South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) has completed his review of the recently enacted stimulus package and will be sending President Obama a letter in the next few days asking for permission to apply a quarter of South Carolina’s stimulus money, approximately $700 million, to paying down state debt rather than using the money to fund government programs.
[ ]…If Obama turns down Sanford’s request, the South Carolina governor will not seek the $700 million in stimulus funds which are under the governor’s discretion. This move will likely prompt South Carolina’s legislature to pass a concurrent resolution giving the legislature access to the funds.
“In the unfortunate case that the President would deny our request, I will not seek the funds, as I believe doing so would not help our current economic problems and would do real harm to our future financial picture,” writes Sanford.
Congratulations to Stanford on starting his run for the GOP presidential nomination four years in advance. Stanford wants the money to balance his budget – why is a Republican governor’s budget running in the red in the first quarter of the fiscal year. The magic money wand must not be working, but just ignore that I guess. Here’s a list of projects that mayors in South Carolina have submitted as shovel ready, just waitng for the stimulus money Stanford knows the state will get because the legislature will most certainly pass a concurrent resolution. That hot air the residents of S.C feel is the hollow rhetoric of a brat drunk on his own ego. The stimuls request list includes pork like road improvments, new roads and water treatment facilities. OK, it makes sense now, Republicans have always hated clean water. Maybe Stanford will throw himself in front of the bulldozer that starts to clear ground for that fire station.
Swimming in the middle, he’s denounced as a socialist by conservatives, criticized as a polite accommodationist by government-is-the-answer liberals, and increasingly, dismissed as being in over his head by technocrats.
Luckily for Obama, the public still likes and trusts him, at least judging by the latest polls, including NEWSWEEK’s.
* A treasury secretary who has been ridiculed on “Saturday Night Live” and compared to Doogie Howser, Barney Fife and Macaulay Culkin in “Home Alone”—and those are the nice ones.
* A seeming paralysis in the face of the banking crisis: unwilling to nationalize banks, yet unable to figure out how to handle toxic assets in another way—by, say, setting up a “bad bank” catch basin.
It matters whether Fineman is right on the details – he’s wrong about the earmarks in the omnibus spending package – once again, not all earmarks are bad and %40 of them were for Republicans like welfare queen Lindsay Graham (R-SC). The problem Obama faces is the game of perceptions. Secretary Tim Geithner is brillant, but he lacks those overrated chatty public relation skills that the Beltway thinks is so important. Geithner would be doing better if he had a full staff. Its ridiculous to think that Obama can undue eight years of Bush recess appointments and general incompetence in a few weeks – the Beltway is a little more impatient then the average American. BNP would like to see Krugman replace Geither. Very bad political move to dump Geither at this juncture, but Krugman could come on as a special advisor. Even if that were only for a year or two it would give the administration a straight talker for its economic policy that easily manages to break down economics into the kind of bread and butter language that most Americans can appreciate. It is becoming almost inevitable that some banks will have to be nationalized – something Krugman would be able to handle.
Its probably time to cut the cord on GM – they file for bankrupty or make it or they don’t. Which might be just what’s needed to save Ford and Chrysler.