Joe sez it’s all that dope we’re doing

The Sanford administration keeps looking for explanations for the fact that we have too much unemployment in South Carolina. First, when the Employment Security Commission ran out of money for jobless benefits (the function of the tax being cut awhile back, combined with — duh — dramatically rising unemployment), he said it's gotta be the ESC's fault; they must be inefficient or something.

Now, his Commerce Secretary's come up with an alternative explanation: It's all that dope. From the AP:

South Carolina Commerce Secretary Joe Taylor has added a new wrinkle to the nation's third-highest unemployment rate by saying drug use is keeping people from getting jobs.

Taylor briefed Gov. Mark Sanford and his Cabinet on today about why he pushed the Employment Security Commission to document why people are out of work and how frequently they claim jobless benefits.

Taylor says the state needs to teach people that failed drug tests will keep them out of work for months. He says recruiting businesses to places with high drug test failure rates doesn't help.

The commission's three members face a Monday deadline to turn over information to Sanford or risk being fired. Sanford says his office will review the data before he decides their fate.

South Carolina's jobless rate was 9.5 percent in December.

Call it the Michael Phelps theory…

Of course, this has the state spin cycle up at full throttle. I first heard of the Taylor comment when I got this response from the S.C. Democrats:

Fowler Calls for Apology from Sanford for Commerce Secretary Slurs

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Carol Fowler on Monday called upon Gov. Mark Sanford to apologize for Secretary of Commerce Joe Taylor's slurs against South Carolina’s unemployed workers.

According to The Associated Press, Taylor who Sanford appointed as Secretary of Commerce in 2006, told the governor and others attending his cabinet meeting Monday that South Carolina workers are having trouble finding jobs because of their drug use.

“Instead of looking for real solutions to our state’s unemployment crisis, the governor and his cabinet are flailing around desperately, looking for any excuse that will divert blame during this time of crisis. The Secretary of Commerce is supposed to be the state’s ambassador for recruiting new businesses, but Sanford’s pick has been a failure.  Taylor’s comments reflect Gov. Sanford’s desperation to distract attention from South Carolina’s deep unemployment problems, and demonstrate his own poor management skills in supervising the Department of Commerce, which is part of his cabinet,” said Fowler.

“Sanford would rather slur the reputation of South Carolina workers than own up to his own failings and risk his ambition to be president. He and Taylor seem to have no evidence backing up the accusations of drug abuse, they just throw it out there in hopes it will stick.”

South Carolina’s unemployment rate was lower than the nation’s almost every year from 1975 through 2000. But the state’s average yearly jobless rate has been significantly higher than the nation’s since Sanford took office. In December it stood at 9.5 percent – the nation’s third highest, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

I can't wait to hear the rest of this story…

(And no, that's not a photo of Joe demonstrating, a la Ross Perot, how drug use and unemployment converge on a chart. It just looks like it. That's a file photo.)

16 thoughts on “Joe sez it’s all that dope we’re doing

  1. anonymous

    Charleston,SC Mayor Joe Riley Calls Out Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina on Stimulus Bill
    Charleston Mayor Joe Riley said South Carolina’s governor should “energetically” support President Obama’s stimulus plan in light of the state’s dismal employment numbers.
    Gov. Mark Sanford has been a high-profile opponent of the jobs plan, claiming it will only grow the nation’s deficit. But Riley said Tuesday that, in light of the state’s unemployement rate nearing 10 percent, Sanford’s first priority should be in securing pay checks for South Carolinians.
    “The governor needs to feel responsible for the economic health of his state and the people of his state,” Riley said.
    The White House says the stimulus will create 53,000 jobs in South Carolina, and increase tax cuts, tuition tax credits, and unemployment benefits.

  2. martin

    Mark Sanford has never taken responsibilty for anything in his miserable life, not even them piggies pooping on his suit.

  3. Harry Harris

    Governor Sanford and his surrogates sometimes remind me of the middle school students I used to teach. When caught doing something out-of-line, their stock response was “Who me?!” They had an amazingly pervasive habit of denial and blame shifting regardless how transparent their guilt was. Any public offial with the gall to count cumulative want-ads as open jobs begging for workers or having the bent for selectively citing bad education statistics (dropout rate, low SAT scores) in the face of demonstrable progress (NAEP gains, rising AP test success rates) to support a narrow doctrinaire agenda (top bracket tax cuts, private school subsidies)needs to understand the true meaning of accountability. “The buck stops here,” Dude.

  4. anonymous

    South Carolina’s unemployment rate projected to reach (14) Fourteen percent by the summer
    COLUMBIA — South Carolina’s economic forecasters announced today that the state’s unemployment rate is likely to reach 10.5 percent when figures are announced later this month.
    The Board of Economic Advisors also agreed to take $190 million from revenue projections for the fiscal year that begins in July. At $6.1 billion, the state budget is back to what it was in 2004, essentially erasing five years of growth.
    The board held off from cutting the current fiscal year’s budget, which put off additional midyear cuts for the time being.
    John Rainey, the board chairman, said he does not see any immediate intervention coming to South Carolina that could stop the unemployment rate from reaching the projected 14 percent by the summer.
    Rainey said he had hope that the stimulus package being drafted by Congress would send immediate relief to the state, but he has been given no reason to believe the stimulus plan will cause change quick enough.
    “This is a right now issue,” he said.

  5. Jerry

    If Gov. Sanford had his way he would put many, many of us that earn state paychecks on the unemployment line too. Nonsense like this makes it very hard to take him seriously, it’s just sacry that we have to since he is our governor.

  6. Karen McLeod

    Anyone out there realize what he’s taken from our natural parks to put into tourism, which was already getting a lot?

  7. Steve Gordy

    Our Governor strikes me as a person who’s too smart to have good sense. If he’d lived on a real farm (instead of his family’s plantation on Coosaw Island), he’d have known that piglets do what they do, whenever it is they want to do it, regardless of what you’re wearing.

  8. Lee Muller

    Why do state employees think their salaries should rise with the economy? They do not contribute directly to anything which creates wealth. Government is overhead, a cost item. At best, it is a referee making the least interference it can to reduce fraud and theft.
    If the economy contracts, government has to contract along with it, especially if it has grown faster than the economy, or has swelled to consume a surplus of one-time tax revenues during boom years.
    If the government employees want to make more money, they need to be more productive so the state can employ fewer of them.

  9. Ralph Hightower

    I take it that Lee Muller doesn’t care about clean drinking water or that restaurants would then be able to serve food that makes people sick and possibly cause death.

  10. Lee Muller

    Ralph, why do you make such idiotic comments?
    Government sells us out drinking water. Do you trust the Columbia Water Department? The FBI just raided their offices and took off a truck load of records.
    Private businesses have a vested interest in serving healthy food, because they have competition. Their customers can choose to buy elsewhere, or cook at home.
    Have you noticed that with all the regulators at the FDA and DHEC, there is still tons of contaminated peanut butter being sold here, thousands of contaminated foods from Red China’s socialist factories, and restaurants employing illegal aliens serving food infected with hepatitis?
    I don’t trust the government to protect me.

  11. Ralph Hightower

    Hey Lee,
    If you don’t like living with a government, move someplace where there is no government.
    Move to Somalia!

  12. Lee Muller

    Somalia does have a government – the model of where Obama is taking his government.
    I have a better idea: why don’t we get rid of the illegal aliens first?
    We might need to check Obama’s birth certificate, though, since he still has not provided proof of citizenship.
    Enjoy your next glass of government water!

  13. Robert

    I have a friend that is in management for a manufacturer in the McBee area….he said they are about to STOP drug testing because they can’t hire anyone and they can’t fire all of their current employees. Just because everyone in your white collar job doesn’t do drugs doesn’t mean the same thing in the rural blue collar world. And yes, there are many white collar workers that do drugs as well.

  14. Lee Muller

    All Joe Taylor is saying is that the chronic unemployment problems of SC are mainly due to behavior problems among segments of the population, primarily of African ancestry.
    * Drug and alcohol abuse are keeping many of them out of work.
    Add to that their other major disqualifications:
    * Illiterate – 50% of them do not read or do math at an 8th grade level.
    * Drop outs. Some areas have as many as 50% of adults without a high school diploma.
    * Felony convictions. Up to 33% of males in some counties and cities.
    * Unmarried with children, making it difficult to work any job.
    * Lack of role models who do stay sober, act responsibly, go to work, save money, and get married before having children.

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