What We Have Here Is a Kakistocracy

What we have here is a kakistocracy, governance by the least capable to govern. Our buddy Sanford forgot one key aspect to the makeup of our union — the fact we are united. He also forgot one of the major roles of the federal government which is to ensure the welfare of the union is taken care of.

Consider this article from The Hill by Tony Romm about Governor Mark Sanford (R-S.C.)’s backtracking away from refusing stimulus money from the federal government and asking for money to fund his state’s education system.

Gov. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) is requesting his state’s share of an education grant authorized as part of last year’s stimulus — a $787-billion pot of money Sanford in part once declined.

The Republican governor spent much of Thursday meeting with Education Secretary Arne Duncan in Washington, according to media reports, pitching his state’s application for "Race to the Top" — a billion-dollar, highly competitive grant program designed to encourage schools to innovate.

…But Sanford’s trip this week to lobby on his state’s behalf is chiefly noteworthy because of the governor’s stalwart opposition to other stimulus programs in the past.

…Still, Sanford — among a handful of other Republican governors — maintained his vocal opposition to the Recovery Act, stressing it would saddle his state with crippling debt once the money spigot dried up.

Consider the fact the states in the U.S. can’t print their own money. In essence, we have something a lot like the European Union’s Euro — a union that can have serious problems for its individual members: Krugman on Spain:

So what happened? Spain is an object lesson in the problems of having monetary union without fiscal and labor market integration. [The crisis] led to large Spanish budget deficits, mainly because of collapsing revenue but also due to efforts to limit the rise in unemployment.

If Spain had its own currency, this would be a good time to devalue; but it doesn’t.

Krugman wrote about the debt problems Spain is experiencing due to being tied to the Euro as a member of the European Union. Spain doesn’t have its own currency and as a result has no currency to manipulate in order to deal with the economic problems it’s facing. This is what happens due to having different countries (like the U.S. states) tied to one monetary unit without having an international (federal) safety net like we do here in the U.S.

On the other hand, if Spain were like Florida, its problems wouldn’t be as severe. The budget deficit wouldn’t be as large, because social insurance payments would be coming from Brussels, just as Social Security and Medicare come from Washington.And there would be a safety valve for unemployment, as many workers would migrate to regions with better prospects. (Wages wouldn’t have gone up as much in the first place, because of in-migration).

So the next time a politician refuses stimulus money, think back to the purpose of having a federal government.


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