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Golf Course Privatization Hits Prime Time

Leonard Gilroy
May 21, 2009, 1:52pm

Following up on my post last week, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford appeared on Fox's Glenn Beck show Tuesday to discuss the prospects of a California bailout, and the subject of golf course privatization came up, offering some comedic relief:

BECK: How would you — how do you respond — how do you feel about the federal government coming in and basically saying, "You know what, forget about your governor, forget about your governor"? I mean, here, you tried to — you had to actually go and veto things like newly created "Capital Police Force" aimed at protecting entrances to the legislators' garage, a provision that prevents exploring privatization of state-owned golf course parks that lose $500,000 — why do you have state-owned golf courses in the first place?

(LAUGHTER)

BECK: I mean, what do you — what do you...

SANFORD: Amen to that. That's why we're trying to say — we're trying to say we ought to privatize them. I mean, in other words, if there's anything that South Carolina private sector has shown a great capacity for, it's running golf courses.

You go to Myrtle Beach, you go to Hilton Head, you go to the — all kinds of corners of South Carolina, this is something the private sector can do well. It's not something the government needs to do. But there's actually a proviso in the budget that prevents us from even exploring the option of privatizing golf courses.

And so, yes, there are a lot of zany things in the budget. But the really, really zany thing is the federal government stepping in with a massive amount of new money that prevents us from making some hard choices that are necessary to us becoming competitive over the long run.

The most telling piece of that exchange was the laughter. The notion that there is a public interest in low green fees is indeed humorous, as I explained here and here.

Read the whole interview transcript here, which also includes Ben "Bueller" Stein.


Leonard Gilroy is Director of Government Reform


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