mind. ‘Paying off the debt does nothing for the schoolteacher who is losing a job or the probation officer who is being laid off,’ he said. House Minority Leader Harry Ott, D-St. Matthews, said the House, which passed its budget early Wednesday, plans to use the money as a one-time fix. ‘The recovery money was intended to fix some problems, specifically in the education budget, but also to help generate jobs,’ he said. As the jockeying around the $700 million continues, the state Senate will begin debating the state budget.

The South Carolina legislature is very Republican-- and very angry at Sanford's perfidy and self-centered decision.
While some local lawmakers may agree in theory with Gov. Mark Sanford’s proposal to use stimulus money to pay down the state’s debt, they’re also questioning its practicality and the governor's priorities. Sanford said he will seek a waiver from President Barack Obama to use $700 million of the $2.8 billion allotted to South Carolina to pay debts and contingent liabilities. ‘First of all, he is operating on the premise that he can get a waiver from the president to allow those funds to be used that way,’ Rep. Bill Sandifer said. ‘I personally do not feel there is any possibility of getting such a waiver. The stimulus package was written in such a way that the funds are designated for very specific things, with very specific conditions on their use.  Beyond that Sandifer also said he and others in the General Assembly were irked by Sanford’s waiting to announce his intentions until after the House had passed on a spending bill to the Senate under the assumption they’d have all stimulus moneys at their disposal.

Brad Woodhouse of the DNC, summed up the whole sordid matter pretty well: "Mark Sanford is putting his personal ambition ahead of the people of South Carolina by cow-towing to the Rush Limbaugh-led, obstructionist wing of the Republican Party. Now is not the time to politicize these practical steps to create jobs in South Carolina and across the country.  Governor Sanford should stop playing politics and work with leaders from both parties who want to use the economic recovery funds to help create jobs, fix our schools, reform our health care system, make America energy independent, and lay the foundation for long-term growth in the 21st Century.” It looks very much like the South Carolina legislature is preparing to tell Sanford to pursue his race to the bottom of the Republican barrel on his own time-- and not on the backs of struggling South Carolina families.

But guess what! Texas Governor Rick Perry, who is desperately trying to hold onto the governor's mansion in the face of a challenge from fellow winger Kay Bailey Hutchison, is trying to out-stoopid Sanford. Perry's turning down $556 million in federal stimulus money for unemployed Texans.
The announcement, following weeks of speculation about whether Perry would reject part of the massive economic stimulus package, set off charges that the governor was forsaking, for political expediency, about 45,000 Texans who need financial help fast. Conservative and business groups applauded Perry's decision.

Some Democratic lawmakers said they hoped to marshal enough votes to take the money over Perry's objection, though that would be difficult.

"Texas covers the smallest percentage of unemployed workers of any state," said Don Baylor Jr., an analyst for the Center for Public Policy Priorities, an advocate for low-income Texans. Four out of five laid-off workers are not eligible for unemployment benefits, he noted.

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat who chairs the National Governors Association, called Perry's decision to reject the unemployment funds "stunning."

"It's a terrible call. It is based on politics," he said, adding that while the federal stimulus does require some states to add coverage, it doesn't require the changes to be permanent. Lawmakers could roll back the expansion in two years, though they are often reluctant to take away benefits from voters.

The Texas legislature, like South Carolina's, is controlled by the Republicans, and they are also rejecting their crazy governor's partisan gameplaying. The House Select Committee on Federal Economic Stabilization Funding approved a motion by a 5-1 majority, yesterday "encouraging the Legislature to make the necessary changes to enable the state to receive $555 million in federal stimulus dollars." Sorry we don't have a clown picture to Perry yet. So what happened to Bobby Jindal (UPDATE: this) and Sarah Palin? Or do they roll it out next week so it looks like a movement with momentum instead of the dead end it is-- and, of course, the elephants' graveyard?

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9 Comments:

At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Balakirev said...

It's nice to see a DNC ad jumping on Sanford over this, and I appreciate the view. But what we really need are grassroots groups in those states that have the recall to start action against these idiots who want to put politics ahead of the people they were elected to supposedly serve. I wonder if there's anything like that going on? Or if Americans are simply following the path of their traditional virtue, inactivity?

 
At 11:51 AM, Blogger tberry said...

What a surprise. Slave state governors lining up to kick the unemployed while they are down.

 
At 12:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it would be very important that everyone read the story on Alternet today about the real motive for the Alabama killings this past week, it is very enlightening and very sad, also a reason why we must all support the Employee Free Choice Act. Please post on your site.

 
At 1:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Balakirev. The amount of INACTIVITY thats going on is only adding to a problem.

 
At 1:42 PM, Anonymous Will Franklin said...

Down with tyranny is such a poor name for this blog. Perry and Sanford go and reject tyranny, and you get mad? Bizarro world, here.

 
At 4:52 PM, Anonymous Jayson said...

If the blog writer was actually for the end of tyranny then he would be against the current system of voting under which voters are bought off with programs and benefits paid for by somebody else. Of course the blog writer would promptly respond to this by saying "but they are taking more then their fair share". If this was feudal Europe where you couldn't leave or do anything to improve your situation this argument this argument might hold up.

If the federal government wanted to create a stimulus bill then they should have given each state a lump sum and allowed the states to spend it on projects that might actually stimulate that states economy. Because the federal level politicians typically are aware of some of the issues whereas the state level politicians know more about what the state needs since for the most part they only have to worry about state level issues. Giving the money to the state to spend would also eliminate the federal governments cookie cutter approach to things which never works because every state is different.

 
At 11:44 AM, Anonymous theservant61 said...

These "massa" repugnican governors are in for a rude awakening! They must think the slogan "the south will rise again" must really mean the reinstitution of slave states! A snowball would have a much better chance in hell then something like that happening. Get over it POR, or "party of rush", because this time it won't just be just Savannah burning.

 
At 6:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

everyone knows that schools are what they are BASED on the property value taxes in the area that the school is found. if many live in an area where houses are not valued much then of course there wont be enough property taxes to go to that school. that is why black schools in sc are in bad shape, because the students' homes are not valued as much. more expoensive houses equal more taxes for better schools. if that girl in sc wants a better school then her neighbors and friends should invest in their homes first. taking fed money meansthat sc will have to suffer a tax increase in future to pay for it. duh. we cant affors that thats why gov rejects and i dont blame him.

 
At 4:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate the concept of the making the people suffer while those in power get to eat at least three meals a day. This concept is not new in our thinking as Americans. We have embargoed Cuba, North Korea, Lybia, Iran, etc... and the ones who suffer are the people not the top political figures. In the cases here the goveners are desperately trying to hold onto a base of power that is in the flux of change and they cannot see thw handwriting on the wall that hat type of thinking is going away. The babyboomer generation thinks this way and they are turning 65 or older ata rate of 10,0000 per day which means they are also dying off too with their votes and ideas. I just wish the political changes could happen faster in good old boy Texas. Austin our capital is very Liberal and most of the state is so conservative it's almost as if you're fighting the same group of people who killed Jesus because he was Liberal and included everyone in his teachings. Here in Texas if you are not married to a woman, white with two point three kids, own or have owned slaves, have a nanny for your kids that's from el salvador paid in illegal money under the table, have a lawn crew to do your yard work also illegal, and someone to blame you kids drug habit on except youself of course then you don't have a chance to better yourself in their eyes. But like I said the times are changing, Texas has not always been so far to the right and when it shifts because we have jobs here and the liberals move here because of the economics well more power to the grass roots efforts to getting more humanitarianism.

 

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