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October 25, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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Is Gov. Sanford Accepting Welfare?
Jimmy Moore
February 13, 2003

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the term “welfare” can be defined as “an organized effort for the social betterment of a group in society.”

The latest recipient of welfare in South Carolina is none other than the top elected official in state government who is now facing unprecedented budget deficits that he inherited from a Democratic administration that was unwilling to do anything about problems he knew were coming. That leaves the current Republican administration no choice but to make some very difficult decisions regarding the distribution of money from the coffers of state government.

After his somewhat surprising announcement that he may need to temporarily close the governor’s mansion for the remainder of this fiscal year (which ends on June 30, 2003) earlier this week, Gov. Mark Sanford began immediately began accepting welfare payments from private donations.

One major donation to the Governor mansion was received from a local milling company on Wednesday. The Adluh Flour Company donated a five-month supply of grits, cornmeal and flour to assist Gov. Sanford with the lack of funds needed to operate the Governor’s mansion for the remainder of the budget year.

A representative from the Columbia-based flour mill commented on the gift by saying, “it just looked to me that we, locally, with South Carolina-grown products, could do something. I hope that others would jump in and do something.”

This contribution was part of over $50,000 in contributions that have been raised in the two days since Gov. Sanford revealed that there is not enough money to keep the Governor’s mansion open since former Gov. Hodges completely depleted the funds that were budgeted for annual operating expenses. Gov. Sanford estimates that an additional $150,000 will be needed to keep the Governor’s mansion operating through July, when the 2003-2004 budget year begins.

Gov. Sanford explained that asking for private donations is necessary because “there was a disregard for costs and disregard for who would be picking up the pieces after the (Hodges) administration left.”

We all heard the stories during the campaign last year about Mark Sanford’s frugality. But I think a lot of people underestimated how genuine he is about spending as little money as possible to save taxpayers money. Finally, we have an elected official who actually lives what he believes! Even if that means he needs to accept welfare to help him get through the tough economic situation he inherited.

Nevertheless, does anyone else see the irony in this? We have a Republican governor, whose political party has long viewed welfare payments as a reward for underachievement and slothfulness, asking the people of this state to make a donation so he can sustain the Governor’s mansion. By definition, this is a welfare request because it is an organized effort (there’s even an address where donations can be sent that I will provide for you below) for the social betterment of the Governor.

However, lest you think I am criticizing the current governor, there is a BIG difference between the welfare that is handed out by the state or federal government versus the welfare being solicited by Gov. Sanford. The key distinction is who the contributor is.

When welfare payments are given to the “poor and needy” by our government, that money comes from the hard working taxpayers. That’s you and me. IT’S OUR MONEY! We are not asked or advised about where we would like our money to go. It is simply given away with no questions asked.

On the other hand, the assistance that Gov. Sanford is asking for and receiving is furnished by the contributions from private citizens of the state who are freely giving from the abundance of their resources to assist him with the budget problems at the Governor’s mansion.

This perfectly describes the difference between Democrats and Republicans on the issue of welfare. Democrats want a socialist society dictated by the government while Republicans believe in compassionate, voluntary giving of private citizens to aid and assist those in need.

I recently came across the following illustration that proves my point further:

A Republican and a Democrat were walking to work together when they encountered a homeless person panhandling on a street corner.

The Republican gave the homeless person his business card and then told him to come to his business to apply for a job. He then took twenty dollars out of his pocket and gave to the homeless person.

The Democrat was very impressed, and when they encountered another homeless person, he decided to help him this time.

The Democrat walked over to the homeless person and gave him directions to the nearest welfare office. He then reached into the Republican's pocket and got out twenty dollars. He kept fifteen for administrative fees and then gave the homeless person the remaining five.

Now you understand the difference between the two major political parties.

While this story is funny, it is also true. Yet, it has been the Democrats who have done an excellent job of portraying themselves as the party who cares about the poor. But this is nothing more than a farce. Republicans, however, are earnest in their intentions of helping those in need by providing for their needs in time of crisis and by helping them get back on their feet again to become productive members of society.

To that end, Gov. Sanford is asking for help from people willing to assist him with the operating expenses at the Governor’s mansion to get the state through these difficult times. A private, nonprofit fund was set up for people who want to help keep the mansion open. Send all contributions to:

The Mansion Fund
P.O. Box 2626
Columbia, SC 29202

Frugality and an understanding of the proper use of welfare can and will pay big dividends for South Carolina government for many years to come.

Gov. Sanford understands it. Why can’t Democrats seem to get it?

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