NIKKI HALEY'S SHORT MEMORY
She had no problem taking federal money as a governor
Former South Carolina governor and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley says that states shouldn't be asked to be "bailed out" from the COVID-19 crisis by the federal government. Instead, they should "tighten up, make some cuts and manage," Haley said in a tweet last week.
The tweet reflects the latest GOP talking point in a growing debate over state shortfalls during the coronavirus crisis. Also last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected calls from Democrats to give those struggling states, many of them blue, tens of billions of dollars in emergency pandemic relief legislation. Said McConnell: "There's not going to be any desire on the Republican side to bail out state pensions by borrowing money from future generations."
That's rich, coming from the senator of a state, Kentucky, that takes $148 billion more out of the federal pot than it takes in, as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo noted.
That's especially rich for Haley, who as South Carolina's governor had no hesitation about federal aid when her state's rainy day came in the form of flooding after storms in 2015. Not to mention that like Kentucky, South Carolina under Haley collected more federal money than most states.
It's far from unusual for public officials, both Democratic and Republican, to have short memories regarding previous positions and actions (see gerrymandering, minority party, everywhere). But it's hypocritical for leaders like McConnell to tell cash-short states to buck up while bailing out industries that are experiencing a similar COVID-19 cratering — or helping out other cash-strapped pensions.
As for Haley, who knows exactly what it's like when the state you govern faces a crisis out of your control? It's galling. It's baldly political. And in the midst of a crisis like no other, it's distasteful.
FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER