Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Could Trump Be Any Worse For South Dakota?

     South Dakotans, who went 2-to-1 for Trump last November in an outburst of euphoric infatuation, will soon be sobering up as they consider what the Trump administration's budget
Buyer's Remorse,  Anyone?
has in store for rural states like ours.  
We rank 4th among states in terms of how much of our state's revenues come from the federal government (at $1.6 billion, about 40% overall, amounting to nearly $2 thousand apiece in 2013, the latest year I could find). Trump's cuts in programs directed at South Dakota are a fine how-do-you-do to one of his politically friendliest states.  He's already shown serious disdain for South Dakota's economic interests, considering Trump's hostility toward international trade deals that have been a boon for our farmers and ranchers during the past few decades.  South Dakota's ag economy has much at stake in the world's markets for grain and livestock as Trump's new and severely constricted trading relationships evolve in coming years.  Major farm groups are already reacting with "shock and dismay" toward the possibilities in reports from ag information giant DTN. The recent fall of commodity prices will probably extend farther into the future if our NAFTA trading partners, Mexico in particular, turn to other sources for their grain imports should Trump's threats to dismantle that agreement play out.  

     As if that "drop dead" attitude toward our state's largest industry isn't enough to compel serious concern, the Trump administration's proposed budget looks to be a real kick in the rear end to South Dakotans.  If you're cheering the possibility of severe cutbacks in most areas of federal spending in order to raise extra money for the Defense Department, you should know that much more than our ag sector will be affected by Trump-o-nomics.  The budget cuts for rural programs overseen by the Department of Agriculture are more than mere snips.  In some cases (rural water and waste disposal, direct loans for single family housing are examples) the funding disappears altogether, amounting to amputation.  In others the cuts are merely severe: rural utilities will lose billions, rural business owners tens of millions.  Trump, who "loves the poorly educated"  will continue on his quest to expand that element of his base by zeroing out programs that fund community learning centers, literacy development, and other educational opportunity grants. 
     I suppose that some devoted guns-over-butter Trumpistas are willing to trade these programs in on another aircraft carrier or two, but for most of us rural denizens a bit of consideration seems to be in order at this point.  Our generally kowtowing Congressional reps are likely to feel some heat over their champion Trump's priorities, which is why the phrase "dead on arrival" is frequently applied to Trump's budget as it moves toward Congress for consideration.   Worthy outcome as that would be, there's a much more practical aftereffect, disclosing as it does the indifference that the Trump administration has for the impact of his rhetoric on the day to day lives of millions of rural Americans.  


  1. So true, John (unfortunately)! Thanks for posting!

  2. Meanwhile, re infrastructure policy, "Mr. Trump would rely on a combination of private industry, state and city tax money, and borrowed cash to finance the rest."
    Obvious question: what about places like, say, South Dakota, which has no state or city income taxes, very little private industry, and whose sales and property taxes barely support what we have? What about our bridges, roads, etc.? Sounds like a lot of bridges and roads are NOT going to be repaired or built here. For a long, long time. Yep. We're screwed.

  3. If Private corporations get involved in infrastructure, that means toll roads. So 5 bucks to drive to Sturgis from RC and 5 bucks to come back home.

  4. If you are looking for sympathy from any of our national legislators, remember the only one that did not enthusiastically support Trump was, Senator Thune. THe other two are probably standing on the sideline cheering on the new President, because he is doing their agenda.

    But let me ask you, did our lone Representative in DC, get tossed out when she refused to pass a budget and thus left the farmers and ranchers without the protection of the Federal Government, when that included not passing a farm bill, at the time of the 2013 blizzard?

    Also SD voters gave President Trump 61% of the vote in SD and 7 counties gave over 80% of their votes. I would like to see a poll that would show what percentage of voters who are complaining about the President, watched his reality TV show?

    1. Thune may not be "enthusiastic," but he certainly has had no trouble supporting Trump's unqualified appointments and policies. He likes being powerful and is either reluctant to endanger his position in the Senate by opposing Mr. Trump, or he agrees with Mr. Trump's policies. I'm disgusted with our representation in Washington.

  5. The aggies in this state who voted for him deserve what comes their way. Unfortunately, the rest of us will have to bear the 'brunt of Trump' as well. All because a bunch of people who crow about how smart they are, turned out to be so stupid.

  6. Be careful what you vote for. You might get it. SD voted for less government. Now we'll see what that means for our pocketbooks, our infrastructure, and our ability to grow.

  7. Trump and Kristi Noem are neck and neck in that race.

  8. Looking at the House passed health care bill, I have to ask how Kristi could in good (or any) conscience vote for it. It had so many strikes against it, she should have stood on principle and stood up for the people she represents. What does that tell you about her character? What kind of governor would she be?

    The items in that bill and Trump's budget proposal consists of everything that the ultra-right could only dream of, before the election. Exposing the dreams to reality isn't easy to do.

    This morning, it was reported that Mr. Trump thinks that putting solar panels on his Mexican wall will help pay for it. It's hard to believe the extent we've dumbed down the Presidency. SAD!

  9. John - your article is excellent. Your criticisms are done with surgical precision and supported by clear, rational analyses. Although those of us walking around with our eyes open may feel good about "I told you so", we have to figure out how to change what's happening.

  10. It's not Trump's budget. Trump has no plans and no clue. He could be replaced by a rubber stamp when it comes to legislation, the budget is all the GOP's own work, not Trump's.

    He's good at signing executive orders though, and taking the advice of "small government" fanatics who want to see everything but the Department of Defence melt away.

    Meanwhile SD voters don't realise that as a state, as with all rural states, they're a bunch of Welfare Queens, dependent on rural programs paid for by non-rural taxpayers. That's not to say such subsidies aren't necessary, but voters don't realise they are the ones who in the past have been getting other people's tax money. For very good reasons, infrastructure costs more in rural areas, these subsidies are needed for a healthy rural sector.

    But when rural voters vote en masse to eliminate subsidies,they think it's others, moochers and scroungers, who are getting their tax money. They don't realise it's they themselves who are, not moochers, but recipients of subsidies necessary in a rural context.

    Saying "as you sew so shall you reap" and engaging in schadenfreude as those intent on hurting others end up hurting themselves is *not* *helpful*. There's too much of that in the DNC at the moment. Can't really blame them though, had SD voters kept themselves even moderately well informed, they'd know this. Some would rather suffer though if it meant others they dislike and despise would suffer worse.