There are few politicians on either side of the aisle who I am truly impressed with and believe consistently stand up for their principles. Governor Sanford of South Carolina is one of the big exceptions. Who else would say this when testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee, when they are contemplating another bailout which would in part go to state governments like his?
I’m here to beg of you not to approve or advance the contemplated $150 billion stimulus package for the effects that it would ultimately have in the state that I represent, and in turn, all states across the country and the nation as a whole. I applaud the sentiment behind it and your intentions in trying to help the American public given the enormity of the financial collapse before us, and I understand the supportive position staked out by many of my fellow governors by letter from the National Governors Association this Monday as well. Still, I feel it’s incumbent upon me to stand up and speak now, or perhaps forever hold my peace – and with the greatest respect I’d submit that I don’t think this is the course to be taken.
I’d ask that you, as leaders at this crucial juncture in our nation’s story, do three things: one, recognize that the current avalanche of bad news can be traced back several years to oftentimes poor financial decisions that snowballed out of control; two, consider that this $150 billion salve may in fact further infect our economy with unnecessary government influence and unintended fiscal consequences; and three, accept that there may be better routes to recovery than a blanket bailout, including offering states like mine more in the way of flexibility and freedom from federal mandates instead of a bag of money with strings attached.