With South Carolina battling it’s ‘seventh most impoverished state in the nation’ status and unemployment at 11.1 % (in Aug 2011), Mitt Romney’s new video, Mitt on the Road: The Low Country, South Carolina, has a timely message:
As president, on Day One, I will focus on rebuilding America’s economy. Let future generations look back on us and say, they rose to the occasion, they embraced their duty, and they led our nation to safety and to greatness.
ajc.com/Metro Atlanta State News
Poverty defies ‘New South’ promises in S. Carolina
By Margaret Newkirk and Frank Bass
Oct 16, 2011
SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Nineteen years ago, when BMW announced a new factory off I-85 just outside of Spartanburg, South Carolina looked like the king of smokestack recruiting.
The world’s biggest manufacturer of luxury vehicles would make the city a “Mecca of foreign investment in the United States,” The Independent of London predicted. It would see a rush of industry chasing Munich-based BMW. Downtown would spring to life. I-85 would be America’s Autobahn.
“Oh, they were going to solve all of our problems,” said Cynthia Lounds, director of community economic development at Piedmont Community Actions Inc., a social service agency.
Today, South Carolina is one of the most impoverished states in the nation, climbing to seventh poorest in 2010 from 11th in 2007, according to recent Census data. Its percentage of residents living in poverty shot to 18.2 percent from 15 percent in that period.
In downtown Spartanburg, near-empty Morgan Square features a used clothing store and two pawn shops.
South Carolina and other Southern states topped the nation’s poverty rankings, a sign of trouble in the so-called New South, known for its growth and ability to lure employers with laws restricting union organizing. The South was the country’s only region with an increase from 2009 to 2010 in both the number of poor and their proportion of the population, the census said.Its rising poverty rate coincides with a dispute over the Obama administration’s stance toward expansion of a Boeing plant in North Charles-ton. The National Labor Relations Board sued Boeing over its decision to locate a 4,000-job facility there, saying the move was illegal retaliation against unions at its manufacturing base in Washington state.
South Carolina on Jan. 21 will play a key role as host to the first Southern primary in the race to select President Barack Obama’s Republican challenger.
“It’s like the Obama administration can’t come up with anything else to stifle business growth in this state,” said Lewis Gossett, president of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance.
Like much of the Southeast, South Carolina lost construction employment during the recession. Its textile industry continued to bleed jobs as well: Union County, about 20 miles from Spartanburg, had the state’s fourth-highest unemployment rate after a sock factory and a mill closed in 2009 and 2010. The county also lost a 150-job Disney distribution warehouse it had lured from Memphis 12 years earlier with tax breaks. Disney moved the operation back to Tennessee in July.
(emphasis added )
Romney recently delivered a major foreign policy speech at the Citadel in Charleston and toured the SC Boeing plant. In September, The Gov participated in Senator Jim DeMint’s Palmetto Freedom Forum. Last spring, he met with South Carolinian small business owners and during the summer, Ann Romney was in The Palmetto State campaigning for Mitt.
► Jayde Wyatt