I love my home state of South Carolina — yes, I said it! — but it's hardly an economic powerhouse. California has a GDP roughly equal to the United Kingdom while South Carolina's is about the same as Iraq. Still, Nikki Haley, former South Carolina governor and current Trump stooge, decided to lecture all those other deadbeats states.

What the hell is this woman talking about? States are not a “business model" and how do you build a “rainy day" fund for a pandemic that shuts down the economy for months? It's rained for more than 40 days now and Noah has extended the stay-in-the-ark order. We keep saying this, but COVID-19 is a fucking hurricane that lasts forever. After Hurricane Matthew devastated parts of South Carolina, Haley begged the federal government for assistance. Barack Obama didn't keep his wallet closed and tell her she should've planned for a “rainy day." A novel coronavirus is by definition previously undefined, but Haley was well aware that South Carolina had a coastline.


There was even debate during Matthew over whether South Carolina had spent enough in previous years on dams — 13 of which failed — and infrastructure. That's the problem with governing on a shoe string. It can look good on the ledger today but deferred maintenance can bite you in the ass later. This is why Donald Trump firing the pandemic response team to save a few bucks was a literally fatal decision.

Federal disaster relief is socialism in action. A state gets screwed and its neighbors come over with the George Bailey aid package. Mitch McConnell's new fun idea that (blue) states should go bankrupt after a national disaster wouldn't have pleased Haley when our state was hit with $341 million in hurricane damages. Federal programs picked up most of the tab.

But South Carolina needs help on sunny days, as well. The Greenville News reported in 2014 — yes, when Haley was governor, and two years before Hurricane Matthew — that South Carolina "receives $7.87 in federal funds for every dollar spent in income taxes, the highest ratio of any state." Joe Biden's boss, Jim Clyburn, spilled the sweetened ice tea on this “dirty little secret."

CLYBURN: It boggles the mind to think about all the federal money that comes into this state that we do all kinds of stuff to get and then we pretend it isn't federal money ... If you shut down 25 percent of all the federal dollars coming into South Carolina, the economy of South Carolina would collapse.

If Haley considers a “poorly run" state one that depends on federal money, she should check herself. California could probably function as a self-sustaining state (Gov. Gavin Newsom is already giving it a go and has even acquired Oregon and Washington). South Carolina can't. Even during the “good old days," black folks were bailing out South Carolina with all our free labor.

All that talk about how states need to “tighten up, make some cuts, and manage" is just red meat for the GOP base — the very same people who want the government to keep its hands off their Medicare. Haley knows it's all rightwing talk show crap, but she'll say it anyway because she's an opportunistic liar. She's lied about Democrats mourning the death of a terrorist. She's lied about the history of the Confederate flag. She's lied about Trump's impeachment. She's even lied about Jared Kushner's empty, moth-ridden head. The pattern here is that she lies, and they aren't like Trump's reflexive lies. They are carefully calculated lies, and those are Haley's specialty.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).

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