Government

Republican Mark Sanford warns of recession worse than 2008

Former governor, congressman to decide soon on Trump challenge

Mark Sanford, a former South Carolina governor and congressman, warned Thursday of an economic downturn that could be worse than the Great Recession during taping of Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” in Johnston. Sanford, a Republican, is considering challenging President Donald Trump for the GOP presidential nomination. (James Q. Lynch/The Gazette)
Mark Sanford, a former South Carolina governor and congressman, warned Thursday of an economic downturn that could be worse than the Great Recession during taping of Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” in Johnston. Sanford, a Republican, is considering challenging President Donald Trump for the GOP presidential nomination. (James Q. Lynch/The Gazette)

JOHNSTON — Worse than the Great Recession. Worse than the Great Depression.

That’s the economic forecast from potential 2020 Republican presidential hopeful Mark Sanford.

“We’re headed for worse than that,” the former South Carolina governor and congressman responded when asked about the possibility of a recession.

Typically, recession is driven by inventory imbalances, Sanford said Thursday during taping of an “Iowa Press” program that will air the weekend of Sept. 6 on Iowa Public Television.

“This is going to be the most significant financial storms we have seen, I would argue, since the Great Depression. I would argue that it would be greater than what we saw in 2008,” Sanford said. “It is going to diminish and destroy people’s dreams and hopes going forward if we don’t get ahead of this curve.”

Sanford, 59, was governor from 2003 to 2011. He served two stints in the U.S. House — from 1995 to 2001 and again from 2013 to 2019.

He lost a 2018 GOP primary after President Donald Trump endorsed his opponent and criticized him as “very unhelpful” and “nothing but trouble.”

Sanford, who has said he hopes to make a decision about challenging Trump around Labor Day, criticized the president on nearly every front from trade and tariffs to the federal budget to climate change.

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If Sanford seeks the GOP nomination, he will be a long shot. A Rasmussen Report poll released Aug. 29 found that 92 percent of Republicans say it’s likely Trump will be their party’s nominee and 81 percent say it’s very likely.

While Sanford agrees with the president in challenging China, Sanford said the United States should be working with its allies and trading partners in response to China’s trade policies. He would use the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an alliance of about a dozen nations, to “create a trading bloc that allows these countries some other option than simply China.”

The 50-year embargo on trade with Cuba has done little more than ensure the Castro brothers’ grip on power there, Sanford said.

“Unilateral sanctions don’t work. Unilateral embargoes do work, and unilateral tariffs don’t work,” he said. “I think you have to work collectively with other countries, which is what TPP was all about.”

Sanford would address the national debt and deficit with a “penny plan” that would cut all federal spending by one penny on the dollar.

When campaigning, Trump promised to eliminate the debt in eight years.

“Instead, we’ve seen numbers spiral,” Sanford said. He pointed out the most recent debt deal Trump signed is $2 trillion of additional debt and one-third of a trillion dollars of new spending. “He’s taken us in the opposite direction.”

He called that a “systemic threat to our civilization and our way of life and the dreams, hopes and possibilities for our kids.”

The first step toward dealing with the threat of climate change is to acknowledge it, Sanford said.

“I think that it’s real. I’ve seen its effects on the family farm I grew up on,” he said. “This thing is happening faster than we think.”

Republicans need to believe the science, he said, but are unfortunately in denial.

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“You can’t say ‘I believe in science when I go to the hospital ... but I don’t believe in science over here,’ ” Sanford said. “I believe in science across the board.”

“Iowa Press” airs at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and noon Sundays on IPTV, at 8:30 a.m. Saturdays on IPTV World, and online at IPTV.org.

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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