The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008



Orzag Rejects S.C. Gov's Stimulus Waiver Request

By Michael D. Shear
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford had few kind words for the massive $787 billion stimulus program pushed through Congress by the Obama administration. So the letter the Republican governor received Monday from Obama's budget director probably comes as no surprise.

The letter, authored by Obama budget director Peter Orszag, rejected Sanford's request for a waiver to use a portion of his stimulus money to pay down the state's debt.

"Congress has not authorized the Executive branch to waive any of the above statutory requirements governing the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund," Orszag wrote. "Accordingly, States' spending under the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund must satisfy the statutory requirements."

Sanford has been among the most vocal critics of the president's approach to the economic recovery, calling the stimulus the wrong approach.

"Our objections to the so-called stimulus bill have been well-chronicled for the way it spends money that we don't have and for the way this printing of money could ultimately devalue the American dollar," he said.

But Sanford last week wrote a letter asking permission to use $700 million of the federal money to reduce the state's federal debt. Orszag's response amounts to a slap at one of the program's harshest critics.

Posted at 2:50 PM ET on Mar 16, 2009  | Category:  Economy
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Thake That, SANFORD! I smell change in your neighborhood soon!

Posted by: asclepious2 | March 18, 2009 5:17 PM

Pardon me for asking, but how did South Carolina get more than $700 million in debt if it didn't spend more than it had? How Conservative is that?

Posted by: RYBice | March 17, 2009 9:18 PM

Pardon me for asking, but how did South Carolina get more than $700 million in debt, if it didn't spend more than it had?

Posted by: RYBice | March 17, 2009 9:15 PM

OK, so I'm a liberal. Try to say that without the sneer. We still have a country because of folks like me. I'm pretty proud of it, even if my "bias" has originated by necessity. You see, I worked in a material way for the Reupblican campaign that came closest to unseating Rep. Mo Udall, in Southern Arizona. Then I got older (and wiser). We "liberals" care about other people; we still look after the small stuff, like removing the garbage, fixing the roads, building day-care centers, etc., etc. Left to the other guys we'd have none of this. It would all depend on the "generosity" of some decrepit soul who had more money than God, to deign it worthy of him/her to "donate" a pittance to keep society "moving." Or part of it (the wealthiest part). AS FOR SOUTH CAROLINA, let 'em secede. Again. Let's see how they do competing with the likes of China, Brazil, Russia. Go get 'em, Gamecocks!

Posted by: MouthSore | March 17, 2009 4:51 PM

The right wing Republican voters of SC voted this Governor in; let SC suffer from the recession while other states begin to emerge from it. Something must show Southern voters how deviant from the civilized norm their politics is.

Posted by: ejmurphy414 | March 17, 2009 3:46 PM

It's clear that most of the people who post here are Liberals. I was raised "up North" but found I couldn't stand the Liberal policies of the NY/NJ groups I was around.
I moved South and later into SC--because of the logical, reasonable, conservative stance that most thinking people display here.
I've always had a work ethic--I've always worked hard for what I got--and expected to be allowed to spend it where I chose. I never had my hand out for a "freeby" because my Dad taught me that "whenever somebody gets something for nothing--someone, somewhere--gets nothing for something!"
Governor Sanford is one of the most clear-headed, straight-thinking, analytical-minded men in the Government of this State.
THANK GOD that at least he is making his committment to this State a matter of public record. That way, even though he will probably be forced to assimilate the money and have no control over it's use in his State--he has made it clear that HE will NOT support the take-over of State Government rights that are clearly (and illegally) being perpetrated here!
GO GOVERNOR SANFORD! You have a special place in my heart for your brave fight!

Posted by: jorgaone | March 17, 2009 12:21 PM

Hmm.......Talk to most people on the street and they don't beleive that the stimulus strategy will do anything for them, but want to give the administration a chance. Talk to people who own businesses and 90% of them are opposed to the stimulus as structured. The stimulus will fail because the money is not creating a sustainable path for long term job growth. Talk about Grandstanding! Obama goes to Ohio, and shouts to the country that the stimulus is saving 50 jobs for police recruits that would not be hired otherwise. This is a short term political strategy not a long term plan for growth. Police jobs may be necessary, but there is NO VALUE ADDED. Value added and increased productivity are the ONLY path to Job and Wealth creation. The government is printing money and devaluing our currency. The only reason our currency is not falling faster is that we still have a freer economy than most of the other industrialised world, and their central banking systems and socialistic policies have led them down the slippery slope faster than the US. Gov Sanford should be lauded for proposing to use the money to pay down debt. All Americans should be changing their spending habits and saving more. As for the notion that Sanford is taking money from schools, that's ridiculus. Here in NC however our Dem Gov Bev Perdue has already robbed the "EDUCATION" lottery for the general fund. GET SMART PEOPLE Tighten your belts and do with less on an individual basis. Governments should be cutting spending not increasing. "The definition of isanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results"....Albert Einstein Our political leaders are insane and by the way, did you notice that Emperor Obama has no clothes?

Posted by: jonafire | March 17, 2009 10:36 AM

Take it on the nose Mr. Governor. Take the money and let them take over your schools even further.

Probably these people criticizing so hard don't understand that you have had to give up tax revenue to get companies to come to your state with jobs. It is obvious that Congress is going to do nothing to stop the blackmail of "tax abatement" that has destroyed states, counties(parishes), and cities, and yes, even schools, ability to fund themselves. It has made it easier for the Federal(National) government to take over more and more of the programs that the Constitution say belong to the states. Why would they give you the right to decide how to use the money best, when they are hoping you will go bankrupt and have to depend on them for everything [Big Brother definitely KNOWS best].

The valid argument these people could make is that they don't trust you to spend the money effectively either.

Posted by: Tawodi | March 17, 2009 9:49 AM

I guess this is the Obama version of a "DEAR JOHN LETTER" You will like 'FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE" AND ONLY "FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE"

VJ Machiavelli

Posted by: VJMachiavelli1 | March 17, 2009 1:00 AM

I have a question for Gov. Sandford and his supporters. If you are so opposed to "the way it [the stimulus plan] spends money that we don't have", how come your state, South Carolina, is in debt so deep that a quarter of the stimulus for SC is only enough to pay down on it? Didn't you have to spend money you didn't have in order to have such a large state deficit???

I also have a name for Gov. Sandford and those of his ilk: HYPOCRITE.

Posted by: progressiveliberal | March 16, 2009 9:32 PM

The gov has not learned the lesson of his misguided forebears who thought it was also a good idea to hijack Ft. Sumter 150 years ago. It seems that South Carolinian political leaders have a difficult time understanding the "Experiment of Democracy" called the United States of America, "government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth". Let us Pray that the gov joins the Union (an effort bigger than our individual selves)in word and deed.

Posted by: dmscontractor | March 16, 2009 9:11 PM

Sanford’s blatantly political play deserved to get knocked down. Disrespectful…

Posted by: parkerfl1 | March 16, 2009 8:41 PM

Isn't there a law against abusing children? Taking money from schools to promote ones political aspirations should be a crime!

Posted by: inewsmaster | March 16, 2009 8:17 PM

Schools and hospitals in poor neighborhoods are falling apart and this man want to grandstand.
Posted by: dressypink | March 16, 2009 4:46 PM
That is SROP.

(Standard Republican Operating Procedure)

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | March 16, 2009 7:50 PM


* Silent, covert microwave radiation weapons (D.E.W.) assaults on innocent but "targeted" U.S. citizens;

* Terroristic vigilante community gang stalking, surreptitious home entry, police-tolerated vandalism;

* Secret federal "programs of personal financial destruction" that have used the IRS as an ideological tool of "social cleansing."

OR (if links are corrupted / disabled):

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 16, 2009 5:39 PM

I'm also embarrassed to have Rick Perry as governor. In the last election 61% of Texas voters voted to have him replaced, but the opposition was unfortunately split.

Posted by: rooster54 | March 16, 2009 5:28 PM

I am a South Carolinian and I am ashamed and embarrassed because of our Governor. I agree that he is grandstanding at the expense of his constituents. The people of South Carolina should recall him for his selfishness.

Posted by: racam | March 16, 2009 5:09 PM

Oh, this is just hysterical! Mr. Fiscal Conservative has a state debt he needs to pay down out of our money???

I'm almost embarrassed for him!

Orzag, you da man!

Posted by: MollieKaye | March 16, 2009 4:59 PM

This foolish SC governor should be Re-called by voters in his state. Only a selfish man puts his own corrupt amibition over the needs of his state.

SC has one of the highest unemployment in the nation and the worst quality of service from the state goverment to its citizens and this man cares less.

Schools and hospitals in poor neighborhoods are falling apart and this man want to grandstand. Shame on you Mark Sandford, shame on you. You are not man enough.

Posted by: dressypink | March 16, 2009 4:46 PM

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