Four years ago, ten Republicans could not be found in the South Carolina House to support Gov. Mark Sanford’s rejection of the $750 million Federal Stimulus package.
Contrast that stance to the 2013 SC House Republican Caucus Agenda. Reflecting a policy change of Biblical proportion, the current agenda promises the rejection of several billion dollars of Obamacare Medicaid funding. A shift of this magnitude deserves further examination.
For years, both parties in Columbia have encouraged state agencies and local governments to accept Federal matching dollars. Though the dollars came with mandates such as transportation dollars going toward certain road projects or education dollars supporting certain testing standards, the hooks were considered benign.
Over time, the amount of annual Federal dollars flowing through state agencies has become more than our entire annual General Fund. Our dependence upon Federal funding has obscured the true cost of state government. It has also made a mockery of South Carolina’s balanced budget requirement since a third of Federal dollars spent are borrowed.
Normally in state politics, policy change occurs with glacial indifference, especially when tax dollars are involved. But the soaring national debt coupled with the intrusive nature of Obamacare has caused Republicans in the General Assembly to reconsider the true cost of Federal dependence.
The conflicts brewing over Obamacare and gun control have also sparked renewed interest in the old Principles of ’98 which contain the seeds of nullification and interposition. In Columbia, nullification bills have already been filed and rallies held. Though these stances may seem extreme, we should hope that they result in a permanent policy change for South Carolinato reject new federal funding.
South Carolina, being equal and independent with her sister states, created the Federal government. Over time, we have succumbed to a kinder and gentler tyranny of Federal dependency. The movement to throw off this yoke started four years ago. We must continue rejecting these deficit dollars until Washington gets the message.