Thursday, October 17, 2013

Congresswoman Noem Sold Us Out

     Really, it's hard for me to accept the fact that South Dakota Congresswoman Kristi Noem abandoned any commitment to the economic well-being of her constituents by voting no on the House resolution that passed last night, October 16, which keeps the United States Treasury solvent for a few months and re-opens the U.S. Government itself, also for a couple of months.  It's probably impossible to come up with the full negative economic impact of the recent shutdown on western South Dakota's tourism economy and its rollover effects into the general economy, but a good picture will emerge when sales tax revenues from the Black Hills and Badlands region are posted, generally a couple of months from now.  Some of my peers in the lodging industry are circulating numbers that show drops of anywhere from 30% to 50% for the shutdown period itself, with smaller but still noticeable losses for the few days immediately preceding the shutdown.  In her pursuit of a much larger, if chimerical, agenda of undoing the U.S. government's duly passed and Constitutionally-sanctioned healthcare reform law, Congresswoman Noem is apparently willing to inflict some serious economic pain on her fellow South Dakotans, a notion that I find abhorrent, considering her constituents' best interests should be the main priority in her work as our representative. 
     By going this route, Noem and her fellow naysayers seem to have given up using the power of intelligent and passionate persuasion to convince the country that the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) should be tossed aside, and instead are using the gimmicks associated with legislative manuevering to starve it of funding.  That serious economic damage (nationally, to the tune of $24 billion during the 16-day shutdown, per Standard & Poor's) and a possible global economic catastrophe are the upshots of this strategy seem to be irrelevant  to  Noem and her political allies in Congress. Writing as a former Chicago-based bond and options trader (I was a member of the Chicago Board Options Exchange from the late '70s to the early '90s) with some insight into how the global economic superstructure is interconnected, I'd have to say this approach, if successful, would be a pyrrhic victory at best.  De-funding Obamacare by selling out the nation's economy doesn't really make a whole lot of sense to me, and I wonder if Congresswoman Noem has the intellect and education to see how that particular set of dots connect. 
    That she apparently lacks compassion for the plight of everyday South Dakotans who've experienced some shrinkage in their paychecks thanks to the shutdown Noem and her cohorts engineered and were willing to extend into the uncharted waters of U.S. Treasury default is a given.  That the Congresswoman hasn't come up with a cogent explanation as to why economic suffering among her constituents justifies her politically quixotic aim of undoing Obamacare is a mystery.  I get her fixation on the big picture.  What I don't get is her disregard for the little one--that landscape consisting of the working folks in South Dakota who've just paid a serious price for Noem's intransigence. 


  1. Whatever happened to intelligent Republicans? It seems like the Republican Party has been taken over by a combination of the ultra religious who want to control everybody else's lives and people who seem only interested in their own interests and those of their close friends and financial supporters....forgetting everybody else who lives in their state. The narrow, insular path vs. the broad and generous one. There were always political fights...but somehow there was compromise. Not any more.

  2. Glad to see you here, Barry. I know you by reputation and your public comments and have long been an admirer. The GOP is having a collective identity crisis which it may not survive. It pits the commonsensical pragmatists against the hardcore ideologues. The former appreciate that ultimate policy decisions are reached by a means that at least broadly conforms to democratic processes. The latter (including Noem, as we just saw) are willing to vote for a conclusion that would lead to anarchy. For this I will never forgive them.