Last week Gov. Nikki Haley closed 17 unemployment offices across the state in her ongoing battle to combat overspending and waste in South Carolina's byzantine and murky public service sector. These offices were largely in rural areas of the Palmetto State, and most of them were not maintaining full operating hours. South Carolina's Democrats quickly jumped in, crying out that the governor had "declared war" on the poor. Once again, Gov. Haley has taken the politically expedient road to appeasing her true base, the future donors to her future political campaigns.
So, how does closing down a few small, rural unemployment offices accomplish this? The deeply cynical view is that Haley is trying to lower the unemployment rate in South Carolina by making it harder for out-of-work men and women to file for unemployment insurance. After all, there are some working people who have a difficult time keeping gas in their car, so what chance does an unemployed person with no unemployment office have to get in their car and drive to an open unemployment office somewhere else in the state?
Now, some might say that these folks can file online, and they can — as long as they have internet access. However, as any good conservative will tell you, unemployed people who keep their internet turned on after they lose their jobs do not deserve our help anyway. They should be using that money for food — or, I suppose, gas for their car to make the 40- or 50-mile trip to the nearest unemployment office.
At any rate, the likely result is that fewer people will sign up for, or extend, their unemployment insurance payments, and this will cause South Carolina's numbers to plummet, bolstering Gov. Haley's so-proclaimed status as a "jobs-oriented" governor in a "business friendly" state. However, she will probably have to square South Carolina's position as a booming place for business with the fact that there's so little business here — at least compared to other states — but that is a small problem when you are looking ahead to the 2014 gubernatorial race. Or at least this is what state Democrats believe.
In their view, every move that Haley makes is calculated to keep her in office. I disagree. I don't think that Nikki Haley is interested in being the governor of this state for too much longer. I think she has her eyes on a much loftier goal. And no, I am not talking about the presidency.
While Haley would certainly make history by running for commander and chief — she is a minority female after all — I believe she has a different objective. I think Gov. Haley wants to be the progressive populist leader of a real working-class revolution. It's the best explanation for her actions.
Whether it is through the governor's fearless overseas trips to Paris and Japan, her ongoing struggle to ease the federal regulations that keep the honest businessperson down, or the downsizing of the one state department aimed at making sure that out-of-work people are able to buy food and pay their rent, Haley has one aim for South Carolina: full employment. Don't take my word for it. Even the governor's own spokesperson, Rob Godfrey, has proudly proclaimed that the governor has declared a war on unemployment.
As we all know, Nikki Haley is a fighter, whether it's in the Statehouse, on the kickball field, or on Facebook. The only logical thing she could be doing to improve the situation of the working class in South Carolina is making sure that all of us have jobs.
The business community, of course, will not like this. The only two words that the average businessperson hates more than "union organizer" is "full employment." After all, if we all have jobs, then suddenly we all have a great advantage over our employers. Once the governor has brought in enough businesses to hire all of us, and she eliminates all unemployment offices, we will finally be able to get a better job whenever we decide that we do not like the job that we have.
So believe me when I say this: Nikki Haley is fighting for a world in which no South Carolinian will ever have to hear the phrase "You should be thankful we have a job." She is fighting for our right to say, "Take this job and shove it."