S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford wrangled with some of Washington’s most notorious status quo spenders today, testifying before the U.S. House Ways & Means committee in opposition to another massive federal bailout of our nation’s ailing economy.
The contentious session – which was designed to shore up support for a $150 billion bureaucrat bailout package aimed at rescuing struggling state governments – featured Sanford butting heads with New York Democrat Charles Rangel, who chairs the committee, as well as New York Gov. David Patterson, whose state is facing a $47 billion shortfall over the next four years.
“I’m here to beg of you not to approve or advance the contemplated $150 billion stimulus package,” Sanford told the committee. “This $150 billion (plan) may in fact further infect our economy with unnecessary government influence and unintended fiscal consequences.”
Sanford – who has made a name for himself by fighting big government at the state and federal level – was grilled by Rangel and other Democratic members of the committee for his comments, and (surprisingly) passed with flying colors.
It was quite a reversal from Sanford’s last appearance on the national stage three months ago, in which he earned scorching criticism from us and from other political observers after badly stumbling through an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
“Weâ€™ve never before in the history of our republic faced the kind of unfunded liabilities that we do now,” Sanford told the committee. “I believe that some time in the not so distant future weâ€™re going to reach a breaking point when that $52 trillion will come due, and that our potential inability to pay will have frightening ramifications by either completely trashing the value of the dollar or creating hyperinflation which robs from every middle class worker across America.”
Sanford said state governments should deal with their shortages by cutting excess accumulated over years of chronic overspending rather than subjecting the taxpayers to any additional mortgaging of their future.
“Essentially, youâ€™d be transferring taxpayer dollars out of the frying pan â€“ the federal government â€“ and into the fire â€“ the states themselves,” Sanford said. “I think this stimulus would exacerbate the clearly unsustainable spending trends of states, which has gone up roughly 190 percent over the last twenty years and 40 percent over the past four years, versus federal government spending growth of 175 percent over the last twenty years and 28 percent over the last four years.”
Sanford has rarely veered off message when it comes to this sort of common sense fiscal conservatism, but it’s good to see him back on his game.
It’s also interesting to speculate whether or not his DC visit will spark ongoing rumors that he plans to run for the U.S. Senate at some point after stepping down as South Carolina’s governor in January of 2011.