This editorial appeared in The Myrtle Beach Sun.
The laid-off workers of South Carolina, who now number more than 200,000, are waiting for someone to lead them out of the thicket of pointless recrimination that has ensnared the bankrupt S.C. unemployment-benefits fund. Sorry, folks. Help is not on the way.
That's right. Gov. Mark Sanford still refuses to borrow more money for workers' benefits until the S.C. Employment Security Commission gives a full account of its long-term money-handling but lacks statutory control of the agency. His only leverage is the requirement that a given state's governor be the one to apply for federal loans to pay unemployment benefits.
Meanwhile, the legislatively appointed three-member commission, seats on which are a six-figure-salary sinecure for former legislators with the "right" connections, continues to stonewall Sanford. No surprise there, as the commission has next to no structural oversight.
Sure, the commission reports periodically to generally indifferent legislative committees. But for the most part, the agency is just sort of out there in the ether above Columbia.
The office of the S.C. comptroller general audits the agency annually. As the S.C. Associated Press reported over the weekend, those audits have noted a steady decline in the unemployment-fund balance since 2000 – a decline that accelerated in 2004 to the point where only $148,000 remained in the fund at the end of last year.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Myrtle Beach Sun.