I’m not exactly sure why the pretty solidly Democratic Shrimp and Grits household gets bombarded with Republican mailers, but we do. I’m going to discuss one we got recently from our local Republican house member. It details a nine-step plan to make South Carolina better.
I’m going to start out with Step 2. (Why not 1? Bear with me …)
Eliminate burdensome regulations
South Carolina is not known for having lots of “burdensome” regulations as it is. What are we going to cut here – food safety? Air quality standards? Water quality standards?
Limit state spending
I’ve got to point out here that the state government – both the general assembly and the governor’s mansion – is controlled by the Republican party. Yet somehow, all South Carolina Republicans are brave reformers, fighting against the “big spending” … wait for it … Republicans.
Still, keep in mind that the Republicans here say they’re for reducing state spending. Let’s see what else they propose
Become energy independent
So now the Republicans are concerned with our reliance on oil? Remember, these are the same Republicans that ripped the solar panels off of the White House because energy independence was a liberal cause.
I do wonder if promoting drilling off places like Myrtle Beach is a winner. Sure, a majority of South Carolinians might very well favor offshore drilling somewhere, but I wonder how many South Carolinians support it off our state’s beaches. There’s not that much oil to be had out there (compare the yearly usage in the link and the total reserves), and there’s a risk of real damage to one of South Carolina’s biggest industries – tourism – if something goes wrong.
Increase energy efficiency
Now remember, #2 above was to remove “burdensome regulations”. But an across-the-board decision for all state agencies to reduce energy consumption by 20% is okay? And what does this do to agencies that were already operating efficiently?
Now don’t get me wrong – I’m all for energy efficiency. But I find it hypocritical to let industry off the hook, here, while putting a regulation on state agencies that industries would be up in arms over if it applied to them.
Improve our infrastructure
I agree wholeheartedly with this. Our roads are lousy, and there are no usable public transit systems in the state. Even the tourism industry is probably getting hurt by the fact that there’s no good way to get around our tourist attractions. (Been to Myrtle Beach lately?)
If we lived in a world where magic road fairies come and build bridges, trains, and roads while we slept, then we would be in great shape! But in the real South Carolina, improving our dilapidated infrastructure is going to cost money. Big money.
Workforce development in education
This seems more like a forced effort to rail against “bureaucracy” than an actual plan to do anything, but I wonder if any South Carolina politicians (Republican or Democratic) would consider a system like the one in Switzerland, where apprenticeships and technical training are common?
But even if there is too much “bureaucracy” in our education system, it’s unlikely that you’d be able to fire enough administrators to have enough money to upgrade facilities, let alone develop new training programs. So we’ll need more money.
Develop a read map
Well, just so long as it’s not a timetable!
Work for more cooperation, less politics
This is about as content-free a point as #8, but I can’t resist a little more snark.
Perhaps if we elect more Democrats there will be less squabbling between the Republicans in our legislature and the Republican in the governor’s mansion? Or, at least, the squabbles will be less important.
That’s the last step of the plan. So what was #1 on the list of nine things the Republicans want to do to make South Carolina better?
Think about it.
What’s the Republican solution to everything?
Cut taxes! To get the money needed to rebuild our infrastructure (#6), we’ll … cut taxes! To get the money needed to update our state agencies with newer energy efficient technologies (#5), we’ll … cut taxes! To get the money necessary to overhaul the state’s educational system (#7) we’ll … cut taxes! And the magic road fairies will take care of the rest.
About taxes in South Carolina: Our taxes are rather middle-of-the-road. We’re not a state with a huge tax burden in the first place, so all we achieve with more tax cuts is busting our state budget – even worse than it is now. Balancing it, then, means that we’ll have to cut services.
And we have cut services. That’s a shame, because it’s during trying economic times that we need these services the most. Services like health care, well-maintained roads, and up-to-date educational facilities.
Remember, when you’re in the voting booth, who got us into this mess in the first place. It’s easy – they’ll be identified with the letter (R).