WASHINGTON (CNN) – As many state and local officials clamor for their share of the billions of dollars in federal aid in the stimulus bill under consideration in Washington, South Carolina’s Republican governor is sounding a note of dissent about federal efforts to help the economy.
“A problem that was created by building up of too much debt will not be solved with yet more debt,” Gov. Mark Sanford said Sunday, making a reference to the federal deficit spending that will likely finance the federal stimulus package.
“We’re moving precipitously close to what I would call a savior-based economy,” Sanford also said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.
The South Carolina Republican said such an economy is “what you see in Russia or Venezuela or Zimbabwe or places like that where it matters not how good your product is to the consumer but what your political connection is to those in power.”
“That is quite different than a market-based economy where some rise and some fall but there’s a consequence to making a stupid decision,” Sanford said after pointing to the powers granted to the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve to help deal with the current economic crisis.
“A lot of people who’ve made some very stupid decisions are being bailed out by the population at large,” he added.
Instead of bailing out failing companies, Sanford told CNN’s John King that the government should let the economy work through the current challenges without intervention.
“We’re going to go through a process of deleveraging,” Sanford said. “And it will be painful. The question is: Do we apply a bunch of different band aids that lengthen and prolong this pain or do we take the band aid off? I believe very strongly: let’s get this thing over with, let’s not drag it on.”
Although Sanford was critical of the federal government’s efforts to get the economy back on track, he equivocated when asked whether he would turn down money in the stimulus package intended for South Carolina which he would control.”
“I think that ultimately we’ll decide that question when we get to it,” the governor said.