There’s been a miniature scandal in South Carolina that reaches over to the United Kingdom and back.
South Carolina, like so many other states, loves to waste taxpayer money on “tourism advertising.” Rather than recognizing that individual businesses (and business coalitions) can more effectively advertise than the state can, the state every year spends more than a million dollars on ads in various tourist venues promoting the state’s various attractions.
One of those venues was London’s Gay Pride Festival. Gay and lesbian tourists are one of the biggest market niches for tourism, and some bureaucrat in SC’s tourism ad department apparently decided to get some return on taxpayers’ dollars (to the extent that getting tourism for tax cash is “a return”).
The person — fully allowed to contract on behalf of the State of South Carolina — contracted with an advertising firm called AMRO to run a $5,000 campaign during the height of London Pride, advertising South Carolina’s beaches and plantation houses as “so gay.”
Unfortunately for that bureaucrat, SC’s Republican right-wing governor discovered the spending, ex-post-facto, and demanded his resignation. His outrage over “taxpayers” being “angry” over “how money was being spent” only applied to the $5,000 gay ad campaign however — not to the millions being wasted elsewhere. The governor announced that the state would not pay the debt it incurred as a party to the contract — despite AMRO incurring the requisite expenses and running the advertising as agreed.
Meanwhile, poor AMRO ended up with a deadbeat client. The governor announced that, despite a contract being signed and AMRO delivering on its commitment by designing the advertising copy and running it in high-profile places throughout London, the state would never, ever pay.
If you ever needed evidence of what crooks run government today, here you’ve got it. Contracts can be broken by the benefiting party based on nothing more than manufactured outrage.
Not to mention that, if you or I were to walk out of a $5,000 contract, we’d face ruined credit, big lawsuits, an inability to borrow for years, higher interest rates, and punitive damages. Government, however, can steal twice — once from your assets to pay for such advertising, and again from the providers of the advertising when it decides conveniently not to pay for the campaign. And it enjoys “sovereign immunity,” ensuring that the state will remain forever a deadbeat with no relief for the creditor, ever.
But another party has stepped in to make light of this situation… and it wasn’t a per-se libertarian group.
Gay group South Carolina Pride has taken to mocking both the state’s ridiculous spending and its deadbeat status. It is running an ad campaign contest of its own to mock the SC advertising effort, as well as raising money to pay back the $5,000 bill that the state government racked up yet refuses to pay. That’s downright libertarian!