Yes it is thrilling that South Carolina is coming out of its financial slump, with low unemployment and lots of money sitting in the treasury. In fact, some of our legislators are so excited at having money to spend that they've forgotten that they blanch at the thought of funding food stamps and medical care, and are ready to start refunding things like (I am not making this up) the college pigskin all-star bowl, according to Bill Davis of Statehouse Reports.
But before Nikki Haley starts to do her victory laps, I think we should take a look at the bigger picture.
A fight on the federal level for jobs programs, educational funding, better medical care, improvements to roads, bridges and ports, has allowed people to get back on their feet after the financial disaster. Republicans may snort at helping people who are underpaid or unemployed, but those food stamp dollars get put right back into the economy, so that grocery stores can hire and profits can grow. When there is better and more affordable health care, people tend to take care of problems before they end up in an emergency room, costing taxpayers far less.
Here's something for South Carolina: our huge boost in tourism often comes from people who often come from other states, and often from those blue states, where their lives have become secure enough that they can begin to vacation again. We have a beautiful state and a great tourism industry, but let's not give our governor credit for all those tourism tax dollars. That could not have happened unless the tourists came to spend the money.
If it was the South alone that was booming, I might be inclined to say, keep on going with those corporate giveaways and the "right-to-work-cheap" philosophy.
But we continue to be in a sorry state as far as the working poor, and they can't spend money they don't have. Let's not forget that one of the big problem areas that our budget windfall is not fixing is the cost of Medicaid -- and that our governor has refused to take the federal dollars that would not only provide health care to the poor, but would save us lots of money. So we could put more into education, roads and bridges, oh, and what the hell, even funding those pigskin games.