Will S.C. Gov. Sanford Turn Down Stimulus Aid?
This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," February 18, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: The ink is barely dry on the largest spending package and extension of government wealth in history, and now the White House, well, they're at it again. Today the president announced his plan to tackle the housing crisis and surprise, surprise, it has quite a price tag.
And that is our headline this Wednesday night, day 30 of the regime of redistribution, "Another $75 billion." Well, that's what the president wants to spend to attempt to keep nine million Americans in their homes because they cannot pay their mortgages.
So how bad is the mortgage situation, Mr. President?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm here today to talk about a crisis unlike we've ever known. A home mortgage crisis. A crisis — personal experiences of this crisis. While this crisis is vast — escape this crisis. Housing crisis. They're likely feeling the effects of this crisis. The effects of this crisis have also — this home mortgage crisis. If we allow this crisis — a crisis which is unraveling. Home mortgage crisis.
The financial crisis. Broader economic crisis. The worst consequences of this crisis. Given the magnitude of these crises. We grapple with the crisis. Taking responsibility for this crisis. Help us end this crisis. Our housing crisis was born. Failed to act amidst a deepening crisis. Solving this crisis. That got us into this crisis. We will overcome this crisis and once again secure that dream not just for ourselves but for generations to come.
Thank you. God bless you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Wow. Sounds like a crisis. But that's only part of the problem. Now increasingly, people are wondering if this administration can handle the huge government expansion during this crisis. Now after all, we have a tax cheat running the IRS in TurboTax Tim Geithner. We have a vacancy as Commerce secretary after two nominees have dropped out.
Now the person selected to monitor government efficiency also withdrew her name because of tax problems. And there are new questions about the White House chief of staff and whether he paid all of his taxes. Not exactly a track record that inspires confidence. So why not spend another $75 billion?
Now meanwhile, across America, not everyone is embracing the administration's plan to throw money at every possible problem.
And we're joined now by South Carolina governor Mark Sanford.
Governor, reports you may take the money. You may not take the money. You're going to take the money?
• Video: Watch Sean's interview
MARK SANFORD (R), GOVERNOR OF SOUTH CAROLINA: We'll find out. We've got a team that's looking through it right now. And what's crazy is that bill that was, you know, I guess, put on line around midnight on a Thursday night that the House and Senate ultimately voted on on a Friday, is something that ultimately was not debated, ultimately not vetted.
And what governors across this country are doing is now having their teams go in and actually vet. And so, you know, you got over 1,000 pages we are trying to go through and see what works, what doesn't work. And what we're seeing so far is one, in many cases, there are a lot of strings attached.
I mean, to be eligible for some of the unemployment funds, for instance, we would for the first time have to expand unemployment benefits in South Carolina to people who are part-time workers. Now that's kind of a problem, one, because we've never done it before. But two, because that same group just went to the feds asking for $140 million loan and then followed it with a $170 million loan.
So in many cases, these are real Catch-22s when you look under the hood at the way the system would work.
HANNITY: Governor, I see the quandary. I understand it completely, and not the least of which is that the citizens of South Carolina, they pay taxes. Their money is going to go to California. It's going to go to New York. It's going to go to all the state that have been fiscally irresponsible. Meanwhile, the people of South Carolina have been fairly fiscally responsible in all of this.
So therein lies the dilemma for you.
HANNITY: ... because, you know, fundamentally, on principle, you're against it.
SANFORD: Right. But — you know, I do not think that that webs me to taking money or not to taking the money. We tried to make a stand as best we could to this administration against what we thought was a fundamentally stupid idea that would ultimately damage the economy, damage the capitalistic system that has been the envy of the world here in America for a very long time, and stack up a bunch of debt on top of debt on our kids and grandkids coming down the line.
That is where we have stood. Now we are at this point of going through vetting the bill.
SANFORD: And we're not webbed one way or the other because we — we've made the stand, trying to stop it where we could.
HANNITY: Governor, let me ask you this. We jus t played this montage. This was — just in one speech. You know, 25 times he uses the word "crisis." He uses the word "catastrophe" a lot. Said if we didn't pass the stimulus bill — I remember, there's a lot of fear being used before we passed the TARP bill, that was just prior to the election. We had to do — we always have to act immediately here.
Do you think it's irresponsible? And what impact do you think it has on the psychology of the markets? And more importantly, what does the world think of the president of the United States talking down the economy the way he is every day?
SANFORD: I'd say a couple of things. You know — our respective grandfathers', I guess, talked about that notion, decisions made in fear generally aren't good decisions. You want to be a little bit more contemplative in making a decision. And so, one, frenzying people up into a feared state is not the way to pass legislation.
Two, the idea of talking down the economy I don't think is ever good. I mean, in other words, a lot of people immigrate to — from a lot of other places around the globe to come to America because there's been economic opportunity here. And to dumb that down and to frighten people, again, I think to be counterproductive.
HANNITY: You know — I guess for the average American sitting back here tonight, and I've talked a lot about this on my radio show today. You know, people get up every morning, shovel coffee down their throat, they give their kids a shower, they wash them up, they comb their hair, they send them out to school, they work 14 hours a day, they obey the laws, they played by the rules. Unlike the Obama administration nominees, they actually pay their taxes.
Now they're going to have foot the bill and bailout — you like that, huh, Governor? They're going to have to pay the bill for the mortgages of people who are not responsible. And these banks were forced to make these loans by government because of redistribution policies.
What do we say to all these people? They're going to — they're on the hook to pay other people's mortgages? They can't take vacations.
SANFORD: You get to be the sucker at the birthday party in this kind of approach, because if you look at the bulk of all mortgages, in fact, they are being paid by the very people that you just allude to, who are living by the rules. And there is a real moral hazard component, whether it's in states that have been relatively frugal then having to bail out states that have been more generous, shall we say, in their spending, or individuals that have been more thrifty and really been watching the bottom line, have lived by the rules that you just described, having to bail out folks who haven't.
So, yes, I think that that really begins to undermine the ultimate driver of our economy, which is individual initiative and those very folks who go out and place bets in the market based on a set of rules that are defined. Nobody has any idea what the rules are going forward.
HANNITY: It seems to me.
SANFORD: ... based on one bailout after another after another.
HANNITY: Governor like yourself, and Rick Perry and Governor Pawlenty, and Governor Sarah Palin, you've been responsible. You'll be on the hook for the states that have been irresponsible. People that have been responsible with mortgages, they'll be on the hook for people that were not as responsible, buying homes they couldn't afford with no chance of paying it back and they read the details and now they're blaming everyone but themselves.
But, Governor, we'll talk more about it. Thanks for being with us tonight. We appreciate it.
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