Whether Republican or Democrat, virtually everyone agrees that South Carolina state government is broken. We have a state of the art Office of Research and Statistics that tracks demographics so complicated that reading them makes your eyes bleed. But 1980’s vintage computers at the Employment Security Commission can’t get benefits out on time to people who are out of a job. Two years ago, in an act so brazen in stupidity that it should be a recipient of a Darwin Award, the General Assembly slashed property taxes and increased sales taxes–just in time for people to stop buying things as they lost their jobs in the economic meltdown. Since then, as tax revenue has plummeted, demands for emergency service have increased at gravity-defying rates. But since we don’t have any money, we are firing case managers whose job it is to help the newly poor.
Let’s not even get into the fact that DHEC doesn’t protect the environment, that DHHS spends millions trying not to provide health and human services, that DOT is letting our road infrastructure rot, that we’re shutting down juvenile crime early intervention services at DJJ….What’s going on here? Are we really that backwards a region? Are we really incapable of running a state government? Or is there a malevolence to this incompetence?
Here’s a hint: Mike Huckabee has just endorsed Andre Bauer for Governor. Why? Because he is capable, smart and experienced? Because the Lieutenant Governor’s Office has instituted innovative new ways to serve the elderly in a time of nearly unparalleled challenge? Because he understands economic development or has vast educational experience? Nope.
“Andre Bauer is a champion we can believe in. He has fought for the people of South Carolina since the day he was elected to the House of Representatives in 1996. As Lt. Governor, he has ruled against every single proposed tax increase, saving the people of South Carolina $2 billion.” That’s right. Huckabee believes that Bauer should be governor because he’s committed to undermining functioning government.
The reason that South Carolina government is so bad is that our state leadership believes that government is evil and they want to make certain that it can never be redeemed. Keeping South Carolina government incompetent is the only way to make sure that the voters will keep returning them to office, so they can continue to sing the praises of smaller government and lower taxes.
It’s not just incompetence. It’s deliberate and malevolent. And it works.