Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Mark Sanford Fiasco

Mark Sanford, the Governor of South Carolina, has become quite a popular figure with the traditional media outlets(by popular we mean oft-discussed), largely due to his attempted refusal of federal stimulus money. The primary aggravating factor involved in this particular situation is the fact that, if Mr. Sanford succeeds in shunning the federal dollars, the necessity will arise for large cuts to the State's Education budget. Given that a wide swath of the population has a stake in the education of their children, the potential for said budget cuts has sparked a certain amount of anger. The Governor, in several cogently sound public justifications for his actions, has cited fiscal responsibility and the avoidance of addiction to federal money as his primary points of reasoning. Our purpose today however, is not to assess the merits of either side's argument, but rather to put forth an argument concerning politician's behavior in general.

We believe that, to a certain extent, the loathsome characteristics of our elected officials are no more than a reflection of the populus which they represent. "Hypocrite" is a common charge leveled against politicians, however consider the truth in the following: Everyone complains about wasteful government spending, especially spending on social programs that benefit a segment of the population that may live in a different neighborhood or be considered "less productive" as defined by income levels. However, that same Everyone will virulently oppose any spending cuts that they perceive may affect their/Everyone's life in any way. Who is really the hypocrite now? Furthermore, assuming that politicians are merely behaving in their own best interest, i.e to get Everyone's vote, then would their behavior not be a direct and exact reflection of the collective "Everyone"?

More than anything else, the public's reaction to Governor Sanford's decision is the exact reason why Government has and will continue to increase (never decrease) in size. Decreasing the size of Government involves making real decisions to end spending that someone or something has grown accustomed to. Breaking the dependence will always be met with an anger that causes the vast majority of politicians to cower in fear.

Disclaimer: We are extremely pro-education, in fact, we are so concerned about the current US educational system that we would go so far as to say that the future prosperity of the US is in grave danger due to the Quality Decay of our schools. Do not misinterpret this political expose as a repudiation of the concept of educational funding.
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