In the latest in a long line of data points highlighting South Carolina’s persistent lack of economic competitiveness, income levels went down in the Palmetto State in 2021.
And let’s not forget those astronomical energy prices …
According to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau, median household income in the Palmetto State dipped by 0.5 percent last year when compared to 2019 levels – falling from $59,588 to $59,318 (2020 data was not counted due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic).
Nationally, median household income ticked up by 0.1 percent – from $69,639 to $69,717.
South Carolina’s median household income level is the ninth-worst nationally – and is declining at a time when regional rivals like North Carolina (2.0 percent increase), Georgia (1.3 percent) Florida (0.5 percent increase) and Tennessee (0.5 percent increase) are gaining ground on the rest of the nation.
Sound familiar? It should.
South Carolina is also bringing up the rear on one of the other critical economic indicators – employment. Last month, I reported that labor participation – the most important employment indicator – sunk to a new record low of 57 percent in August, yet another sign the status quo approach of Palmetto State leaders to “economic development” is not working.
One key difference between South Carolina and its regional rivals? Tennessee and Florida have no income tax – and Georgia and North Carolina (especially North Carolina) have been aggressively cutting their income tax rates in recent years.
Who is responsible for these braindead policies? Well, “Republicans” have controlled the S.C. House of Representatives since December 1994. They have controlled the S.C. Senate since January 2001 – and the S.C. governor’s office since January 2003. In 2020, a “red storm” gave the GOP near supermajorities in both the House and the Senate.
“Neighboring states are making aggressive moves to enhance their competitive positions vis-à-vis individual income earners and small business owners – who are the key drivers of economic growth,” I noted last month. “It is frankly past time South Carolina’s so-called ‘conservative’ politicians followed suit.”
How to turn things around? Easy: Slash or eliminate the state’s top marginal income tax rate (which is the eleventh highest nationally and highest in the southeast), streamline and reduce state spending, pass a universal choice bill, fund infrastructure projects based on priority (not politics), privatize our broken higher ed system, sell our broken state-owned power company, eliminate crony capitalism and crack down on public corruption.
This stuff isn’t complicated. South Carolina political leaders (of both parties) simply need to summon the political courage to listen to the people (and their common sense) as opposed to continuing to toe the line for government bureaucrats and entrenched special interests.
Voters should take notice, too. As I have often pointed out, “Republicans” in the Palmetto State have fooled people into thinking they are fiscally conservative even though the S.C. General Assembly has been ranked as the most liberal GOP legislature in America for two years running.
Or is it three years running?
Of course the current options at the ballot box – epitomized by next month’s top-of-the-ticket battle between incumbent governor Henry McMaster and his Democratic rival – isn’t exactly encouraging when it comes to South Carolinians getting the change they (and their bottom lines) so desperately need.
THE REPORT …
(Via: U.S. Census)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, he has many hats – including that Chicago Blackhawks’ lid pictured above.
WANNA SOUND OFF?
Got something you’d like to say in response to one of our articles? Or an issue you’d like to proactively address? We have an open microphone policy here at FITSNews! Submit your letter to the editor (or guest column) via email HERE. Got a tip for a story? CLICK HERE. Got a technical question or a glitch to report? CLICK HERE.
BANNER VIA: GETTY IMAGES