Nancy Mace’s Tourism Jobs Don’t Pay Very Well

Ahead of her impending entry into the race for South Carolina’s first congressional district against Democrat Joe Cunningham, GOP frontrunner Nancy Mace is declaring her independence from U.S. president Donald Trump – while simultaneously burnishing her environmental credentials.

Smart politics? Absolutely … on both fronts.

Mace is a former “First in the South” Trump staffer, so being able to identify some divergent ground that will set her apart from the lightning rod administration helps her in a district where more moderate Republicans are likely to hold sway.

It remains to be seen, though, whether Mace is helping the cause she is using as part of her political positioning.

The second-term state representative penned a piece in USA Today this week touting her opposition to offshore drilling, an issue upon which she staked herself out very publicly a long time ago. Specifically, Mace cited her vote earlier this year in support of a one-year ban on offshore drilling infrastructure in the Palmetto State.

(Click to view)

(Via: S.C. House)

“The vote was an easy one because oil drilling is so unpopular among coastal South Carolina mayors,” Mace (above) wrote. “The coastal tourism industry in South Carolina supports more than 60,000 workers who take home over $1 billion in wages a year, according to a 2015 study.”

Wait … a billion dollars in wages? Spread across more than 60,000 workers?

Is that good? No … it is not.

Some quick back-of-the-napkin division reveals an average annual income of $16,667 associated with those numbers. Considering there were 251 working days (and 2008 working hours) in 2015, we are talking about an average hourly income of only $8.30.

Just above minimum wage, in other words …



Mace cited a study (.pdf) prepared by the Middlebury Institute’s Center for the Blue Economy on behalf of the Southern Environmental Law Center. The latter group apparently needed a report to refute the findings of a previous study highlighting the positive economic impact of offshore drilling, research that eco-radicals said “failed to place oil and gas activity in the context of the larger ocean economy.”

In other words, the study Mace cited was trying to make the “ocean economy” wage number as high as possible.

Yeah … oops.

Our view? Again, as noted at the outset we don’t believe this exchange hurts Mace – especially considering this week’s discussion will be dominated by coverage of her forthcoming congressional announcement. If anything, it’s probably another effective national hit for her on an issue that plays exceedingly well within the first congressional district.

Our question, though, is whether the numbers Mace is citing as a justification for her opposition to offshore drilling are convincing.

In other words, in helping herself is she hurting her issue?



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