HICKS COLUMN: Sandy vote makes South Carolina look bad, really bad
How quickly they forget.
Back in 1989, after Hurricane Hugo did its best to wipe South Carolina off the map, help poured in from around the country. Other states sent food, water and emergency personnel to help us put the state back together again.
It was one of those moments that made you proud.
A big part of that help was more than $400 million the feds sent to rebuild Charleston and the rest of the state.
So how does it look when South Carolina's entire congressional delegation — save for Jim Clyburn — votes against the Sandy relief bill to help New Jersey, New York and New England?
It makes us look partisan, petty and hateful.
It makes us look ungrateful.
By playing politics with folks in need, South Carolina has set itself up for trouble when the next big one hits here.
Little less conversation
U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, who is from up around Lancaster and Fort Mill, made himself the poster child of this issue with his amendment to the Sandy relief bill.
Mulvaney was all for helping those folks, provided we cut other federal spending to pay for the disaster relief. When Congress couldn't agree to that — surprise — he voted no to the relief.
There's nothing wrong with a debate on government spending, not just on subsidies for the poor but also for rich industries that get their fair share of welfare. But when people are sitting around without roofs over their heads, there's no time to dally.
Mulvaney ought to understand that, seeing as how he got federal disaster relief 15 years ago when his business flooded.
Hugo did an estimated $4.2 billion in damage to South Carolina — and that's 1989 dollars. An insurance study from a few years back estimated that, thanks to over-development along the coast since that storm, Hugo would cost the state $20 billion today.
Somebody needs to start saving their pennies.
In the event of a disaster of that magnitude, South Carolina certainly couldn't bail itself out.
The entire state budget for a year is barely more than $20 billion, and most of that is federal pass-through money. Without federal help, a Category 4 hurricane would shut us down for years.
No doubt most of those northeastern states are in the same boat right now. They need help.
When — not if — another monster storm hits Charleston, you can be assured that none of the ideologues will want to stand around talking about deficit spending, especially if their houses or offices are under water. Faster than you can say flip-flop, our hypocritical delegation suddenly would be unanimous in their support of disaster relief. Well, now that Jim DeMint is gone.
But what if the rest of the country decides that, since South Carolina is so callous, we don't really deserve any help? Congress has done crazier things — this week.
Our guys need to think about these things before going off on some foolish crusade. Those things have a way of turning around and biting you in the deficit.