Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What Sanford didn't know: Uncle Sam may have to bail out more than Wall Street

South Carolina - for all the pretense that Sanford and his hack Joe Taylor put forward - is on the verge of imploding.

Despite the cake news you hear from Commerce about hundreds of potential jobs that are being 'created' (over the span of 5-10 years) it still doesn't counter the fact that outside of the big three: Charleston-Metro, Columbia-Metro, and the Greenville-Metro areas; unemployment has ballooned. Nor does it suffice to say that the jobs that are being 'created' are seasonal (construction) or for the most part extremely low wage (retail, non-salaried labourer) as opposed to the jobs in manufacturing that we're loosing.

SCBiz Mag reported on Monday that "South Carolina’s jobless rate soared in August to 7.6%, the second-straight substantial monthly increase and the highest unemployment rate in 15 years." And the actual numbers per county were staggering and are quickly approaching depression era rates. "Allendale led the pack with 17.2% of its workers unemployed. Rounding out the top 10, Marion followed with a 16.2% rate; Bamberg, 13.9%; Marlboro, 13.3%; Chester, 12.8%; Orangeburg, 12.7%; Fairfield, 12.8%; Barnwell, 12.6%; Union, 12.5%; and Lancaster, 12.2%."

As if to add insult to injury - the Unemployment Insurance that people are sadly depending on as they search for ever more scarce jobs or jobs that pay less than the dignified wages they were earning is drying up. The Post & Courier reports that,

"Right now, the agency is paying more than $10 million in unemployment insurance benefits every week, about twice as much as in recent years.
The fund has only about $130 million left.
"You do the math," said Executive Director Ted Halley. "Even if we drop below the 7.6 percent rate, I estimate that it will go broke about the second week in January."
And what did our Governor had to say about such grim prospects?
Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer said the governor was unaware of the situation, and "it's something we'll have to take a look at."
Great. He had NO IDEA what was going on. That's because Sanford and other law makers are too busy arguing over who's a real conservative and who's a RINO and playing Howard Rich's game and pointing fingers at other lawmakers who 'pork it up' giving local governments money to fix sewer systems or support local culture (because in South Carolina's system of government local municipalities don't have the ability or authority to raise such funds on their own). Obviously such naval gazing and "easy" point scoring is more important business than solving real issues in our state.

But that's ok, surely in South Carolina where the wealthy and upper middle class who pay federal income taxes and receive refunds from the State Tax system wouldn't mind a 1 to 3% increase? They might, but Sanford won't even consider it.
"If unemployment is an issue, the last thing you want to do is raise taxes on businesses," Sawyer said.
That's a canned statement but it's all someone ignorant of the situation will give, and so far no one in the administration has even offered a solution - and they probably won't.

Well our next great hope is a bail out - since South Carolina politicians are shirking responsibility in an effort to maintain their stranglehold on the state's citizens at least the Federal Government will bail out the U.I. System... no seriously, that's the plan.
When facing insolvency, state employment officials can take out a bailout loan from the federal government to cover costs.
I wonder if Lindsey and Jim will argue over this plan too...

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