After more than three decades in this business, you can get sort of jaded. You hear that the governor of Illinois is arrested and charged with trying to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat, and you think, here we go again. What’s new in the world? Hey, I’ve seen gubernatorial corruption. I was there in Nashville in January 2009 when they swore in Lamar Alexander several days early because Gov. Ray Blanton was expected to turn a bunch of prisoners loose in his last days in office.
And hey, this is Illinois we’re talking about, so what do you expect? They’re doing politics the Chicago way.
But then I saw that, among the nefarious things this Blagojevich was about to do is blackmail the troubled Chicago Tribune into firing the entire editorial board as the price of getting state aid. At that point I thought, now he’s gone to meddling! I mean, there oughta be a law, right? Fortunately, there is…
I’m still not sure exactly what happened. The NYT said:
The authorities also say Mr. Blagojevich threatened to withhold state assistance from the Tribune Company,
the publisher of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, which filed
for bankruptcy on Monday. According to the authorities, Mr. Blagojevich
wanted members of the Tribune’s editorial board, who had criticized
him, to be fired before he extended any state assistance.
What state aid, I wondered? Here I was thinking that my industry was the only one taking its lumps without asking for any government handouts. The WSJ described the plot differently:
Another incident that came from intercepted conversations involved
the Chicago Tribune. The governor wasn’t pleased with the Tribune’s
coverage of him and its editorial content. According to the government,
the governor threatened to stall the sale of Wrigley Field if the
newspaper failed to fire certain members of the editorial board. Both
the newspaper and Wrigley Field are owned by Tribune Co.
According to Mr. Fitzgerald, the person who was targeted to be fired
is still at the newspaper. He wouldn’t offer specific names.
In a statement, Tribune said the actions of its executives and
advisers working on the Wrigley Field sale "have been appropriate at
all times." The company also said, "No one working for the company or
on its behalf has ever attempted to influence staffing decisions at the
Chicago Tribune or any aspect of the newspaper’s editorial coverage as
a result of conversations with officials in the governor’s
Apparently, the gov was upset about editorials such as these:
Hey, isn’t that the way a newspaper is supposed to write about its governor?
Anyway, we’ve got nothing to worry about. Aside from the fact that our governor is NOT a crook — and remember, you read it here — our governor doesn’t believe in the gummint getting involved with bailouts anyway, so what kind of leverage could he have if he DID go bad…
By the way, the photo above is of the Illinois gov arriving at da scene of da crime — Tribune Tower — on Monday. In the perp-drive photo below, that’s his (allegedly) naughty face peeping out from behind the cop’s headrest at extreme left.
If Obama moles inside the Justice Department had not leaked this to the Tribune, who published the wiretap story last Friday, this investigation could have gone on until the sale of Obama’s Senate seat was consummated, and a lot more Democrats could be easily indicted, maybe right up to Obama.
So, Brad, if I read you right, selling Barack Obama’s Senate seat is no problem, but blackmailing the Tribune into firing its editorial board is?
Man, your priorities are seriously misplaced.
No, Brad, our Governor doesn’t do those Chicago kinds of things. He simply makes attempt after attempt to promote the interests of the wealthiest in our state with his trickle-down economic doctrines. Look at the list that began in his first month, including cutting the top tax bracket rate, transferring the tax burden from high-end real estate to sales tax and rental units, holding federal Medicaid matching funds hostage by demanding yhat cigarette tax increases lower the top income tax rate, tax credits for private school patrons, and his latest veiled attempt to help only the highest-earners by allowing a 3.5% rate without deductions. Why doesn’t someone on your staff shine some sunlight on his long parade of policy proposals straight out of the Cato Institute and Heritage Foundation aimed at “increasing prosperity” by shifting the tax burden more onto the middle class and poor.
The Tobacco Settlement already added a tax to the price of cigarettes of over $1.00 a pack, generating over $200,000,000 a year to SC.
No one has to “shine a light” on policy proposals from the Heritage Foundation or Cato Institute. They have always been public information, and most are online or downloadable PDF documents.
Free market capitalists welcome open discussion because our ideas are the only real solutions.
So what you are saying is the South Carolina economy would be worse if those policies had been implemented?
Just like Brad, you want to blame Sanford for what he hasn’t done nor had an opportunity to even TRY.
I could see your point if South Carolina had a booming economy. We don’t. So who IS actually responsible for our economic standing? It can’t be the governor because we aren’t following his advice.
“Blame Sanford?” Moi? Hey, didn’t I just say he wasn’t a crook? What more do you want, eggs in your beer?
We want you to realize that Sanford is right, and your gang in the legislature is wrong on most issues.
Indeed, I think the property tax swap has already hurt our economy, but only mildly in comparison to the massive damage brought on by failing national policies. Income and wealth disparity have both been a huge drag on South Carolina’s economic development and quality of life for ages. Until the early 1970’s most of South Carolina’s economic and political life was controlled by a small number of wealthy families and citizens who, rather than using that power to better the life of most of the citizens, used their power to cling to their own position. The Gov thinks that shifting the tax burden away from high income-earners will attract more of them and more businesses to the state. We can’t outbid Texas and Florida on tax rates. We can, however, improve the attractiveness of the state by investing in families, cutting crime rates, raising the education levels of our citizens, and developing a notably attractive quality of life. Sanford’s private approach to almost everything leads to a third-world environment of dual school systems, walled communities surrounded by slum neighborhoods, and a divided citizenry. Prosperity does not, and never did, trickle down.
Harry, prosperity must necessarily trickle down.
If I open a country store, and my hard work makes it successful enough to expand beyond my means to run it by myself, I will hire someone else to help me. That’s the first trickle, and the more my business grows, the more trickle there will be.
It’s not a theory. It’s a fundamental fact.
Oh, that we had some more people with the country store attitude and a real work ethic. The economic behavior in vogue since the mid 80’s has trended strongly toward hoarding (hedgeing), leveraged buy-outs, and building an economy based on debt rather than earnings. We don’t manufacture much in this country anymore, we move money around and inflate prices on houses, stocks, and valuables. Look where that has gotten us in an economy where low-income working people build mountains of debt, but no savings and equity. You and I live comfortably buying cheap goods produced by low wage earners and think how nicely our economy runs when my 100,000 a year and their 20,000 averages out to a neat 60K.
Sanford is on the right track, but 10 years is too long to wait for reform, and cutting the tax rate to 3.5% is not enough.
We should be abolishing the income tax and property taxes. If we have to phase out the income tax, there should immediately be one rate for everyone. Progressive taxation violates the Equal Protection Doctrine.
YES, WE CAN abolish income tax, as many other states have done. Over 100,000 engineers and scientists, and who knows how many entrepreneurs, have left South Carolina since the 1980s because of its double taxation of income? The brain drain keeps this state from developing businesses and creating jobs for factory workers.
YES WE CAN!
LEE MULLER FOR GOVERNOR, 2010!!!
P.S. See? The China doll didn’t get Ed. Sec.
[NOT ALL FEMALES PUT DOLLS ON ‘PEDESTALS.’]
Governor Sanford has refused to work with the General Assembly on the most important faces our state. Even, the Senate Republicans are upset with the governor as he has abandon his 2006 campaign promises and a failed administration.