David Shuster invited Rep. Jim Clyburn on to his morning MSNBC broadcast to talk about Mark Sanford's latest bizarre twist in his attempts to defend his refusal to take federal stimulus money for his state:
Sanford told reporters in South Carolina that he still intends to turn down millions in stimulus cash, despite the likelihood of his state legislature accepting the cash -- and criticism by House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) that rejecting any payments would disproportionately harm African American residents.
"What you're doing is buying into the notion that if we just print some more money that we don't have, send it to different states - we'll create jobs... If that's the case why isn't Zimbabwe a rich place?"..."why isn't Zimbabwe just an incredibly prosperous place. Cause they're printing money they don't have and sending it around to their different - I don't know the towns in Zimbabwe but that same logic is being applied there with little effect."
Clyburn largely elaborated on the point he made originally:
"Sounds like he's playing the race card," Clyburn said. "[W]hy would he compare this country to Zimbabwe? Is he comparing this president to Mugabe? What is this about? It's very strange to me."
... "I'm sure he would not say that, but how did he get to Zimbabwe? What took the man to Zimbabwe? Someone should ask him if that's really the best comparison. ... How can he compare this country's situation to Zimbabwe?"
Underscoring the fact that Sanford's refusal of federal dollars will disproportionately affect black people was the latest from ThinkProgress:
Yesterday, ThinkProgress reported that Gov. Mark Sanford’s (R-SC) decision to reject $700 million of stimulus funds could result in the firing of up to 7,500 teachers across the state, more than $500 million of which was slated to fill in the massive education budget deficit. Last night, CNN’s Jessica Yellin visited Ty’Sheoma Bethea, the South Carolina student who pleaded with Congress to save her crumbling school. Sanford’s decision, Yellin pointed out, means Bethea’s school will remain in disrepair.
Not only is this comparison really offensive to people living in Zimbabwe and struggling with a horrible situation, far worse than the misery Sanford is trying to inflict on the population of South Carolina by refusing to extend unemployment benefits, but the ignorance on display here is really appalling. Sanford’s like a guy standing next to a burning building worrying that it might rain tomorrow. There’s no inflation right now in the United States. None whatsoever. It’s actually a big problem, because it means that our standard macroeconomic stabilization tool—federal reserve open market operations—doesn’t work. Serious inflation would be bad, of course, and Zimbabwe-style hyperinflation would be ruinous, but some increase in inflation would be helpful. It would serve as a real cut in interest rates and help to spur growth. And long before inflation reached problem levels, the Fed could increase nominal rates to head the problem off. Sanford’s just out to sea on this.