Interview with Gov. Mark Sanford

Interview with Gov. Mark Sanford

Hannity & Colmes - December 17, 2008

COLMES: "Bailout" seems to be the recent buzz word of the year, and while everybody from Wall Street to Detroit wants a handout, our next guest says, "No thanks." Here's what South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford said in a recent letter to President Bush.

He said, "These bailouts represent not only an enormous cost that they will be left to carry, but a shattering of the rights and responsibilities that have historically been linked to achieving the American dream."

Joining us now South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford.

Governor, welcome back to the show.


COLMES: Tell me, what happens if there is no bailout? Many states, yours being one of the exceptions, saying, "Don't help us, federal government." And if they don't come in with help, what happens?

SANFORD: Well, we've been around for a couple hundred years as a republic, and I think we've done amazingly well to date, without a whole host of the never-ending bailouts.

I think the republic survives, and I think we do the old-fashioned thing, which is when times get tough, you actually tighten the belt.

There was an interesting National Governors' Association study that came out just this week that showed, of the states that ran deficits this year, 22 of them were going to go out and increase spending next year. It seems to me that the way that you get out of a hole is to quit digging. A lot of states aren't doing it, and this bailout will only perpetuate the problem.

COLMES: You have to pay your bills, and you're going to cut -- you're going to tighten your belt. It means you're going to have to give cuts, service cuts. Does that mean that, if a state does what you're suggesting, they also even have to raise property taxes or raise state taxes or sales taxes in order to survive?

SANFORD: Well, no, what you just said was you can actually cut. And we just got through -- the legislative body came back in South Carolina. They cut almost a half a billion dollars worth of assorted different pieces of government, and that's what businesses are doing in the slowdown. That's what families are doing in the slowdown. And I don't know why government should be exempt from that process.

COLMES: But where do you cut? How do you cut without hurting people? Where do you go? Where do you go to make those slices?

SANFORD: Well, where do you go in your family budget when the family -- you know, when times get tougher? I mean, there is going to be some pain. There's no getting around that. That's the nature of an up and down to the business and the economic cycle.

But to pretend that that doesn't exist, I think really begins to create much better problems in the next go-around in the states that have been prudent, look to other states who got bailed out by Uncle Sam and said, "I'm not bothering in being prudent this go-around."

COLMES: Well, let's be specific. Where you are in North -- in South Carolina rather, what does it -- I made a big mistake there. I almost said North Carolina.

SANFORD: Careful.

COLMES: What -- what -- where specifically do you go?

SANFORD: I know that was a faux pas.

COLMES: And where specifically do you go to make those cuts and without hurting your population?

SANFORD: Let's go back to the basics. The cuts that we just made and the cuts that will be made will impact people's lives.

But what needs to be remembered is that the growth of state governments overall has been faster than the rate of growth of even the federal government.

And so when you talk about hurting people, yes, there is some pain, but I think the far bigger hurt will be stacking up debt on top of debt so that my four boys, my wife and my four boys, and a lot of other kids and grandkids out there are stuck holding the bill.

HANNITY: Hey, Governor.

SANFORD: That's why I think it's particularly -- yes.

HANNITY: How are you doing? It's Sean Hannity.

Isn't it this liberal fallacy that the only way out of this is that we've got to raise taxes? It seems that nobody in government today, very few people, on the state level, on the federal level, are willing to say, "You know what? Just like families, we need to pull our belt a little tighter, maybe cut spending."

And when are we going to be able to prove to the left that, if you cut taxes, you spur economic growth, revenues will go up? What is it going to take for them to understand this lesson?

SANFORD: Something of a revolution at the grass roots level with enough people raising cane and making noise about this being the real tipping point on where we are as the Republic and where we go next in civilization.

I think that this is the biggest gut check we've ever had as a country on, indeed, where we go next, on a politically-based economy or a market- based economy.


SANFORD: And so I would just ask people to make noise because until that happens, people will go the easier route. And the easier route is jamming the tab to the next generation, and we may not be that lucky, based on where currencies could go.

HANNITY: Hey, Governor, you know, let me give you an example where the people of your state and by the way, Alan, South Carolina...

COLMES: I got it.

HANNITY: I got it. All right. Let me give you an example what they're doing in New York.

Governor Paterson, they're facing a major financial crisis in the state of New York. He's going to boost welfare by 30 percent over the next three years, according to the budget that he's putting forward.

On top of that, he's going to raise taxes 8 percent, if you download anything on iTunes, videos, or music. He's going to slap an 8 3/4 tax on if you get in a taxi or a bus. He's going to give a 4 percent tax if you go to a movie or a concert. He's going to tax beer. He's going to tax soft drinks 18 percent. He's going to tax cable TV and satellite. He's going to hike the cost of getting a hair cut, a manicure, a pedicure, a gym membership here.

He's going to eliminate the cap on gas taxes, but yet he's going to spend all this money on welfare.

The people of South Carolina, aren't they going to have to pay the bills for these big cities that are overspending like this?

SANFORD: We absolutely will, which is why I'm making the noise that I'm making right now. South Carolinians and, for that matter, North Carolinians will be left holding the tab to the Californias and the New Yorkers of the world, because disproportionately, based on the way the political system works, a lot of money will go to places like that. And the smaller, more rural folks and portions of the country may be left again holding the bag.

HANNITY: Governor, are you running for president?

SANFORD: No, I'm trying to survive the week, but I ask that people make noise on this one. This is a big one.

HANNITY: All right. Are you thinking about running for president?

SANFORD: No, I'm still trying to survive the week. I can see on Friday.

HANNITY: If I press for the next hour, I'm not going to get an answer, am I? No, OK.

SANFORD: Can't wait.

HANNITY: Merry Christmas. Glad to see you. Appreciate you being with us.

Hannity & Colmes


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