Talk about laying it on--South Dakota's lone U.S. Congressional rep, Republican Kristi Noem, smeared it on with gusto in this morning's Rapid City Journal, telling us in its title that she's "Bringing Home the Farm Bill." Wow. Thanks, Kristi. Could we be more excited?
Hardly. In this poster-piece for disingenuousness, Congresswoman Noem says she is "frustrated with the speed of the process but we're making progress." I can think of a lot of words to describe the legislative progress of the farm bill, which should have been finalized and in place two years ago, but "speed" isn't one of them. "Impeded" comes immediately to mind, as it depicts both the glacially-paced movement of the legislation and the lack of political and economic acuity of those who've been holding up the process in the first place.
Among the latter group of legislators is our own Congresswoman Noem. She
has allied with the extremists comprising the suicide-squad of the
Republican party, aka "tea partiers" who are the handmaidens of
ultra-conservative non-think tanks like the Club for Slow Growth, the
Heritage of the 18th Century Foundation, and The Catotonic Institute. These are the same intellectual whirlwinds who possessed Noem and her political allies to shut down the U.S. government last October and nearly cause its financial collapse by refusing to raise the debt ceiling a few days later. Noem blithely went along with this anarcho-ideological crusade without considering the direct consequences on the economy of her home state, where the tourism industry went instantly moribund with the closure of Mt. Rushmore and other national parks. That ranchers who lost much of their livelihoods during a massive blizzard during that period and had no federal agencies available to assist them must merely have been an oversight for Noem, who professes her concern for passage of a farm bill "that will impact every South Dakotan's life," as she did this morning in the RCJ.
That Noem's two-year long commitment to cutting $40 billion out of the Food Stamp component of the farm bill is the main reason the legislation has been stuck in neutral isn't mentioned in her piece this morning. As with Noem's poorly thought out decision to put the U.S. government and South Dakota's economy on hold last October, I wonder if Noem and her advisors understand that the "multiplier effect" of food stamps (resulting in nearly $2 of economic effect for ever $1 spent on food stamps, per Moody's: http://frac.org/initiatives/american-recovery-and-reinvestment-act/snapfood-stamps-provide-real-stimulus/) has a direct effect on an industry "that will impact every South Dakotan's life." Food is what we produce here in South Dakota. The more money that gets spent on food in this country, the more it helps our farmers and ranchers. Get it? Honestly, I doubt that Congresswoman Noem has been able to make that connection, so enamored is she of the right wing propagandists who insist that non-stop across-the-board budget cutting is the rosy path to budgetary and fiscal enlightenment.
So, glad as I am that a farm bill seems to be coming together, I really wish that Congresswoman Noem wouldn't pull the wool (probably produced by the sheepgrowers around Newell) over our eyes. This is happening in spite of, not because of, Kristi Noem's efforts. Happily, some signs of sanity are emerging among the Republicans who comprise the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. A two year budget compromise just happened and it looks like this farm bill is close to being done. We can only hope that by some politically osmotic process it has been dawning on Congresswoman Noem that she's in Washington to represent and fight for the best interests of her constituents, not use them as guinea pigs in right wing economic experiments that have never produced positive outcomes.