Speaking to the Lexington County GOP last week, Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) lamented his defeat in his quest to reject American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds for schools, the unemployed, and for job creation and retention. On June 4, the South Carolina Supreme Court ordered Sanford to accept the $700 million in stimulus funds he had opposed.
To defend his grandstanding, Sanford has previously lashed out at his critics, saying it would be tantamount to “fiscal child abuse” to accept the federal money. He has also compared President Obama to Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, because of his fiscal policies. But now Sanford is taking his hyperbolic rhetoric to another level, claiming that the stimulus will result in “a thing called slavery”:
SANFORD: A guy from the northeast did a study on generational accounting. Generational accounting says what is the imputed tax for a young person born in America today? And remarkably, that number is 82, which at all ain’t that far from a thing called slavery. If you’re giving away 82% of every dollar you earn every day and every week and every month, A, it’s not a good deal, B, it collapses the capitalistic system because nobody has any initiative to work at that point, and C, it really isn’t that far from slavery. And what the Republic was originally set up was on the notion that was just talked about a moment ago, which is this larger notion of freedom. And economic freedom is a part of the larger notion of freedom.
Sanford’s comments echo the right-wing meme that nearly every policy President Obama pursues, whether it is the stimulus or his national service plan, is a covert plan to enslave Americans. President Bush’s $1.3 trillion — deficit enlarging — tax cut certainly did not elicit the same hysterical response from Sanford.
Sanford claimed that the nation was founded on “freedom” as opposed to slavery. But that view reveals either a profound ignorance of American and South Carolinian history, or, at worst, is an example of Sanford casually rewriting of the past.
Not only did the nation’s founding documents acknowledge and perpetuate slavery, but South Carolina has a particularly grisly record on the practice. Under the state Constitution of 1790, white men were required to own 500 acres of land and ten slaves to be eligible for the state House of Representatives, and double that to be eligible for the Senate. Author William Dusinberre has described South Carolina as a “charnel house” among other slave states, noting that over fifty five percent of slaves on rice plantations died before the age of fifteen. In addition to brutality from their masters, the deaths were a result of a combination of malaria and infants’ feebleness at birth, which was caused by the mothers’ own chronic malaria and their general exhaustion from rice cultivation during pregnancy.
Gov. Sanford has gone missing. No one knows where he is, nor has anyone seen him in the last four days. Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer told the AP that Sanford was taking time to “recharge” after his failed fight against federal stimulus money.