If Mark Sanford Really Doesn't Want The Fed Money . . .

. . . then he should put his principles where his mouth is. He should sue to have the stimulus money NOT sent to South Carolina. Yesterday, the South Carolina Governor insisted again that he will refuse federal stimulus money. The problem is the federal stimulus legislation provides for the South Carolina legislature to bypass him and take the money on South Carolina's behalf. But, according to Jack Balkin, Sanford has a strong case that that provision in the federal stimulus bill is unconstitutional. If Sanford REALLY believes what he is saying, he should challenge the provision in the federal stimulus that renders him powerless to stop South Carolina from becoming Zimbabwe. Balkin writes:

Governor Sanford says he doesn't want the money except to pay down debt; the state legislature has passed a concurrent resolution (which the Governor cannot veto) saying that it wants the money with all the federal strings attached. The federal stimulus bill says that a concurrent resolution is all that is necessary; this provision was inserted in the bill in order to do an end run around GOP governors like Sanford who might refuse federal funds either because of political grandstanding or because of their lack of a basic understanding of economics.

I think this provision may not be constitutional. Unless you can demonstrate that under South Carolina law, the South Carolina Legislature, acting alone, speaks for the State, it would seem to me that the governor's consent is necessary.

Spending Clause jurisprudence requires that the state freely consent to conditional grants by the federal government. But not just any state official may give consent. The question of who is authorized to give consent to accept federal funding is a question of South Carolina state law, not federal law. Federal law can offer the states money to enforce federal mandates and even to pass legislation, but what it may not do is decide which state official is authorized to consent to federal grants that bind the state and its operations.

If Sanford was really the states' rights, "fiscal conservative" he is trying to play on TV, he would strike a blow for federalism and for his stated claim that South Carolina should refuse the federal money. If he doesn't, we can mark him down as an unprincipled, grandstanding blowhard.

Which way do you think he'll go? Heh.

Speaking for me only

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    Supposedly, the concurrent resolution (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by andgarden on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:21:50 PM EST
    that the (Republican controlled) SC legislature passed had veto proof margins.

    SC is going to spend this money without a constitutional problem, and Sanford can't stop it. The legislature will just override his veto.

    Then let's let that happen (none / 0) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:26:50 PM EST
    Make Sanford blame South Carolina for the sin.

    He won't. (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by scribe on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:50:48 PM EST
    Carping and whining is what he'll do, all the while scheming for ways to divert those luscious federal funds into his buddies' pockets.

    He's a Republican - one can expect no more, and maybe less, from him.


    he's a politician, not a "republican" (1.00 / 1) (#14)
    by diogenes on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 03:36:08 PM EST
    Next you'll be telling me that since John McCain is a Republican that as president he'd have signed budget bills larded with earmarks, whereas good Democrats like Barack Obama would never do such a thing.

    No (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by kaleidescope on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 10:23:06 PM EST
    He's a Republican politician.

    South Carolina (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by CoralGables on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:24:44 PM EST
    ranks number two of 50 states with the highest unemployment in January. It had the biggest increase in unemployment from December to January of the 50 states (tied with NC). And had the biggest increase in unemployment of the 50 states from January 2008 to January 2009.

    Maybe Sanford should take a closer look at the disaster taking place before his eyes in South Carolina before he gets all self-righteous along with being an unprincipled, grandstanding blowhard.

    Who do you think has the unemployment (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by andgarden on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:26:50 PM EST
    problem in South Carolina? Hint: they didn't vote for him in the first place.

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:27:54 PM EST
    I think his electoral machinations are more related to a Presidential run in 2012 than what it means for him in South Carolina.

    Yes (none / 0) (#6)
    by andgarden on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:28:33 PM EST
    But because he's from the south, the two are complementary.

    Then (none / 0) (#7)
    by CST on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:29:47 PM EST
    He should probably be more worried about the unemployment figures in his state.  I don't imagine that will play well nationally.

    I did not say he was smart (5.00 / 4) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:30:12 PM EST
    You kidding? (none / 0) (#9)
    by andgarden on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:30:40 PM EST
    He's trying to hold the line against you-know-who.

    Voldemort? (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by CST on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:39:12 PM EST
    Sorry, I couldn't resist...

    Blowhard or not (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by cal1942 on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:47:12 PM EST
    Sanford is the picture of current day Republican irresponsibility.  South Carolina has the second highest unemployment rate in the nation trailing only Michigan.  Part of the Recovery Act extends jobless benefits and from what I read Sanford will also refuse those funds.

    Sanford certainly won't be able to get a federal tax cut for South Carolinians comensurate with its percentage of the whole.  So he's asking South Carolinians to pay for it but not receive any return.

    Even if he's just acting the blowhard he still gets the award as one of the most irresponsible elected officials in the country ranking right in there with Jindal and Barbour who've made similar noise.

    It's really a double honor, stupid and irresponsible.

    If he's a hero to right-wing Republicans maybe they can get Sanford the 2012 Presidential nomination. We can only hope.

    If I were a South Carolinian I'd be having dreams of pitchforks and torches.

    The devil is in the details (none / 0) (#13)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 03:29:28 PM EST
    Some of these governors are saying that by accepting the money for unemployment insurance programs now, this money will run out in 3 years or so, and the state will be left with basically an unfunded mandate (ala "NCLB"), the extra cost to be picked up by the state, and that also, states will have to tighten requirements for those future people who will want to collect unemployment then.

    I have not seen anything that countered this argument.  Does anybody have any further information on this?


    Simple (5.00 / 0) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 03:43:40 PM EST
    Repeal the change when the money runs out.

    That assumes, of course (none / 0) (#16)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 03:48:26 PM EST
    You trust Congress to do the right thing.  :)

    Not at all (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 03:53:37 PM EST
    This is a question of state law.

    Yes, but (none / 0) (#22)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 04:55:22 PM EST
    If what they say is true, and accepting this stimulus money will force them to change their state law to be in compliance with federal law (which is what this stimulus is now), then it will take an act of Congress to fix, lest they be forced to pull money out of the state coffers to cover the difference.

    Nooo (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 05:24:10 PM EST
    They can change state law anytime they want, like say, when the federal money runs out.

    Change in state law can be voted in and voted out- (none / 0) (#30)
    by jawbone on Fri Mar 13, 2009 at 10:38:30 AM EST
    Are you saying that if the legislature votes in more generous unemployment conditions that they voting pubic will force them to keep it in place, if unemployment stays high? That's a possibility, but a choice.

    It seems like the reaction to the (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Anne on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 08:28:04 PM EST
    unemployment component is based on the assumption that there will be never be any reduction in the number of people who are unemployed.  Same kind of thing with the reaction to the overall stimulus spending and the resulting increase in the deficit - it assumes that the economy will not improve and we will be carrying this huge debt until the end of time.

    Wouldn't the smart thing be to accept the money to assist the people who need it now and do whatever else it takes to stimulate the economy so that over time, as more people go back to work, the states' costs related to unemployment will have returned to pre-economic crisis levels?


    Nah (none / 0) (#26)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 11:40:49 PM EST
    Devil in the details my arse (none / 0) (#29)
    by cal1942 on Fri Mar 13, 2009 at 12:02:53 AM EST
    That assumes that conditions in 3 years will be the same as they are today.  And that's just plain crap.

    Conditions could be better or worse.

    If worse there is a good chance that the federal govenment would come up with additional funding.

    Since unemployed people generally spend every last dime of unemployment money just to exist, any state that refuses the money will only worsen the economy in their respective states by further expanding the ranks of the unemployed.

    Of course Republicans don't understand demand side economics so it's a combination of grandstanding to excite the extreme right-wing  and crass stupidity.


    Sanford (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by indy in sc on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 04:22:22 PM EST
    is trying to raise his profile during a vacuum of Repub leadership.  He doesn't have an adequate sparing partner here to refute his lies and call him on the fact that SC ranks 48th or 50th in things like education and 1st or 2nd in things like unemployment.  Jim Clyburn speaks about it but the message is often lost because of the messenger.  Sanford is on the news here all the time saying this nonsense and the local anchors don't ask him tough questions.

    From what I can tell, people here are not as upset about his refusal of the money as they should be considering how many are out of work.  They are not getting the full story.

    Man, that's depressing (5.00 / 0) (#28)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 11:42:54 PM EST
    They should be riding him out of town nekkid, tarred and feathered on a rail.

    Rick Perry, governor of Texas, aka Mr. 39%, (none / 0) (#17)
    by Angel on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 03:49:04 PM EST
    is saying essentially the same thing - that it will cost businesses more to accept the federal money than it's worth.  I say hogwash.  Texas is almost out of money and will surely run out pretty soon anyway.  Texas needs the stimulus money whether Perry likes it or not.  He is such a gasbag.  

    See my most recent post (none / 0) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 03:53:14 PM EST
    Perry's motives? To fight off the primary challenge of Kay Baily Hutchinson.

    Looks like I posted before your new post went up. (none / 0) (#20)
    by Angel on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 03:56:39 PM EST
    Yes, he's fighting a battle with Kay Bailey Hutchison, another worthless piece of crap, Bush apologist, do-nothing politician, married to a shady fellow.  Texas has the worst governor and senators of anyone.  Yes, I can say this because I live in Texas.  

    This is good local politics? (none / 0) (#27)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 11:41:49 PM EST
    Even in Texas, it seems a little hard to believe.  Has anybody polled this in either state?