Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Haley praises state's 'right to work (for less)' status in Rock Hill

Governor Nikki Haley held a rally -- or, a town hall meeting -- in Rock Hill on Monday night, promoting her track record as governor and inviting fans and others to ask questions about her. The Rock Hill Herald, which recommended Sen. Vince Sheheen for governor in its November 1 edition, covered the event and reported that not all questions came from fans.

It appears the governor is a Van Halen fan; the Herald noted that the governor took the stage to the triumphant strains of Van Halen's "Right Now," a song from the group's album "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge."

Then she hit the stage, reviewing her 2011 legislative report card - the tool she's using to urge legislators to support her agenda and push legislation through quickly.

The state's House of Representatives already has earned check marks on the report card, which was blown up on a display behind her.

The measures include requiring legislators to record their votes, allowing the governor to appoint the state superintendent of education, and creating a department of administration to merge duplicated functions in government agencies such as human resources and information technology.

Van Haley got quickly to business -- no pun intended -- and praised South Carolina's 'right to work' status -- which many, many, many workers recognize as 'right to work for less' -- and said the corporate heads she's been talking with appreciate that South Carolina "keep[s] the unions out."

Haley's youth and lack of awareness of South Carolina's history may be forgiven; she might do well to read any of the marvelous histories of South Carolina by D.D. Wallace, Lewis T. Jones, Ernest M. Lander Jr, or even Walter Edgar, to collect a deeper understanding of the role played by folks outside corporate boardrooms in building South Carolina and contributing to its economy. I'd draw her attention particularly to the massacre of Chiquola Mills workers in Honea Path in 1934, and the closing of Darlington Manufacturing Company in 1956 by the late conservative rainmaker and billionaire Roger Milliken.

The Herald reports that at least one person attending the rally had a different point of view, and shared it, leading Haley to refine her comment.

"Jobs, jobs, jobs," have been her top priority, she said, adding that all week she's been on the phone with corporations eager to come to South Carolina.

"They love the fact that we're a right-to-work state and keep the unions out," she said to applause.

At least one man in the audience didn't approve.

"A lot of good people who helped build this town and this community are union members," he said.

"I'm not against unions," Haley retorted. "I'm for us being a right-to-work state."

Though the new governor diagnosed the state's economy as ill, as she did throughout her campaign of 2010, she brought no cure, but said she'd bring physicians from Washington, D.C., to treat it.

Regarding how to fix the state's "band-aided" tax system, Haley did not have specifics Monday night.

The state is bringing in "think tanks out of Washington to help see what's the best tax structure for South Carolina." This fall we will know more, she said. Haley said she will not support raising taxes.

I can understand why Haley opposes raising taxes; tax revenues supply the state's budget and therefore provide needed services to the citizens she pledged to serve. A scheme of this sort creates no profit for those whose wealth undergirds South Carolina's power structure, therefore it must be opposed at all cost.

While she was at it, Haley struck at another apparition: evil educators whose meager salaries and benefits (which fall well below the national average, mind you) cost too much money, and state retirees -- like lunchladies who worked for four or five decades and now depend on tiny monthly checks to keep the lights on -- who represent a drain on the system.

Haley said she wants to give teachers merit-based bonuses based on reviews by their principals and other teachers.

She also wants to change funding for public education so it's need based instead of being determined by "where you're born and raised," where schools in wealthy areas surpass poorer areas in support and quality.

A state employee asked how her pension will be impacted by Haley's proposed reform to the state retirement system.

New state employees who haven't been hired yet will be hit hardest, she said, "because they're going to work harder, they're going to get less, and they're going to have to contribute more."

Haley said she's trying to protect state employees' retirement and asked them to "have faith" because "the next few years are going to hurt a little bit."

Translation: Don't worry, be happy with less.

Haley threw red meat to middle- and upper-class citizens who can afford cable television and dvds when she advocated eliminating funding for SCETV.

"We are past the age when we need public television. We've got the Internet. We've got DVDs," Haley said to applause.

Presumably, poorer citizens whose wages don't spare room for basic cable or $20 dvds should go to a neighboring state for the non-commercial programming that public television offers.

No comments:

Post a Comment