Leatherman’s letter to Sanford

Folks, here’s a copy of the letter that Hugh Leatherman wrote to Sanford about the stimulus. Don’t know what to add except that his point, that South Carolinians will pay for this stimulus whether we get the money or not, is one that I heard Republican senators making yesterday at the State House.

Hardly seems worth mentioning because it’s so painfully obvious. To everyone but Sanford. Did you read the short item in the paper today about what Bobby Harrell had to say?

COLUMBIA, S.C. — House Speaker Bobby Harrell said Wednesday South Carolina lawmakers should prepare a budget without using federal stimulus cash unless Gov. Mark Sanford reverses himself and decides to seek the money.

“We’re probably not going to have that money with the governor not requesting it,” Harrell, R-Charleston, said. “It is time to write a budget that does not include that money.”

But Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer said it is time for legislators to sit down with the governor and come up with a budget plan that uses $700 million stimulus cash the governor will control during the next two years to pay down state debt or forgoes the federal cash altogether through budget cuts. “So far, they’ve not indicated a willingness to do so.”…

That comment from Joel really gets me. He might as well say, “The governor has invited lawmakers to poke every citizen of South Carolina in the eye with a sharp stick, but so far, they’ve not indicated a willingness to do so…”

21 thoughts on “Leatherman’s letter to Sanford

  1. Randy E

    Sorry to deviate from the stick in the eye but the republicans unveiled their plan for dealing with the economic crisis; “Road to Recovery.” I can share the entire plan in the next five words: TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH! They want to cut the top rate to 25%. For context, W cut it to 35%.

    Actually, this was their idea of a “budget” and one that included this tax cut and that’s it.

    Let me write this again. The solution to the economic crisis that is crippling the global economy, causing banks to crash, forcing people into living in tents, and resulted in 11 trillion dollars lost by the country is to cut taxes for the wealthy.

    The republicans can no longer be taken seriously.

  2. Birch Barlow

    “The republicans can no longer be taken seriously.”

    As if they should have been taken seriously before now…

  3. gordon

    Brad – With all of your considerable talents now unfettered by past constraints, when are you going to start writing about subjects beyond the obvious and trivial? I ask this not as criticism, but as a friend and former colleague, having learned the hard way that nothing is of less interest to audiences than rehashing the minutiae of relations among the usual suspects.

    You have a unique opportunity to lead your audience into unvarnished arenas of public debate that were formerly out of bounds. You are presumably free of the constraints and responsibilities of your former office – depending on terms of your severance agreement.

    Take this opportunity to whittle your newfound freedom into a sharp stick and start poking our leaders where it hurts. And, for God’s sake, stop quoting the State and other relics of our journalistic past. … Better yet, stop reading them altogether.

  4. Lee Muller

    Brad is still writing about the same baloney he dished out for The State.
    There is a much wider world out there, and you don’t have to worry about being fired for crossing Bob Coble.

  5. Tim

    I go back to something you wrote earlier, Brad. All this presumes Mark Sanford cares about something other than Mark Sanford, and he clearly doesn’t.

  6. Birch Barlow

    All this presumes Mark Sanford cares about something other than Mark Sanford, and he clearly doesn’t.

    Which makes him just like all the rest. Nothing to see here. Move along.

  7. Karen McLeod

    Govenor Sanford wishes to promote the oligarchy that the Republican party, not to mention the Libertarians have been building. Of course, he’s in the ruling class of that oligarchy. When a state has the greatest burden placed on the many, while lightening the burden of the very few, very rich, it ends up with a feudal system–a small, rich ‘nobility’ supported by many serfs who live on subsistence resources, so that the rulers can continue to be rich. I think that we’ve been headed that way for awhile. I hope that this has not been the intent of the political agenda of the last few years, but it is the result. If Mr. Sanford wants to pay of the debts, he should reimpose the taxes on the richest 1% of our citizens (for most of us, taxes have not reduced markedly, and I for one would pay a bit more to have some of our roads fixed, or to help my fellow citizens who are down and out.

  8. Birch Barlow

    LOL, Karen. An oligarchy? You mean where power rests in the hands of the few?

    Obviously this is what the Republican Party wants. The (as you say) capital (L)ibertarian Party though? They’re irrelevant. They hold no power. And even if they did, I’m pretty sure they would be against centralizing power in the hands of the few.

    But you are right that there are two parties who want an oligarchy. The Republicans and the Democrats.

    Attempting to shut out other parties is something an oligarchist would do. That’s what Dems and Pubs do.

    Centralizing power in Washington so that the people of this country are governed by a body farther and farther away from home every day, that’s something an oligarchist would do. That’s what the Dems and Pubs do.

    Taking money from the masses and giving it to a few corporations through TARP and the bailouts, that’s something an oligarchist would do. That’s what the Dems and Pubs did.

    Bending to the ever-increasing power of lobbyists, that’s something an oligarchist would do. That’s what the Dems and Pubs are doing.

    So I ask you this, Karen: Who really are the oligarchists in this country?

  9. Karen McLeod

    Money is power. It’s simple. If you have enough money you can bring advertising and lobbiests to pressure those who make the laws. Actually, you can all to often buy those that make the laws. The problem with the “cut taxes to the rich, and they will create jobs, and you’ll have a wonderful economy” point of view is that the jobs so created usually pay minimally. They’re frequently subsistance ‘serf’ jobs. Of course, such an approach does make the rich richer–its great for their economy and power. As for Bush’s tax cuts being “the way:” well, that was a minor recession indeed, just like the one that Clinton inherited was. This time we have a doozy. I did notice that most of the Clinton years were very prosperous, as were most of the Kennedy years. And during those years we were able to care for many who needed care. I don’t remember the Nixon years being that great. or Bush the elder years, for that matter. I don’t remember the rich having to beg on the streets during any of these administrations. At least, with the Obama plan more people get more jobs, and we get some concrete advances as far as infrastructure, education, and health care are concerned. Europe came out of the dark ages and into the renaissance with the rise of the middle class, not the further enrichment of the nobles. I am all in favor of people becoming successes, and even wealthy successes. I just don’t think that entitles them to control all the money, and therefore all the power.

  10. brad

    Gordon, it seems to me that when we’re talking about whether or not the state gets $700 million that it really, really needs, we’re doing more than talking “minutiae…”

  11. Pat

    A side trip: I read a comment a while back on a Libertarian site the claim that the Libertarians have successfully taken over the Republican Party. I think the ultra-right wing extremists in the Republican Party are the Libertarians – not the evangelicals as some have claimed. Speaking of evangelicals, a bible verse requires that we pray for our government for our overall well-being and protection. There are some who want so little government so that they can be the vultures that they are – which is why we are in the shape we are in now. No regulation, no controls encourage greed – The Heart of Darkness, you know. So there is a fine line in which government should operate, one that protects every individual yet give enough room that innovation and growth are not stifled. The Republican Party should be that kind of party. and there should be kindness and mercy. After reading more about Teddy Roosevelt, I wish the Republicans were more like him.
    Sorry for the diversion. Should we take the money? Yes we should. Not taking it is not going to keep us from paying for it. The elected state officials can’t do the job that the US senators and representatives were elected to do. They should only know an opportunity when they see it.

  12. Lee Muller

    How do you plan to repay this money when the loan comes due?

    This is not a gift from Uncle Sam. It is a future tax on you and your children, if you pay taxes. $8 billion is more than twice as much as the state tax revenues for one year. Do you plan to double state taxes?

    That’s the problem – most Obama supporters don’t pay much or any taxes.
    They see his wasteful spending as reparations from “rich whites and Jews”, to use Obama’s terms.

  13. Pat

    So how do we repay it? Is it loaned to SC with interest? Will it increase our SC income taxes in order to repay it? Or will it increase our Federal income tax? If we put all these people back to work, will their income taxes pay it? The problem is Congress has already passed it. So it seems likely if Michigan gets our share, the SC pay out will be the same. This is what I understand if I read Sen Graham correctly, even though he and some others were not happy about the bill as it ended up.
    A bigger problem might be the strings attached – causing SC to change their current rules on who qualifies for unemployment for example; that might be the federal interfering where states have authority. I will look closely at what our people do, and why.
    Re the 8 billion/ < 4 billion. Is that our income in a recession year when so many people are out of work? Or a year when we have so called full employment. Where are we on that scale?

  14. Pat

    And then there is that analogy, if my house is on fire, I stay and put out the fire, not run to city hall to pay my taxes.

  15. Lee Muller

    These bailouts are illegal.
    The first one gave a blank check to the Executive branch to spend over $1 trillion dollars, and to make up laws. Congress cannot do that.

    The second bailout did not follow the appropriations process – no committees, no hearings, no debate, and attempts to bypass the state legislatures and governors.

    Lawsuits are being filed.
    There is a good chance the courts will stop all this illegal spending.
    Then what will the states do?

Comments are closed.