Since 2003, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has turned the state into a petri dish for what hard-core conservatism —slashed taxes, shrunken government, cut regulations—would look like. With a Republican-controlled legislature, he's had pretty much free rein to enact the basic policies conservatives argue would make an economy thrive. If conservatives are right, South Carolina and its residents should be weathering the recession better than most.
But they are not. They are doing worse.
"In South Carolina, we're falling off a cliff," said Donna DeWitt, the president of the South Carolina AFL-CIO and co-chair of the South Carolina Progressive Network.