Saturday, April 4, 2009

SC Gov. Mark Sanford Should Listen To Raymond Vaughn Before Rejecting Stimulus Money

This is Raymond Vaughn. He has been laid off for from his job as a window installer for almost a year. Raymond is living with his finance in Columbia, South Carolina, and is trying to enter the medical billing field through an online course. 

The New York Times profiled Raymond this past Thursday. Here's his response to Governor Mark Sanford's refusing stimulus package money:

He takes note of the reports that South Carolina has the second-highest unemployment rate in the nation — 11 percent in February, behind only Michigan. He seethes as he hears that his state’s Republican governor, Mark Sanford, is preparing to reject $700 million in federal aid aimed at generating new jobs, arguing that spending more now will simply add to public debt in the years ahead.

“How can somebody who’s never been broke say with any confidence what someone needs who’s struggling?” Mr. Vaughn asks disgustedly.

Excellent question. Governor Sanford–who also said that using stimulus money for education is "fiscal child abuse"–is either trying to appeal to his conservative base, or he views the stimulus package simplistically–or both. 

True, more spending will add to the public debt. But is that the only factor that the governor should consider? Shouldn't he also consider whether the stimulus money is an investment that could pay greater dividends? If it does indeed generate new jobs, doesn't that give people the incentive to spend and invest more, lifting the state's economy?

I wish Raymond Vaughn the best in building his new career. I also wish Governor Sanford would listen to someone like him, who's been broke and struggling. Maybe the governor would consider ideology and politics less and investing in his state's future more.

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