The stimulus bill that President Obama sent sailing through Congress at the beginning of the year had one catch. The money was sent to the states to spend on different projects, but the governors of those states had to accept the money (and the conditions that came along with it) in order to get any of the pie.
Some of the Republican governors resisted some of the money because of the strings attached or what it would do to the future budgets. Of these governors, Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) rejected the most.
You see, part of the problem with the stimulus money is that it creates programs—programs that it funds federally for two years and then closes the spigot. Knowing how hard it is to reverse a government program, and that the states would then have to find somewhere in their already strapped budgets to fund these new programs is what caused these governors to balk.
The legislature of the state passed a budget with the stimulus money factored in, but Gov. Sanford refused to sign the paperwork. The legislature took him to court, where he was forced by the State Supreme Court to sign the papers to take the money.
For Gov. Sanford, this is a mixed decision. On the one hand, he stuck to his guns and should things go bad (like he believes they will) it cannot be laid at his account. However, it would be bittersweet—because he tried all that he could to prevent it from happening. In the meantime, it’s effected his standing with the people of his state—for his leadership has been rejected by both the legislature and the court.
On the one hand, this is a great case for trumpeting the system of checks and balances, but the other part of me wonders “if freedom is going to be restrained, was the court right in its decision?”