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Letter to the Editor

A New Year, A New President, A New Era

web posted January 2, 2009
Dear Editor,
Our two grown sons are home from school and we are enjoying every minute we can with them. One night before Christmas, we sat down together and watched the great classic film, It’s a Wonderful Life. How uncanny that over the years, there are still quite a few slumlords like Mr. Potter, who will do anything to make a buck, even in the terrible financial times of 1928. 

Then again there are still a few George Baileys in the world, who believe in doing the right thing for the good of the people. George gives up his lifelong ambition to travel the world and build bridges and skyscrapers, to stay in Bedford Falls and run the family Building and Loan his father established until his untimely death. During a time of crisis, George is able to convince the people to stop a run on his Building and Loan and take out only what they absolutely need. He also builds an entire community to get the folks out from under the terrible living conditions imposed by the unscrupulous landlord, Mr. Potter. 
The question raised after enjoying this delightful film was… Why in South Carolina do we continue to support the “make a buck at any costs” attitude of Mr. Potter over the work together and make South Carolina one of the best places to live and work in the US?  We are at the brink of a new day in our country’s history. Unfortunately, we find ourselves in the worst financial crisis of our lives, unemployment is skyrocketing, and we are faced with critical financial shortfalls in our educational system. Our current elected officials seem to be unaware of the realities of our state as we face a new era.  We need leadership that can relate to the effects of these tough times.  We need a voice for the working people of South Carolina.
According to The State paper, South Carolina had the nation’s third worst unemployment rate of 8.4 percent in November with the predictions that it might go as high as 14 percent. Our leaders seem to be unaware that the job market is extremely bleak. The governor’s showdown over unemployment benefits shows how completely out of touch he is with the working, and now unemployed folks in our state. In fact, many of us are concerned about our hours being cut back and even more layoffs. This is a serious time of job loss and a governor that does not understand those implications is missing the call to do the right thing for the people of South Carolina.
As unemployment continues to rise, others will be in the same boat unless something is done. Our new administration has already said that they will have a huge stimulus plan that will go toward shovel ready projects. Based on the attitudes of our current elected officials, how many of these projects has South Carolina done it’s homework on and will be ready to apply for on January 21st? Our country is at a critical point and unfortunately South Carolina is worse off than most places. New leadership will be taking drastic steps to stop the downward spiral of our economy, what will the leadership of South Carolina be prepared to do?
Not only have we lost jobs, but our educational system is also in serious trouble.  School boards across the state are in an untenable position to make budgets balance with large reductions in revenue and increasing numbers of students. The bleak outlook will call for cut backs in programs, activities, and eventually teachers in the classrooms. Then there are the ever increasing costs of college and the evaporating means of sending a child on to an institute of higher learning. Businesses do not clamor to states with “unskilled” labor pools.
Now is the time for our Governor and other elected officials to start to understand the plight of workers in South Carolina. We need decisions that will help the unemployed, keep those that have jobs employed, bring jobs to South Carolina, and try to keep education a number one priority. I, for one, would much rather our Governor and federal representatives be spending their time ascertaining “shovel-ready” projects for South Carolina. The reality is that new businesses are not springing up.  In fact, businesses, health care providers, schools, and local governments are all cutting back.  We need to do everything possible to put our people to work.  Now is the time for us to start doing the right thing for the hard working people of South Carolina.  Aren’t there still a few “Georges” in the world?

Jane Ballard Dyer

Editor's note: Jane Ballard Dyer was the Democratic Candidate for US Congress from the 3rd Congressional District


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