We can’t take pride in our economy when so many are left behind

November 2, 2018
Press Contact: Brad Warthen, 803-315-1886

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Henry McMaster thinks he’s a terrific steward of South Carolina’s economy, repeatedly claiming that we’re “Winning, winning, winning.”

His running mate leads the cheering section, as though applauding a lie made it true.

But consider:

  • McMaster brags on low unemployment figures. But South Carolina is tied for the third-worst workforce participation rate in the nation. That means a larger percentage of South Carolinians have given up even trying to find work than people in 46 other states. When McMaster took over as governor, we were only eighth-worst.
  • The tariffs that McMaster defends, telling us just to “be patient,” threaten BMW jobs, having lowered the automakers’ earnings drastically. Volvo now may not bring those thousands of jobs it had intended to bring to the Lowcountry. And farmers are being hurt by the way tariffs are affecting the international market for their commodities.
  • A new ranking shows that South Carolina is the worst place in the nation to be a teacher – which is why they are leaving the teaching profession in droves.
  • We were also recently ranked 30th among places to do business. On the same measure, North Carolina is 7th and Georgia is 9th.
  • Rural hospitals are closing across the state, leaving thousands in our small towns without nearby medical care. And hundreds of thousands have no medical insurance even if they had a hospital in their towns.
  • South Carolinians pay more for healthcare than most of the country, and yet we have some of the worst health outcomes.

Yet these things are all fixable. We need to train our workforce for the jobs of the future. Our leadership needs to stand up and oppose the president’s job-killing trade war in no uncertain terms. We need to raise teacher pay above the Southeastern average, and transform our schools so educators are eager to teach in them. And we should accept the federal funds – our own tax money – to provide medical coverage to 250,000 people without, keep small-town hospitals open, create 44,000 good new jobs, and bring more than a billion additional dollars into our state economy each year.

“South Carolina isn’t doing well unless all of us are doing well,” said James Smith, Democratic nominee for governor. “Under Henry, too many have been left behind for too long. Mandy and I would leave no one behind – that’s our greatest promise to our fellow South Carolinians.

“In our debate last week, Pam Evette wouldn’t even acknowledge anything was wrong, saying we need to be cheerleaders for the way we are,” said Mandy Powers Norrell, nominee for lieutenant governor. “James and I will work to build a South Carolina that works for everybody willing to try.”