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October 25, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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My Almost-Not-Quite Interview With 'The Bear'


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SC Lawmakers Like Drug Addicts
Jimmy Moore
June 4, 2003

It's an endless cycle.

Most people who decide to take drugs convince themselves that they'll do it just this once for a short-term high. But many end up becoming proud addicts who think they are controlling themselves when in fact they are unable to handle the adverse affect the drugs are having on them.

The person addicted to drugs becomes addicted to the thrill as well. He is willing to spend every last penny he has just to continue the fantasy ride he is traveling on. It begins with the drug addict using his money to buy drugs without any regard to his everyday expenses such as the electric bill, car payment or rent. Pretty soon, though, the addict digs into his savings account to pay for these bills so his habit will continue.

However, it doesn't take long for the money to run out. When that happens, the addict resorts to borrowing more money from their parents, friends and just about anyone else they can convince to help them through their difficult, yet temporary financial situation (at least that's what the addict tells them!). He promises that he won't ask for money again and that it will be paid back as soon as possible. But he never does pay back the money.

The drug addict is in denial over his addiction. He even starts blaming other people for the situation he has gotten himself into. When the addiction sucks up all of the addict's money and his friends and family stop supporting his habit, the addict usually become a thief and a grim fact remains at this point. The addict either chooses to deal with his addiction or he dies.

The current crop of lawmakers in South Carolina are in a similar situation as the drug addict. When times were good, spending was up in the state. New government programs were added to the state budget and the rainy day fund was fat as a pig. During these years of prosperity, the state budget continued to grow and grow into the over $5 billion monstrosity we have today. The euphoric high enjoyed by our legislators must have made them feel like they had won the lottery long before this state even had a lottery!

But now the bills are due in 2003. All the money that was spent during the good times is now sorely needed to keep up with current demands of the oversized budget. Lawmakers have been very resistant to make the necessary cuts to programs that were created during those prosperous times. Even worse, all of the rainy day funds have been raided and Republicans have actually been calling for an increase in taxes to help with the budgetary woes. This addiction is worse than we thought if people who call themselves fiscal conservatives are even thinking about raising taxes!

Who knows what the state government is going to do next with our money. Will they resort to theft from other areas to get the money they want for their pet projects? Will they attempt to tag a cigarette tax on an upcoming piece of legislation to go against the will of the people who oppose it? What can we do to stop this addiction to spending our lawmakers cannot control?

With Gov. Mark Sanford and the Republican-led state House and Senate in control of South Carolina government, they need to stop acting like they are out of power! The last time I checked, the Democrats were defeated pretty bad in November 2002. This is no time for Republicans to be advocates for tax increases of any kind or continuing to support unnecessary government programs. They are only encouraging the Democrats to want more and more of our money. And if they ever get back in power in South Carolina government, you can be assured they WILL raise our taxes. Although the rent is due now, thereís no food in the pantry and the bills are piling up, these addicts still want their drugs.

Will we the taxpayers and voters of South Carolina continue to feed this addiction by sending more and more of our money to Columbia and by continuing to elect politicians who want to raise our taxes? Or will we refuse to pay any more and force the politicians to make the decision about what needs to be cut? This addiction must be stopped. It is time we send these addicts to a 12-step program! If we donít do this, then we must face the consequences of our actions much like the drug addict who is stuck in a downward spiral.

Itís an endless cycle unless we break it!

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