S.C. Governor Counting The Unemployed Himself Now July 20, 2007Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics.
FOR A GUY SO RIGHT ABOUT THE ECONOMY, HOW CAN SANFORD BE SO STUPID?
FITSNews – July 20, 2007 – For his many faults, S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford has generally touted common sense economic reforms and sound tax cutting policy (well, at least until he surrendered the field on income tax relief this year). Of course his political judgment of late has been downright abysmal, as evidenced by today’s announcement that he’s moving the independent responsibility of calculating South Carolina’s employment rate into his Cabinet.
Predictably and appropriately, Sanford’s move has raised the ire of many of his longtime legislative antagonists, politicians who (in case you’re new to S.C. politics) all happen to be members of the governor’s own do-nothing Republican Party.
Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell blasted the move, saying that “to keep politics out of this important information about the state of our economy … the Labor Market Information program should remain under an independent agency.”
Harrell was joined by House Ways & Means Chairman Dan “Egg-Tooth” Cooper, who wasn’t nearly as reserved in his criticism of the governor’s decision.
“We all have seen the unrealistic statistics the governor and his staff concoct when talking about the General Assembly’s budget,” said Cooper. “Who knows what will happen with our once independent labor statistics once the governor and his staff have full control over how they are determined?”
“Something just doesn’t seem right about announcing this move on the same day the SC Employment Security Commission announced our jobless rate has increased,” Cooper added.
While Cooper is dead wrong about the criticism Sanford has levied at the General Assembly over its out-of-control spending (the governor’s numbers are consistently accurate in that regard), he and Harrell are nonetheless correct to blast the administration for this decision.
Frankly, it’s stupid policy and even stupider politics.
While we have no doubt that the Department of Commerce could do a better job calculating this rate than the current commission, that doesn’t change the fact that this is one function that should remain free from even the appearance of political influence.
Hell, why not let a responsible private sector entity administer the unemployment data?
The Governor’s Office, which has a policy of not responding to inquiries made by blogs, declined to provide FITSNews with a comment for this story.
Which is too bad. Of course it’s also too bad they announced a big decision like this on a Friday afternoon (knowing that nobody reads the Saturday papers). That smacks even more of evasion.
Once again, it’s a shame.
Sanford has unveiled some excellent ideas for substantive tax relief (targeted specifically at reducing our state’s high unemployment rate) and government restructuring in recent years, yet he continues to undermine those commendable and long-overdue efforts with boneheaded moves like this one.
UPDATE – According to a late breaking AP report, Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer now says that the governor is only moving part of the Employment Security Commission’s operations to his Cabinet and will “leave the collection of jobless data alone.” Looks like thinks got a little too hot in the kitchen …