12.01.2008 0

What Sanford Stands For

  • On: 12/08/2008 10:35:30
  • In: Government Transparency
  • By Alex Rosenwald

    We have seen many in government obsessed with bailouts. They eagerly fed Wall Street a big fat check—and now possibly the Big 3 will take a slice out of the billion dollar pie to fix their financial mess. And the likely result from another bailout looks anything but appetizing–government gets bigger, a few are made richer, and the A merican people get stuck with the bill.

    Doesn’t sound too appealing, does it? All in all, the Wall Street bailout accomplished very little—except of course making our government more powerful and making us a little lighter in the wallet. The same would happen if Congress bailed out the auto industry.

    Now, here’s the most important question to look at—do bailouts solve financial problems or do they make things financial problems worse off? Well, we would be foolish in thinking the former were true. Government intervention never makes things better.

    This propensity to hemorrhage federal dollars has even triggered a massive interest from state governments to ask government for some of that bailout money. Hungry governors and state legislators from across the country are pushing Congress with a new bailout to help them push a major news public works program.

    And here’s the challenge: where do you draw the line? What if Boeing needs to be bailed out? Microsoft? Yahoo? Politicians promoting the bailout vision without seeing the problems it may bring for the future is disaster waiting to happen.

    However, there is some hope in South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who is distinguishing himself as one of the few politicos who rejects more spending and demands more accountability. In an effort to put the Federal Government on a spending diet, he wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, keeping the pressure on Congress to stop with the spending:

    “In 2008 bailouts became the first resort. Over the past year the federal government has committed itself to $2.3 trillion (including the tax rebate “stimulus” checks of last February) to “improve” the economy. I don’t see how another $150 billion now will make a difference in a global slowdown. We’ve already unloaded truckloads of sugar in a vain attempt to sweeten a lake. Tossing in a Twinkie will not make the difference.

    However, there is something Congress can do: free states from federal mandates. South Carolina will spend about $425 million next year meeting federal unfunded mandates. The increase in the minimum wage alone will cost the state $2.6 million and meeting Homeland Security’s REAL ID requirements will cost $8.9 million.

    Based on what I saw in Washington, the bailout train is being loaded up. Taxpayers will have to speak up now to change its freight, tab or departure.”

    Sanford notes a very key point: Congress has already committed 2.3 trillion dollars this year alone to improve the economy. What would a state bailout do except make millions more of America lose money, i.e. savings, retirement fund, and a pretty dismal economic future?

    Unlike most in Washington, Gov. Sanford offers a solution:

    [T]here is something Congress can do: free states from federal mandates. South Carolina will spend about $425 million next year meeting federal unfunded mandates. The increase in the minimum wage alone will cost the state $2.6 million and meeting Homeland Security’s REAL ID requirements will cost $8.9 million.

    Why is this important? Because Congress is out of control and Americans need to do everything they can to stop Congress from creating a similarly out of control debt to bailout Wall Street, the Big 3, and states.

    The responsibility shouldn’t go on the taxpayer—it should go on those responsible for their own bad decisions. Plans that rely on more spending from government is not what we need. We need more personal responsibility—not more government handouts.

    Thankfully, Gov. Sanford has a solution to which the rest of the Federal Government ought to listen.
    Given the loud munching, crunching and slurping of their bailout feasting, however, it is unlikely they can even hear at all.

    Alex Rosenwald is a contributing editor of ALG News Bureau.


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