Fab Flags For $6 Million? It's Your Money
Dear Hard-Working South Carolina Taxpayer,
Guess What. You're not getting any tax relief this year. No property tax relief, no income tax relief and you're sure as hell getting a $400 rebate back out of that $1 billion in new revenue you sent to Columbia.
Nope, the State Legislature is going to spend every last nickel of your money.
In fact, after passing a pork-laden budget that grows government four times faster than your paycheck - the South Carolina House of Representatives (a.k.a. "Mayor-ice's Piggie Park") is far from satisfied. In fact, they won't rest until they've identified every feelgood expenditure they can possibly find to justify denying you (and in turn, our state's economy) even a modest portion of the surplus we worked so hard to create.
The latest taxpayer-funded extravagance is the brainchild of prominent RINO (Republican in Name Only) Catherine Ceips, who last year spent $5 million of your tax dollars to dump sand into the Atlantic Ocean. Evidently unsatisfied with her "Dirt Jihad" against that irrepressible force of natural inevitability known as "Longshore Drift," Rep. Ceips is now waging a "Flag Jihad" against Lt. Col. Banastre "Bloody" Tarleton.
Here's the only problem - Tarleton, a brutal British dragoon commander during the Revolutionary War (not the Gulf War), shuffled off this mortal coil back in 1833. And unlike "Longshore Drift," which is scientifically unbeatable, Tarleton and his British buddies have in fact already been beaten twice by America (1781 and 1812).
Nonetheless, here we have Rep. Ceips sponsoring H. 4886, a resolution that passed the Piggie Park by a vote of 109-0. It instructs our State Budget & Control Board to "from its reserve funds ... immediately provide the State Museum with sufficient funding to buy or otherwise reclaim three battle flags of the American Revolutionary War captured by Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton during the Battle of the Waxhaws (also known as Buford's Massacre) in Lancaster County on May 29, 1780, and to request that the State Museum also seek private funding and donations to help secure these important artifacts."
So how much do these flags cost? According to Sotheby's, all three can likely be had for the bargain basement price of just $6 million - although Ceips says she thinks we can get them for only $3 million.
"All South Carolinians will appreciate these flags coming home," said Former Minority Leader James Smith of Columbia.
Um, James ... While we're sure the massive voting block of revolutionary war re-enactors, history professors, museum curators and other members of the "There But For The Grace Of God Go I" Club might agree with that statement, the rest of us would kindly appreciate it if you porkers quit coming up with new ways to unnecessarily spend millions of dollars that could be going into our pockets and growing the state's economy.
But Smith's comment didn't even come close to taking the cake, that honor was reserved for State Rep. Mike Pitts.
"Do we really want that flag in the hands of an enemy?" Pitts asked.
Whoa there, home slice.
Last time FITS checked Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair had been pretty good to the good ole U.S.A. (WWII, Desert Storm, etc.) Of course it figures a South Carolina State Legislator would completely scrap Anglo-American relations just because Tarleton's great-great-great-great nephew is a little hard up for some cash and as P.T. Barnum once said, "there's a sucker born every minute."
Look, we're sure these flags are historic and should be publicly displayed. That's fine with us, just let Darla Moore, Mack Whittle and John Rainey pay for them, not the unemployed textile worker in Greenville who can't find a new job because our State Legislature won't build a business climate that creates them.
Hell, if South Carolina's General Assembly ever took its head out of its arse (that's the British term) and worried about how we actually make this state more competitive as opposed to buying, moving, raising, lowering and generally wasting everybody's time talking about flags, we might end up moving our citizens into the current century instead of relegating them to previous ones.
It's up to you, taxpayer. And if you happen to live in District 124 in Beaufort County, you can start by showing Rep. Ceips that $5 million in vanishing sand, $6 million in Revolutionary War flags and her support of a budget that spends every last nickel of a billion dollar surplus you created isn't a performance that should be reprised come 2007.