South Carolina Citizen Journal

February 7, 2008

Circle the Wagons, Part I

According to the South Carolina Energy Office’s 2005 Energy Statistical Profile “South Carolina spends $10 billion per year on energy and ranks 18th in the nation in total energy consumption per capita”. The profile also states that our per capita energy consumption is above the U.S. average.

Now if I’m not mistaken, except for some hydro electric, South Carolina imports practically all of its energy for consumption. We have no coal. We have no natural gas. We have no oil. Even our nuclear industry imports the fuel that keeps it running. So while we certainly need to import these energy sources for the good of our state and overall economy, I think we all can also hear that giant sucking sound as our state bleeds itself of wealth by not taking energy conservation completely seriously. It’s time to stop the bleeding.

Our stated goal should be 50th on the states list of per capita energy consumption. Fiftieth by a mile. We should be looking to ourselves for an immediate 10% reduction in per capita energy consumption followed by at least an additional 10% by the end of 2009.

There are many steps that will need to be taken for this to happen, but first is the regular collection and publication of energy consumption data. In this day and age when financial data is collected and tabulated on a daily basis, there is no reason that we can’t collect this information from energy providers in a timely fashion and for very little cost.

By publishing this information, and relying on a concurrent public service campaign as well as expecting the involvement of the fourth estate, we will be able to put forth a significant measure. Rather than depending on us to watch our individual energy usage numbers, which incrementally mean very little, we will have a large measure that we all can contribute to and be a part of. For example, based on the 2005 statistical profile a 10% energy usage reduction would be a $1 billion dollar a year savings for the people of South Carolina, and that ain’t no chicken feed.

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February 4, 2008

South Carolina campaign money going out of state

South Carolina politicians, both Democrat and Republican, send hundreds of thousands of dollars of our political contributions out of state by paying for out of state consultants and media production.

First off, if a politician has to go out of state to craft their political message, it’s not showing a lot of respect for our state’s citizens, and perhaps they are an individual who is not properly cut out to serve in our state’s government.

Second, if a politician is willing to send our campaign dollars out of state, that doesn’t bode well for how they would manage their fiscal duties in our state government. Our politicians are fond of speaking of creating jobs, but how can we believe this when they pack up our very own campaign dollars and ship them right out of the state? That money should stay in South Carolina for South Carolina.

So let us suggest that individuals running for state office no longer spend thousands and thousands of dollars on out of state consulting and media production, and let them at least pledge to account for all campaign money spent in this manner, so a proper reckoning of their relationship with their constituents can be had.

January 30, 2008

Keep South Carolina Ports for South Carolina

The South Carolina Ports Authority is in the news again. Containers coming through our system dropped 11 percent in 2007. Somehow this drop in cargo should be answered with an expansion of the Charleston port, but no one is explaining why an expansion is a good answer to a drop in demand. Obviously we have capacity to spare at this point. Perhaps we need to update the facilities to attract business, I’m not sure.

There are a couple of things that I am sure of. One is, any call for privatizing the state ports is a bad idea. Sovereign funds have been in the news a lot lately. They’ve been buying up a lot of U.S. banking concerns recently, among other things. This is relevant in a couple of ways.

First, I don’t think we want a Middle Eastern sovereign fund buying up our state’s ports. Or the Germans or the Russians. Oh, maybe the Communist Chinese, I hear they run an excellent port system in Hong Kong.

Second, there is nothing wrong with South Carolina having its own Sovereign fund. A fund that the state, i.e. the citizens of South Carolina own. Right now our ports are probably the crowning jewel of our state’s sovereign fund, one of which I am quite proud of, and I’m not interested in selling it off to any foreign(out of state) concerns.

If the ports need better management, or more legislative help to facilitate improving the infrastructure then I’m all for it. But when you call for the selling off of one of our signature assets to foreign investors whose sole goal is to extract the most amount of profit from our state as possible and take it elsewhere, then I have to say I’m against it.

Keep South Carolina ports for South Carolina.

December 17, 2007

South Carolina Powerball is economic “Powerdrain”

Filed under: Economy, legislature, Sanford, South Carolina — Tags: , , , , , — NotforHire @ 2:47 pm

There was a well balanced article in The State Sunday about the South Carolina Education Lottery. I for one see both the pros and cons of a state run lottery, but I don’t have a particular ethical dilemma with the system. I have even been known to play the lottery from time to time, it being my little donation to our state school system.

One area the article did not address is, what is the net effect of the multistate powerball game on the wealth of our state? It seems that while good for increased funding of education, it is in fact a net loss of wealth to our state. I mean, if we’re watching $50 million flow out of the state for every $10 million going to education, then that hardly seems like a lottery structure that is good for the state of South Carolina.

I put in a call to SC Education Lottery to get the specific dollar figures and was referred to the Multistate Lottery Association, which runs Powerball. This was disappointing because I’d like to think that the people running things on our end would know the answer to a question directly concerning the financial health of our own state. Apparently that is not the case.

I called the Multistate Lottery Association but was also unable to get an answer to my question.

I think it’s time for the Governor’s office and perhaps the legislature to look into this matter and expose SC Education Lottery’s involvement in Powerball for what it really is, a huge “Powerdrain” on our economy and the wealth of our state.

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