Congratulations, we're losing (again)

More great news about the Palmetto State:

South Carolina came in near the bottom in the latest state-by-state economic competitiveness matchup, with the researchers citing high crime, poor infrastructure, high unemployment rates and dismal educational and human resource offerings as their reasons for ranking the state 42nd on the list of 50.

The seventh annual State Competitiveness Report 2007, released in late December by The Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University in Boston, ranks states in terms of their competitiveness based on a number of specific criteria. Those criteria include government and fiscal policies, infrastructure, education, human services, technology and business incubation.

South Carolina’s position has dropped steadily in the report during the past three years, ranking 29th in 2005 and 37th in 2006.

While the state Department of Commerce is eager to pat itself on the back about bringing more jobs than ever to South Carolina (which is fair), nobody wants to talk about the fact that we're losing about as many jobs.

South Carolina isn't an economic development engine, it's an economic development turnstile - which is great if you have low skills and don't mind a short-term job with poor or few benefits, but lousy if you want to provide a stable livelihood for your family. Not to mention lousy if we want to have communities which are stable, healthy, and crime-free:

The human resources category was largely responsible for dragging down South Carolina’s ranking this time around. The report noted poor high school graduation rates, higher numbers of uninsured residents, higher rates of infant mortality and unemployment compared to other states. The state was 47th in this category.

Who do we blame for this ongoing economic and cultural sinkhole?

  • The politicians who think you can "buy" jobs with a combination of low-skilled/low-wage labor (which is subsidized via subsidized housing, food stamps, and Medicaid), tax breaks and taxpayer-funded incentives,

  • Community leaders in those areas most-affected by the factors which are contributing to this problem for not using their bully pulpits to convince people to stay in school, stop dealing drugs and committing crimes, and for once, take some responsibility for themselves and their community,

  • Most importantly ... US. These sad statistics aren't about people from Georgia or North Carolina. They're about South Carolinians, who seem to only be able at exceeding the national average at doing things wrong, bad, and stupid.

The reality is that a state where far too many people seem to accept that it's ok to drop out of our schools, get involved in drugs and crime, have kids at 16, and pride themselves more for their garishly-decorated cars and clothes than their education or careers, we're going to be shunned. To be honest, we deserve to be.

As a 10th grade dropout who was a parent at 18, I've helped contribute to these depressing statistics. But as someone who will be receiving my Master's degree in May, I've worked hard to better myself and set a higher standard for others to follow.

If I can work this hard to pull myself up, so can others. If we want a better South Carolina, it's time we find the cojones to admit we ARE the problem, and for once, start doing something to really change the predicament that we're in.

Otherwise, we're not the victims of this situation - we're volunteers.

1 Response to "Congratulations, we're losing (again)"

  1. lake marion moye 18/1/08 11:26
    we can all say it starts at home. look at the number of kids at home with just a mother or grandmother. then look at how many parents want the schools to raise their kids. look at he teachers union who is powerful ask karen floyd. we give money to education and all it is for is to please the teachers it is all about the paycheck and not the students. of course there are some that care but mostly it is the money. make the schools a business a private enterprise and you will see changes.

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