by William Moultrie
Columbia – Newly inaugurated Governor Nikki Haley wasted little time taking action to turn around South Carolina’s economy, with her first act of economic stimulus being to increase salaries of her personal staff.
“It’s simple economics,” said Haley, “and I should know because I’m an accountant. When I pay my chief of staff (Tim Pearson) $27,000 more than his predecessor (Scott English) made then that’s $27,000 more that Tim has to pump into the local economy. That money is going to reach the people in South Carolina who need it, whether they’re working at the gas station, a jewelry store, or even taking tickets at the movie theater.”
“It’s a brilliant plan,” said Clemson economics professor Russ Crowe. “The state can’t raise salaries for people in private companies, but by increasing the amount of money this select group of employees has to spend, you are able to spread that impact around the community.”
“For example,” Crowe continued, “when her communications deputy makes an extra $50,000 or so over his predecessor, the people he does business with might make an extra couple hundred dollars or so over a year, and the people they do business with might make an extra three or four dollars. It branches out exponentially with each level, so that eventually there are thousands of South Carolinians with some extra change in their pockets, and for that, they should thank Governor Haley.”
David Stockman, Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Reagan and considered to be the “father” of trickle-down economics, offered some encouraging words.
“I’m on the record opposing these new ‘trickle down’ gimicks like the Bush tax cuts,” said Stockman, “but I think Haley may be on to something. This is what we were trying to do in the 1980s — put a lot more money in a few people’s hands and then let gravity take over.”
Ironically, Haley is now the third highest-paid staffer in the governor’s office, as her salary is set by law.
“It’s too bad the statehouse limits my salary,” said Haley, ” thereby restricting my ability to personally stimulate the economy by having more money to spend, but we’ve only just begun here. Maybe we can fix that.”