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More Questions About Nikki Haley’s Economic Record




Last week we posted a brief about South Carolina’s lagging labor participation rate … which remains among the lowest in the nation.  A few months ago we reported on the Palmetto State’s abysmal income levels … also among the country’s worst.  And let’s not forget South Carolina’s pesky proximity to the Chinese economy, which is looming very large at the moment.

Add it all up and you’ve got a state that isn’t exactly firing on all cylinders … despite surging government spending (and soaring taxpayer-funded payouts to wealthy, well-connected corporations).

Naturally, free market supporters like us loathe the sort of crony capitalism employed by South Carolina in its (failed) efforts to generate economic growth.  And we’re sad S.C. governor Nikki Haley – once a staunch opponent of corporate welfare – has now become its biggest cheerleader.

We’re not the only unhappy ones, though …

Liberals aren’t thrilled about the mess, either.  In fact The Institute for Southern Studies, which laughably claims that the south is “brimming with a capacity for progressive change that challenges its reputation as a monolithic, conservative stronghold,” doesn’t exactly think much of the Palmetto State’s current economic trajectory, either.

According to this group’s analysis, “Haley has come under growing criticism for South Carolina’s ‘low road’ economic development approach, a strategy that lavishes millions of dollars in giveaways to companies for low-paying jobs that keep many working families mired in poverty.”

Those government-subsidized giveaways – along with “low-paying jobs and economic instability” and a “lower quality of life” – make for difficult economic times.

We agree – although there are parts of this group’s analysis that are demonstrably untrue.  For example, it cites “shortchanging public investment” as a reason why South Carolina ranks “near the bottom nationally on a host of indicators of health and well-being.”

State government has expanded by an average of $1 billion a year over the last seven years … how exactly is that “shortchanging public investment?”

Still, we can’t argue with the group’s takeaway …

“Republicans are putting Haley forward as a new, fresh face for the GOP of the future,” the analysis concluded.  “But in the South, the core of her economic vision is eerily familiar: a low-road approach that, when measured by indicators of shared prosperity and well-being, has had a high cost for working families.”

Indeed …

Whether you’re coming at it from the right or the left, the end result is unavoidable: South Carolina is not the land of opportunity or prosperity GOP leaders said it was when they touted Haley to deliver the “Republican” response to U.S. president Barack Obama‘s final State of the Union address.