Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) continues to try to give a rise to his 2012 presidential hopes by waging war against the stimulus package. Today on the Glenn Beck show, Sanford said that accepting stimulus money was the equivalent of fiscal child abuse.
Here is the video courtesy of Think Progress:
Host Glenn Beck sought to clarify Sanford’s point that it was better for the future of the children in his state not to take the federal stimulus money. Sanford said, “Since we don’t have any of this money that’s now being dispensed from Washington, DC; since we’re going out and printing money and we’re issuing debt to solve a problem that was created by too much debt; since that’s taking place, and since those costs will be borne by the next generation, in fact it is sort of fiscal child abuse to do what we’re doing.”
Let’s give Gov. Sanford a little straight talk about poor children in his state. According to the most recent data available from National Center for Children in Poverty, compiled before the recession, 19% of the children in his state live in poverty, and 39% of those children have only one parent that is employed either part year or part time, while 33% of the children don’t have an employed parent. According to South Carolina Kids Count, 14% of First Graders are not ready for first grade, and 13% of students in the state have to repeat one of the first three grades. Thirty three percent of all tenth graders fail one part of their exit exam on their first try, and 32% of students don’t graduate high school.
The real child abuse comes in healthcare. According to a November 2008 study by FamiliesUSA, South Carolina has the 13th highest percentage of uninsured children in the country at 12.2%, and even worse, 88.5% of these uninsured children come from homes where at least one parent works year round. As bad as these numbers are, I suspect that all have gotten worse during this recession. The state’s unemployment rate is already at 11%, and is expected to peak at 14%, yet Sanford thinks it is child abuse to help poor families with stimulus money.
We all know that Sanford is just one of the Republican governors who are throwing their states under the bus in the hope of being the 2012 GOP nominee. However, to compare the taking of federal stimulus money to child abuse when the governor is turning down money that would help the poor children of his state, for the sole purpose of advancing his own political ambitions is wrong. Sanford is trying to build his rep as real conservative off of turning down stimulus money. While this may appeal to some Republicans, I can’t see how it helps his political star with the rest of the country.