Print this Page

One of S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley’s potential 2014 rivals demanded that the increasingly unpopular chief executive lay out her plan to bring jobs to South Carolina. The challenge comes as new data shows the state’s unemployment rate rising to 11.1 percent in August – the fourth-highest rate in the nation.

“Our governor needs to take a break from TV appearances and realize we have an ever deepening jobs crisis on our hands,” S.C. Rep.Leon Stavrinakis said in a statement released Friday. “At a staggering 11.1 percent, our unemployment rate has risen four months in a row. The unemployment rate is now higher than when Gov. Haley was elected in November, higher than when she took office in January and headed in the wrong direction.”

Stavrinakis says Haley needs to come up with ideas – and fast. The prospective Democratic gubernatorial candidate also says Haley should bring lawmakers back to Columbia, S.C. sooner rather than later to act on those ideas.

“I am asking the governor to seek non-partisan, expert advice and produce a SC jobs plan as soon as possible,” Stavrinakis statement continued. “If the governor will lead, the legislature could even return early for the sole purpose of taking action to help struggling South Carolinians and businesses. South Carolinians are buried under mountains of debt, failing schools and an evaporating job market. They need relief.”

We’re not going to argue that South Carolinians need relief … after all, we’ve been proposing that state lawmakers eliminate the individual income tax for several years now. Nor are we going to argue with Stavrinakis’ “failing schools” comment – or his reference to our state’s “evaporating jobs market.”

But is it really Haley’s job to produce a “jobs plan?”

No … and yes. Or “yes and no,” if you prefer.

First of all, it isn’t government’s “job” to create jobs – something we thought Haley knew (apparently she doesn’t quite get that). It is, however, government’s “job” to make the conditions for private sector job growth as advantageous (and as fair) as possible.

On that front, Haley has been an unmitigated disaster. After proposing a ridiculous grocery tax-corporate tax swap during her 2010 campaign (a plan that would have actually resulted in a slight tax increase), Haley hasn’t lifted a finger on tax policy since. Meanwhile, our leaders (Haley included) continue to spend record amounts of tax dollars on top-down command economic planning.

That approach has produced what we have now in this state – high joblessness and a diminished competitive position.

If Haley has ideas that will help reverse this failed, government-centered approach to creating jobs – i.e. ideas that would put the private sector back in charge – then we’re all ears. Same goes for Stavrinakis or any other South Carolina politician. However, if this is an effort to bait Haley into proposing another tax swap or launching yet another taxpayer-funded “jobs program,” count us out.