Saturday, 23 May 2009

The Sanford effect

I really, really don’t get the appeal of Mark Sanford to some libertarians. Then again, the fact that my best friend has taken a furlough (without time off, essentially amounting to unpaid labor) solely so the douche-nozzle can continue to grandstand as part of his quixotic effort to get the 2012 GOP presidential nomination might color my opinions somewhat.

The day Sanford or Sanford-lite (aka Rick Perry) identify a part of libertarianism they like other than “tax cuts” is the day that serious libertarians should to give them the time of day—and no sooner. I don’t expect that to happen any time soon.


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Here in NC, we’re having similar issues and the governor just issued a mandatory furlough for all state employees (including UNC system). NC has Democratic majorities in both houses and the governorship, so I don’t think this is solely a Sanford/Republican/stimulus thing.

My guess (on Googling) is that it’s structural: furloughs for state employees (up to 10 days) were just added to the SC Code (8–11-192) last month, in time for new teacher contracts, but the provision refers to and is clearly inspired by SC 8–11-193, which authorizes any higher-education institution to implement across-the-board furloughs of up to 20 days whenever their budget is cut. So furloughs are apparently the standard response at SC universities.

NC doesn’t normally do furloughs—I can only find four references in the NC General Statutes to “furloughs”; one is for veterans, one for clergy, one for firefighters, one in 135–4(z) (about credit for maternity leave)—so we’re still having a muted debate about whether Perdue even has the ability to order furloughs. My guess is that the furlough will stand and the General Assembly will add a paragraph retroactively permitting it, since nobody really has any better ideas.

Sanford: More of a Ron Paul-style nut than a Rick Perry-style douche-nozzle, actually. (Though so far as I know Sanford hasn’t endorsed any neo-Confederates.) Sanford is clearly the “lite” version when it comes to policy, but they both have an inability to compromise on whatever they see as The Law, so I have no problem believing that Sanford really does think there’s something unlawful about it (didn’t the stimulus bill require the governor to accept the funds? I can’t remember anymore). Of course, “uncompromising” plays well to voters who agree with you (hence his appeal to some libertarians and many conservatives), so I can’t entirely be sure he isn’t grandstanding… but he’s been consistent in his behavior for years, even when it hurts him like I think this lawsuit will.

Of course, it could just be that we have unusually high standards for grandstanding in South Carolina. Guess who’s expected to run for governor in 2010?

How long is the furlough? Here in NC, it’s 10 hours or 0.5% of salary, so I’m guessing it has to be much higher in SC, since they don’t have the same issues as we do WRT furloughs (and public employees vote for Democrats, not Republicans).

[Permalink] 2. Rick Almeida wrote @ Sun, 24 May 2009, 10:27 am CDT:

“So furloughs are apparently the standard response at SC universities.”

This is not the case. I am employed at a public SC university, and we had approximately 26% of our state appropriation withheld from us this fiscal year. We had 0 furloughs, and my understanding is that most state universities were able to overcome the withholdings without resorting to furloughs, and certainly not as the “standard response”. Anecdotally, I have heard that the only university to make widespread use of furloughs was Wofford, who allegedly absorbed most of their state cuts in that manner. Coastal Carolina let go most, if not all, of their adjuncts, but apparently CCU was making extensive use of adjuncts to lower the teaching loads of full-time faculty.


Wofford is private; you are probably thinking of Winthrop.


Rick: I stand corrected.

[Permalink] 5. Rick Almeida wrote @ Mon, 25 May 2009, 12:48 pm CDT:

Chris, you’re right, thanks for the clarification.


Rick Perry was one of the big hawks for the Trans-Texas Corridor proposal. The eminent domain encroachment in “Blazing Saddles” was nothing in comparison.

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