Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Reverse New Deal: Republican politicians in South Carolina seek federal assistance... after denying federal assistance to low-income Americans and blocking federal assistance to other states in need of help

(A WPA flood control project in York, Pennsylvania, 1936. Instead of demonizing the unemployed, New Deal policymakers offered them jobs improving infrastructure and protecting the nation from natural disasters. We still use many WPA projects today. Photo courtesy of the FDR Presidential Library and Museum and the New Deal Network.)

After being irresponsible with her state's infrastructure, and after lying about her state's unemployed citizens being on drugs, and after vowing not to expand federally-funded Medicaid to cover more of her low-income citizens (deceitfully implying that it would be mostly state-funded) ... South Carolina Republican Governor Nikki Haley wants plenty of federal assistance to repair her flood-ravaged state.

And when recently asked about the resources she and her Republican colleagues put towards South Carolina's infrastructure, and whether it was enough for proper maintenance & improvement before the floods, she got "testy."

Isn't it ironic (or, perhaps "demonic" is the better word) that Haley has portrayed many of her less fortunate citizens as irresponsible and undeserving of federal aid, yet she wants federal aid... after her administration willfully neglected South Carolina's infrastructure? Interestingly, Haley has also demanded that some of her citizens receiving food assistance prove that they're looking for jobs (the Republican presumption, of course, is that all people receiving government assistance are lazy and gaming the system). Well, golly gee, shouldn't Haley have to prove she is adequately improving her state's infrastructure before she receives federal aid?

("See: Flood Slams South Carolina's Already Shoddy Infrastructure," Associated Press, ABC News, October 7, 2015)

(WPA workers lived on these boats while working on a lake project near the Grand Coulee Dam, ca. 1940. Instead of insulting the unemployed, as conservative politicians do today, New Deal policymakers offered them opportunities. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.)

Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, representing South Carolina, has called for "whatever it takes" in the way of federal assistance to repair his state... just a few years after blocking such assistance for states hit by Hurricane Sandy - one of the most devastating hurricanes in U.S. history.

When asked why he voted "no" to help other states, Graham said he couldn't remember: "I don't really remember me voting that way... I don't really recall that" ("Graham opposed Sandy aid but wants help in South Carolina," CNN, October 6, 2015).

(A WPA flood control project in Pasadena, California, ca. 1935-1943. New Deal policymakers understood the value of infrastructure. Even some past Republicans understood. For example, in his autobiography, Ronald Reagan praised the WPA's infrastructure work. Unfortunately, with a new and even more radical generation of "conservatives" in power, those days are over. Photo courtesy of the National Archives and the New Deal Network.)

Folks, this is Republican leadership laid bare for all to see: A blatant, cold-hearted hypocrisy... and a complete neglect of our nation's infrastructure. In fact, they're so neglectful of America's infrastructure that even a senior Republican in Congress blames them.

South Carolina is a warning - a warning about climate change, crumbling infrastructure, and what happens when you elect people who are more concerned with tax breaks for the wealthy than with the common good. It's also, unfortunately, a warning that we are likely to ignore. We will probably continue electing Republicans into high office, continue to watch our infrastructure deteriorate, and continue to pay dearly - in both lives and dollars.

(See: "Dams Fail Across South Carolina As Floodwaters Kill 19," New York Magazine, October 8, 2015)

"We’re really not surprised at some of the things that are happening when you don’t have a fully robust state regulation program and South Carolina, unfortunately has not put the time, resources or manpower into their state dam safety program."

--Lori Spragens, Association of Dam Safety Officials ("Devastating Flooding in South Carolina Sparks Questions on Dam Inspections," WSAV 3 News, October 8, 2015)

No comments:

Post a Comment