Vote big 'no' on more big-government growth



Relentless government growth is alarming at all levels. Today's federal debt is $13.3 trillion, or $43,000 per American, and excludes massive unfunded liabilities for future Social Security and federal employee benefits. The 2010 federal budget was $3.6 trillion, paid by $2.2 trillion in tax revenues and $1.4 trillion (39 percent) in loans. Planned federal budgets have deficits every year out to 2020.

Washington, D.C., is broke. Yet, it enacted an $800 billion jobs stimulus primarily for government projects. U.S. unemployment rate rose from 7.6 percent to 9.6 percent now.

South Carolina's state government growth is creating solvency problems. In February, the Pew Center on the States released a study on "the trillion-dollar gap" in state retirement systems. This 50-state study put South Carolina in the worst category ("serious concerns") with 58 percent of state employee retirement benefit packages funded and a $21 billion unfunded liability. South Carolina's General Fund has a $1 billion shortfall when "stimulus" money ends next year.

Local governments relentlessly expand. The cost of projects on Aiken County's one-cent sales tax ballots has jumped 169 percent since 2000. Also, the South Carolina Policy Council found that, from 2003 to 2009, the city of Aiken's spending rose three times faster than its population grew, and its employees increased 17 percent.

Government's refusal to cut spending pushed the full burden of this recession onto the private sector. In 2011, federal health-care costs and planned income tax bracket hikes will add huge new burdens, as will Columbia's planned tax/fee hikes.

Aiken voters now face $145 million in government-authored, vaguely described projects with large price tags, no supporting details and no town-hall discussions. Who would buy a house based solely on this ad: "House for $800,000"?

A blank check to government is foolish. Put politicians on a diet; give citizens tax relief. On Nov. 2, stimulate our vital private sector -- vote "no!"


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