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Johnson Discusses “Dusty’s Dozen”, Says No Farm Bill This Year

U.S. House candidate Dusty Johnson is visiting Aberdeen today. He started the day campaigning at the Airport Café.

Dusty Johnson, GOP US House candidate, speaks to customers at the Airport Café, Aberdeen, SD, 2018.04.25.
Working the cafe crowd

The Mitchell Republican sat down to talk about “Dusty’s Dozen,” a list of policy proposals that he labels “12 Ways to Improve America.” In introducing this policy brief, Johnson said he gets questions about abortion, guns, and border security all the time, and he emphasized his conservative bona fides on those hot-button issues. But he said those issues “don’t need this platform.” He thus spent the hour talking about more practical, granular policies and listening to what his small table audience had to say about them.

Dusty Johnson listens to voter ideas, Aberdeen, SD, 2018.04.25.

1. Term Limits: “Congress shouldn’t be a career. Twelve-year term limits should be imposed on the U.S. House. To implement this policy will require an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

Johnson says term limits will change the psychology of Representatives for the better. If a Congressperson knows that he or she won’t be hanging around Congress for no more than twelve years, that Congressperson may not feel the same pressure to accommodate special interests.

Johnson acknowledged that term limits take away voting rights. He said he opposed term limits until about five years ago, when he decided that the structural advantages of incumbency are just too great. Johnson contends that term limits have benefited the South Dakota Legislature by bringing in new blood and will produce similar benefits in Congress.

Johnson said he would not push for term limits for the U.S. Senate. He said the Founding Fathers wanted the Senate to be a different body from the House. (Besides, in all of South Dakota history, no one but Karl Mundt has ever won more than three terms in the Senate.)

Tim Bjorkman, the Democratic candidate for U.S. House, also favors term limits. Bjorkman has signed a pledge supporting an amendment to limit Representatives to three terms and Senators to two.

2. Balanced Budgets: “A $20 trillion debt is not sustainable. We have borrowed from our grandchildren without their permission. The Constitution should be amended to require, after a phase-in, balanced federal budgets.”

Johnson acknowledges that balancing the federal budget and sticking with it would require hard decisions. He says we won’t balance the budget strictly by cutting discretionary spending. Another good Republican at the table acknowledged that South Dakota gets a lot of federal funds. Johnson has not defined his phase-in period, but he says a transition to balanced budgets would take at least six years. That really hard transition will be complicated by Policy #5 below.

3. Work Requirements: “Work provides dignity, powers out economy, offers opportunity, and stabilizes families. People who can work, should work. We can improve the lives of able-bodied welfare recipients by requiring on-going work or training.”

4. Drug Testing: “Our nation is in the midst of a profound drug epidemic. States should have greater flexibility to drug test welfare recipients. This will allow us to hold users accountable and to provide them the treatment needed to get their lives back on track.

These two policies, along with Policy #6, appeal to the conservative base. Johnson insists he’s not trying to punish people; he nodded to his own working-class upbringing and assistance his family received to show his sympathy for folks who need help. But as he helps, Johnson keeps one eye on the goal of getting folks back on their feet so they don’t need any more help.

Asked about House Republicans’ rejection of drug testing for SNAP in the current Farm Bill draft, Johnson said he has looked into the example of Florida’s seemingly cost-ineffective welfare drug-testing program, which House Republicans cited to justify not pursuing drug testing for SNAP. Johnson says those results don’t reflect the unknown deterrence effect. Johnson looks beyond the immediate cost/benefit analysis of whether the drug tests pay for themselves with savings from benefits withheld from drug users. He maintains that drug tests are worth the cost if they get parents to stop doing drugs, because those parents will then treat their kids better and be able to get off public assistance sooner.

Johnson does note that his push for “greater flexibility” means giving states like California the freedom to do even more liberal things. Johnson says that being a federalist (and he puts “federalism” at the top of his issues page) doesn’t mean allowing states to do only the things he likes; it means giving them the freedom to do things he might not like.

5. Retirement Age: “When Social Security was founded, the life expectancy for an American male was 64 years old. We will honor commitments to those who currently receive (or will soon receive) Social Security and Medicare, but eligibility for young people should be adjusted.”

Johnson said Social Security was intended to take care of people who outlived their savings. He does not advocate privatization. He also seems to oppose letting workers lock their contributions up in private investments, an idea mentioned by one voter, since current dollars pay for current benefits. Johnson said he opposes means testing and lifting the maximum Social Security-taxable earnings (currently $128,400) to extend solvency of the program; however, he acknowledged that those two policies are items he could hold his nose and vote for to achieve his goal of a higher retirement age.

Johnson compared his pragmatism to the bipartisan deal struck by Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill in 1983 to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67. (That plan started creeping up the retirement age after 2002. We’re nearing the end of an eleven-year hiatus that is keeping the retirement age at 66. After 2020, the retirement age will again creep up two months each year until it hits 67 in 2027.)

6. No More Welfare Soda: “Most Americans are willing to finance our food stamp program because they want the nutritional needs of poor children met, but the most common item purchased with food stamps is soda pop. We need to better target our nutritional assistance.”

No one at the table said “Nanny State.” But I wonder: if we’re going to start excluding food and drink from SNAP eligibility based on nutritional value, must we also exclude cookies (chocolate chip, but not oatmeal raisin)? potato chips (but not Sun Chips)? hot dogs (but not veggie dogs)?

Congress has discussed such limitations beyond pop, but the USDA said in 2007 that health-based restrictions on food stamp purchases get messy:

It is not a simple task to draw a bright line between foods that contribute to a healthy diet and those that do not. Common sense suggests avoiding foods that are low in nutrients but high in some combination of calories, fats, added sugars, and salt. In practice, however, drawing the distinction between healthy and unhealthy foods is far more difficult.

Are “healthy” foods characterized by the absence of nutrients to be avoided, the presence of desirable nutrients, or a combination of both? The choice here is not straightforward. Diet sodas, for example, may pass a test based only on the absence of undesirable nutrients: they have no fat or sugars, are low in calories, and contain little sodium. Based on these criteria alone, they would appear preferable to orange juice. Similarly, some brands of potato chips have less sodium per serving than some popular brands of breakfast cereal. Characterizing foods based on the presence of desirable nutrients can be similarly problematic. Doughnuts are not often a source of desirable nutrients, but at least one manufacturer offers a “SuperDonut” fortified with protein, vitamins, and minerals – along with significant calories, fat, and added sugars. Finally, if both characteristics are important, one needs to determine the point at which the benefit of desirable nutrients outweighs the presence of nutrients to be avoided or consumed in moderation. Some fortified breakfast cereals, for example, contain relatively high levels of added vitamins and minerals, but are also high in added sugars and sodium. (See Appendix A for more examples). The question then becomes which foods should be permitted, and which should not? [USDA Food and Nutrition Service, “Implications of Restricting the Use of Food Stamp Benefits,” March 1, 2007]

Johnson said more than once that he’s an evidence-based policymaker. He’ll want to review that 2007 USDA paper, which says there is no evidence that SNAP product restrictions can make recipients eat healthier food. He’ll also want to consider whether his proposed pop-stop bears any significant compared to the main health benefit of SNAP: filling hungry kids’ bellies.

7. Reform IHS: “Indian Health Service is an embarrassment. We should work with tribes to explore other delivery mechanisms, along with reforms that provide greater flexibility to tribal members, medical providers, and tribal governments.”

The Cheyenne River, Oglala, and Rosebud Sioux Tribes are asking to take over IHS’s troubled Sioux San Hospital in Rapid City under a 638 contract authorized by the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act. Johnson finds that plan to let tribes take more ownership of their healthcare “intriguing”; however, he notes that funding for IHS would likely be exempt from his healthcare block grant program (see Policy #11 below) due to our treaty obligations to the tribes.

8. Ethanol Market Access: “Rules that slow the deployment of E15 and higher blends should be eliminated. For example, the Reid Vapor pressure (RVP) provisions allowing the sale of E10 should be extended to higher blends, which have a more favorable RVP profile than E10 does.”

Johnson tried to stick to his limited-government appeal on this tricky issue. He doesn’t propose new subsidies (though he didn’t talk about getting rid of any corn-y subsidies, either). Here he simply says that he’d like to “get government out of the way” to allow richer ethanol blends, which he says produce less smog than E10.

9. Farm Bill: “The Farm Bill is set up for reauthorization this year, but if Congress doesn’t finish on time, we’ll need a representative who will continue to work to increase CRP acres, feature a new shorter-term CRP-like program, and improve eligibility for an availability of livestock programs.”

Wait a minute—Dusty’s not a farm kid. Does he really want to be on the Agriculture Committee?

Yes. Johnson says that he intends to seek a seat on House Agriculture and will be “very comfortable” in that position. Johnson says we need a broader view of agriculture, since a majority of South Dakotans and Americans who work in agriculture don’t actually own and operate farms. Johnson reminds us that he worked for USDA right out of college, but he says his work on the Public Utilities Commission supports the work USDA and House Ag has to do on rural broadband and electricity. USDA also deals with rural lending and economic development. Johnson claims all of those items in his policy wheelhouse. (You know, I don’t recall seeing Dusty in a fresh pair of Carhartts, but his broad approach to rural issues might make him a better House Ag member than our current Congresswoman was.)

Dusty Johnson's notes, Aberdeen, SD, 2018.04.25.
Lots of those notes were there before Dusty started speaking. He added more as voters spoke. He’d take lots of notes at House Ag Committee meetings.

By the way, Johnson reminds us that John Thune wasn’t a farm kid, either, and he’s hunky-dory on Senate Ag.

Besides, House Ag will be where all the action is in 2019, since Johnson predicts we’re not getting a Farm Bill this year. Congress, says Johnson, “is done doing big things in 2018″… which is funny, since I didn’t even notice Congress had started doing big things this year.

10. Forest Management: “Healthy forests are those that are actively managed and that allow logging. Too often federal rules and procedures get in the way of common sense management practices. Those rules and practices should be eliminated.”

Johnson does like the easing of logging regulations in the current House draft of the Farm Bill and will work to preserve that “streamlining” in the Farm Bill he’ll get passed in 2019. The Southern Environmental Law Center says those forestry provisions “would allow logging on wide swaths of national forests without applying the usual legal protections.” The Wilderness Society calls them “potentially disastrous.”

11. State Healthcare Block Grants: “Real innovation is more likely to come at the state level. Each state has different values, and they should explore healthcare solutions that fit those values. Let’s provide the 50 ‘laboratories of democracy’ unprecedented flexibility to design ways to address healthcare.”

Johnson is focusing on evidence-based approaches to controlling costs for the states. As noted above, Johnson says block grants wouldn’t grab money from IHS, nor would it affect VA funding, since that represents a federal commitment to veterans for their service. But Medicaid—watch out. Don’t forget, as we mentioned when Senator Thune visited Aberdeen a year ago, block grants mean millions lose access to Medicaid. As with TANF, whose 1996 reform Johnson cited as his model, turning Medicaid into block grants means needs go unmet or costs shift to other payers. Reduced spending could also produce the opposite effect of Medicaid expansion: less economic activity and fewer health care jobs.

12. Federal Drug Courts: “Drug courts are a proven and cost-effective way to hold offenders accountable, save money, and get people clean. More than 80% of graduates from South Dakota’s drug courts do not reoffend. We should increase the use of specialty courts within the federal judiciary.”

Johnson here finds the intersection of fiscal conservatism and criminal justice rehab-liberalism. He said “lock ’em up” just doesn’t work with drug users. Prison doesn’t encourage users to get clean. Dealing with drug users in drug court and providing intensive, community-level supervision holds offenders accountable and gets them off the dope, which means we won’t be paying their barred room and board in the future.

Johnson spoke affectingly off his first tour of the women’s prison in Pierre, where he was disturbed to visit the little house out back with its brightly decorated rooms where little kids stay while they visit their imprisoned moms. Johnson said that jarring sight vividly reminded him that incarceration doesn’t just take a drug user out of the workforce; it tears that user from her family and the other community members who could help her kick her habit.

Johnson noted that most drug users are prosecuted in state court, so adding federal drug courts might not affect as large a number of addicts as state-level reforms. However, he noted that federal drug courts could have a big impact in Indian Country, where arrested users are under federal jurisdiction.

*     *     *

Only six of us—three journalists, three regular citizens (and one of those was a local party official, so I’ll let y’all debate whether that counts as “regular”)—showed up to hear “Dusty’s Dozen.” His policy positions may not be as exciting as “reality TV” (which he mentioned in passing derision at the top of his remarks this morning), but they are worth more people’s attention and debate. Johnson said his policies don’t fit on bumper stickers, but issuing and discussing such policy statements are “an excellent way to govern.”

*     *     *

The last GOP Congressional candidate to visit with me face to face in Aberdeen, Neal Tapio, opened our interaction by asking if I was “planning any disruptive activities” before launching into his own paranoid and racist screed. Today Johnson said nothing racist or paranoid. Dusty didn’t sound afraid of anything, certainly not of me. He shook my hand and introduced me to his father-in-law/driver as a “notorious” lefty blogger. He also welcomed me at his table and answered my questions just like everyone else’s.


  1. owen reitzel 2018-04-25 20:21

    It’s sad that 2 of Dusty’s Dozen has to do with welfare and food stamps. Welfare deals with the almost the smallest part of the budget.
    What about the Defense budget? No mention of that.
    My question for Dusty is will anybody who gets government aid be required to take a drug test? Where are all the jobs that pay a wage to keep people off of welfare?

    How about Medicare for all Dusty?
    Dusty pretty hit all dog whistle topics for Republicans. The one item he left out, to my surprise, was the 2nd Amendment

  2. Porter Lansing 2018-04-25 20:38

    Such a naïve young fellow.
    – Cut the military budget by 40%. Stop these wasteful live war games we end up in far too often. (e.g. The Iraq War, which was really just a way to give the Army some live training. Before Iraq less than 10% of our military had ever been in live combat so we started a war just to fix that.) Cut the unnecessary and excessive military budget!! When was the last time USA fought against an enemy that even had an Air Force, let alone a tenth of our capability?
    ~ Start a National Health Insurance option for anyone who wants to buy a policy.
    Doing these two things will make the rest of the twelve doable in short order, stop the runaway spending and allow growth to make a difference.

  3. Roger Cornelius 2018-04-25 20:57

    You don’t exactly see lighting bolts with Dusty’s Dozen, do you?
    Owen is right, why has Dusty declared war on South Dakota poor people with his drug tests and SNAP requirements.
    Dusty is just like Trump, beat up on the most vulnerable of society for political gain and get giant tax for yourself as an reward.
    Term limits makes for lively talk, but Dusty can’t make it happen. Term limits for federal office are already established, it is called an election.
    Dusty is just that, dry as dust.

  4. Donald Pay 2018-04-25 21:01

    Most of these are quite disappointing. First, these are mainly just warmed over Republican talking points that have been out there for 30-40 years. There’s nothing that shows original thinking, which is something I would have expected from Dusty.

    I can agree with some of them, but they are hardly earth shattering ideas. Balanced budgets in times of recession is cuckoo. You need stimulus from government then, but right now it is completely ridiculous to be exploding deficits. Thank Republicans for that. If you want to control deficits, elect Democrats. Otherwise, Dusty would be wise to flesh out this plan with something that makes economic sense.

    I’ve always been in favor of term limits. I’d make them four terms for House and two terms for Senate.

    Work or training is important. Everyone benefits from people having jobs. However, when you tie jobs to drug prohibition you end up just sabotaging the good that work does. I have had clients who are great workers, but they smoked pot on weekends. One guy was a gang member from Chicago who got out of the gang life, only to be beaten badly by his former gang. He had a brain injury, but is the hardest worker and politest person you would ever meet. And he comes up with great raps on the spot. But he likes a little pot on the weekends. He never would go to work stoned. Before I helped him find his jobs, he would get high every other day. My experience is that work, over time, cures or lessens the drug issue, as it did with him.

    Leave the retirement age alone, or move it back down to 65. Sure, the life expectancy of high income folks is going up, but lower income folks are dying off at earlier ages. The entitled rich (the Koch’s are behind this idea) just want more slaves to kill off, so they can steal the SS money. There is nothing that says you have to retire at 66 now. You can work until you die, which one of our friends did. She retired at 66 on a Friday, and died on the next Monday. There you go, Dusty. The Republican plan for everything: just die early. Some people do hard labor, and their bodies wears out. I have a number of friends who are working to age 70. You can work as long as you want now.

    Republicans have demonstrated absolutely no interest in balanced budgets when they are in power. Reagan, Bush, Bush and Trump all exploded the debt. Clinton and Obama shrunk they deficits. Really, if these are meant to improve America, some of them go in the opposite direction.

    I figured the soda pop thing out when I was a poor student in the early 1970s. It was cheaper than milk or coffee. It wasn’t cheaper than tea or water, though, but sometimes you have to splurge. There are more creative to solve this issue. How about giving people bonus money when they buy Dusty-approved items? Congress could provide added benefits if recipients purchase nutritional foods and eschew junk food.

    Here’s the deal on Medicaid. States don’t have to be in the program. They can do whatever they want if they simply refuse the federal money. Start paying your own way and you don’t need federal Medicaid money or block grants. You can do all the supposed “evidenced-based programs” you want on your own dime. But we know corruption happens when South Dakota gets handed a wad of money without adequate strings from the feds. The 1996 TANF changes were piloted in Wisconsin with lots of federal oversight. It was a carefully designed program that then went nationwide. There’s a whole book written on that program, and it’s not what block grants do.

    The Forest stuff is wackoo. Clearly, he knows nothing about forest managment.

  5. grudznick 2018-04-25 21:09

    Mr. Dusty seems like an intense young fellow with a sharp mind. I would like him to debate Mr. H on the issues but Mr. H chooses not to run for the bigger office, possibly because of that Wieczorek fellow now getting in and really clouding the picture. The Larouchers tend to cloud pictures, and it is now cloudy. Plus, I expect Mr. Novstrup, the elder, is a softer target than Mr. Dusty.

    I am as big a fan of the pretty young Ms. Noem as there is out there, but Mr. Dusty’s intensity seems to be winning people over. At breakfast today people talked about him, and about Mr. Gideon who is running for a seat like Mr. H is, but in these parts.

  6. grudznick 2018-04-25 22:34

    I read Mr. Dusty’s points again, trying to keep pink Libbie glasses in front of my mind. I think that making everybody do drug tests and have jobs is still the way to go. Everybody under 65 must have jobs to get gravy train dole, and everybody on the dole must take drug tests and publish them in the local newspaper.

  7. Jason 2018-04-25 22:55

    Cory said:

    racist screed.

    Please show the racism?

  8. jerry 2018-04-26 03:22

    Jason, my boy, you’re out of your league. Explaining President Obama and the deficits he inherited can easily be done by simply remembering or in this case, reading. Here ya go sonny,

    “Republicans use a sound bite that the federal debt doubled under Obama. In looking at the numbers that is close to being numerically correct but falls short of being 100%. However when you take into account the Great Recession, making W. Bush’s temporary tax cuts permanent, increased Social Security and Medicare spending as more Baby Boomers retire and become 65 years old and the Afghanistan and Iraq wars he inherited the story is quite different.”

    Forbes takes us down memory lane even further when you think of the “wars that would pay for themselves” Only a damn fool republican would think that.

    “The first thing you notice when looking at the federal deficits from fiscal 2007 (the U.S. government fiscal year ends in September) is that it increased by almost $1 trillion from fiscal 2008 (two months before Obama was elected and four months before he was sworn in) to fiscal 2009. It remained over $1 trillion per year for four years and got below Bush’s last years deficit in fiscal 2015. It continued to decrease until Obama’s last year and has increased in Trump’s first year in office.

    Fiscal 2007: $161 billion (next to last year of Bush’s second term)
    Fiscal 2008: $459 billion (beginning impact from the Great Recession)
    Fiscal 2009: $1.4 trillion (Obama’s first year and in the teeth of the Recession)
    Fiscal 2010: $1.3 trillion
    Fiscal 2011: $1.3 trillion
    Fiscal 2012: $1.1 trillion
    Fiscal 2013: $680 billion
    Fiscal 2014: $485 billion
    Fiscal 2015: $438 billion
    Fiscal 2016: $587 billion
    Fiscal 2017: $666 billion (Trump’s first year of his Presidency)”

    There is no end in sight… until if falls once more and a Democrat puts it back together again for another charlatan like trump/Putin/Russian republican congress.

    “President Obama’s debt actually grew at a slower annual rate than any of the Republican presidents even though there were events that negatively impacted the deficit that started before he became President. The Great Recession is probably the biggest of them as can be seen in the yearly deficit numbers. While all politicians use data to support their positions, the sound bite that the debt doubled under Obama is very misleading.”

  9. T 2018-04-26 04:51

    Drug test for everyone Then it is and no soda for the welfare users
    But I noticed he left out farmers and ranchers who collect a Check or two once in awhile .,,will it be cutting out new pickups for us farmers and ranchers after we get our checks?
    What is all this silliness going to cost?
    Not superficial comparisons to other states who may or may not have easier, feasible access to testing exact cost per test how much does it cost to take out soda from the current list?
    Has there been any studies done tax dollars wasted on sodas ? Compared to other ill choices aid recipients have spent their checks?

    Call me old fashioned but I’d like to see a more progressive use of my tax dollars

  10. jerry 2018-04-26 05:39

    T is partially correct. Do urine tests on everyone, regardless of who or for whom the bell tolls.

    “To check your general health, everyone should have a urinalysis as a child and then periodically as an adult. Some doctors use urinalysis as part of a routine medical exam to screen for early signs of disease, including chronic kidney disease. If you already know you have diabetes, or chronic kidney disease, a urinalysis will be used to monitor you. If a urinary tract infection is suspected, a urine test may show blood or bacteria in the urine.

    What exactly could they find in urine? Often, substances such as protein or glucose (sugar) will begin to appear in the urine before patients are aware that they may have a problem. Persistent protein in the urine (two positive tests for protein over several weeks) is one of the earliest signs of chronic kidney disease. A large amount of glucose in the urine is a sign of potential diabetes. Urine tests can be used to diagnose urinary tract infections, if bacteria or white blood cells are found.”

    That $27.00 per test, would be money well spent to not only detect drugs (maybe), but to also promote general health. The Federal government should pay that bill because each and every one of us gets some kind of assistance from each and every year. There, T, we fixed it.

  11. jerry 2018-04-26 06:49

    Dusty and the Grifters now want a balanced budget. Right. This comes after the republican/Russian tax scam that has failed miserably for everyone but the banks.

    “The white working-class voters in the industrial Midwest who helped put Mr. Trump in the White House are now seeing the extra cash from the tax cut, the president’s signature domestic policy achievement and the foundation for Republican election hopes in November.

    But the result has hardly been a windfall, economically or politically. Other workers described their increase as enough for a week’s worth of gas or a couple of gallons of milk, with an additional $40 in a paycheck every two weeks on the high side to $2 a week on the low. Few are complaining, but the working class here is not feeling flush with newfound wealth.” In other words, the workers know they got stiffed and they know that the banks and Wall Street got their future 401’s…again. It all fits the same pattern that Dusty and the Grifters want to continue. Long past time to move on from the failure of the republican long con.

  12. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-04-26 07:22

    Grudz, I agree: a debate between Dusty Johnson on TV would the smartest, most intense political discussion you’ve ever seen on TV.

  13. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-04-26 07:23

    Porter, the absence of any discussion of military spending is a glaring omission from Johnson’s budget balancing.

  14. Jason 2018-04-26 07:24

    The main job of the USA Government is National defense. That’s where most of the money should be spent.

  15. mike from iowa 2018-04-26 07:34

    Let’s go one step further than drug tests. Let us allow the doctors to ask about guns in the patient’s home and see how fast the stoopid wingnut koyote kerfluffle sets up a howl.

    Guns alone are a recipe for danger. Imagine mixing in drugs, too. I trust I have made my personal feelings about Russia/NRA well known here.

  16. T 2018-04-26 07:40

    Spot on. But I was being facetious
    On the his entire ordeal or campaign. Bullet. Ag, I’ll write it here and have said it to friends faces, we r the biggest hypocrites demanding the single mom
    Explanation of her spending and quality of
    Life while
    No one monitors our welfare, because that’s really what it is, is welfare (payments/subsidies/programs) for farmers. (Not saying farmers are on Medicaid , I’m saying the programs we choose to participate in are welfare) Test one test all and c how many votes that will get you lol

  17. T 2018-04-26 07:41

    Fat fingers + iPhone typing=bad grammar and errors. Sorry

  18. mike from iowa 2018-04-26 07:46

    Here’s a poser, Dusty-

    Wingnuts, without a single Dem vote, gave billionaires billions in taxcuts and want to pay for it by tripling rent for the poorest receiving federal housing assistance and make more people eligible for work requirements- just not korporate welfare receivers.

    If there really was a god you would never be able to effectively explain away today’s phony kristian wingnut party.

  19. mike from iowa 2018-04-26 08:39

    11. State Healthcare Block Grants: “Real innovation is more likely to come at the state level.

    South Dakota wingnuts have excelled in finding innovative ways to siphon block grant monies to other wingnuts. Their block grant strategerie closely resembles “trickle down” economics that run out of money at the top so none ever gets trickled down.

    Man, everyone from the cut-off up sure make out like bandits due to total lack of meaningful oversight, which appears to be a naughty word in wingnut lexicon.

  20. Loren 2018-04-26 10:10

    Health care block grants? Perhaps we could hire Joop to run the program. He does have prior experience with state funds! ;-)

  21. mike from iowa 2018-04-26 10:48

    Join the crowd, T. I prefer to blame my keyboard for stuff.

  22. Patricia Shiery 2018-04-26 14:17

    Drug Testing Welfare recipients. Of all the states that have enacted drug testing, all but one have a rate at or below 1% of positive drug tests. Dusty believes that drug testing welfare recipients will convince parents to stop doing drugs? That’s a very naïve stance to take. Drug testing is not going to convince parents to get off drugs, it’s an addiction problem not a simple fix by removing parents from welfare. Health care costs related to opioid abuse in South Dakota reached $27,820,116 in 2017. States that have drug tested welfare recipients have spent 1.3 million dollars to identify 300 drug users. Drug use is a wellness problem that needs to be addressed. The consequences of drug testing welfare recipients will be put on the backs of children. There is an increasing stigma around both welfare and drug use. Not all drug users are low income persons.
    So instead of the mentality of drug testing welfare recipients to determine eligibility for benefits, how about having a proactive approach and use it instead to identify those individuals that need treatment to overcome substance abuse. Using the money for drug testing to actually help instead of punish a child because their parent or parents have a substance abuse problem.

  23. jerry 2018-04-26 16:40

    I forgot to add, Dusty also comes up with a “Balanced Budget” thingy that republicans love to toss out after their tax scam. We must have large deficits to support our currency standing in the world. Be careful there Dusty one, China is already cooking deals with Russia and Angola over using the Yuan instead of the dollar for oil. Remember how the dollar took over the Pound Sterling as world currency? Check out the how and why and then stop with that balanced budget nonsense, it is untrue and tiring. Think of it this way, The UK may have been part of the winners circle as a result of World War I, but in the end, the Pound Sterling and London, lost the currency war. Empires rise and fall, I am hoping not to see this one keep sinking under silly statements like Dusty makes.

  24. Patricia Shiery 2018-04-26 16:52

    Jerry……Empires rise and fall….isn’t that the Destructive Creationism Theory??

  25. Robin 2018-04-26 17:26

    Jerry ,
    You all are mixing up debt and deficit which Politicians use to deliberately keep you in a state of confusion about what is really owed- It’s the robbing Peter to pay Paul so they say they didn’t really spend outrageous amounts of money. Basically they create a new debt to lower the deficit but in the end the money is still owed. So while Obama’s deficit may look low, some those deficits were actually transferred to adebt to make him look like an upstanding guy- actually they all do it.
    Your accounting is off for – 2009 belongs to Bush since it was set in 2008, and 2017 belongs to Obama since it was set in 2016.
    There’s a difference between the deficit and the debt by president. That’s because all presidents can employ a sleight of hand to reduce the appearance of the deficit.
    There are 3 ways to measure :The first, and most common, method is to subtract the debt level when he took office from the debt level when he left. The second, and more accurate, method is to add together his projected budget deficits.

    The third method is the fairest but also the most complicated. It’s to add only the deficits created by the president’s specific initiatives.
    Method one
    Method two which you used, The deficits from all these budgets total $6.786 trillion. But, like most presidents, Obama’s contribution to the debt was higher. There’s a difference between the deficit and the debt by president. All presidents can employ a sleight of hand to reduce the appearance of the deficit. They can borrow from federal retirement funds. For example, the Social Security Trust Fund has run a surplus since 1987. That’s because there were more working people contributing via payroll taxes than retired people withdrawing benefits.

    The Fund invests its surplus in U.S. Treasury notes. The president can reduce the deficit by spending these funds instead of issuing new Treasurys. As a result, Obama added $8.588 trillion to the debt.

    Method three :
    The fairest method is to measure the debt incurred by Obama’s specific policies. The Congressional Budget Office does this for every program. The CBO found that Obama’s largest contribution to the debt was the Obama tax cuts, which were an extension of the Bush tax cuts.

    They added $858 billion to the debt in 2011 and 2012.

    The next largest was the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It added $787 billion between 2009 and 2012. It cut taxes, extended unemployment benefits, and funded job-creating public works projects. Like the tax cuts, the ARRA stimulated the economy after the 2008 financial crisis

    Obama increased military spending to around $800 billion a year. In fact, his security budget request of $895 billion in FY 2011 set a new record. In FY 2013, he requested $851 billion. That happened even though he withdrew troops from Iraq in 2012 and eliminated the threat from Osama bin Laden in 2011. Obama spent $857 billion in contingency funds during his administration. That was more than the $850 billion Bush devoted to the War on Terror.

    What about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act? It didn’t add anything to the debt in Obama’s first term. Most of Obamacare’s costs began in 2014 when the health insurance exchanges opened. It also extended coverage to more low-income people that year. But Obamacare’s tax increases offset its costs to the tune of $104 billion between 2010 and 2019.

    Congress and Obama also negotiated the sequestration budget cuts. That cut the deficit by a small percent. When all these are added up, Obama’s debt contribution was $983 billion between 2009 and 2017.

  26. Lori Stacey 2018-04-26 19:09

    Wow! Dusty should actually read the Constitution and realize it’s principles at least.

    Most of his positions are totally unconstitutional!!! His positions scream just another airhead disastrous waste of representation that thinks he’s heading to Washington. We should hopefully have a superb candidate getting into race soon. Boy, do we all need it!

  27. grudznick 2018-04-26 20:04

    Mr. H, if you were running with the rest of the giant unruly mob for Congress, and they got you and Mr. Dusty AND Ms. Krebs on a stage on the TVs, well golly…that would be one high-intensity, arm-waving, speed-talking, high-strung debate indeed.

    And if we could get Ms. Hubbel to be the moderator, what fun!

  28. P. is Me 2018-04-26 20:23


  29. jerry 2018-04-27 03:26

    Robin, it is acknowledged in my post that President Obama increased the debt and deficit through no sleight of hand, it actually shows. As I indicated, the article quoted came from Forbes, whose writers are in the business of reporting financial history.

    Your numbers are your numbers, show some links where they come from to back up your claims. I am particularly interested in the $8.588 TRILLION to the debt through the Social Security Fund.

  30. Robin 2018-04-27 10:35

    Obama wasn’t a disaster but he wasn’t anything great either. You neglect to mention in that Bush had to deal with 2 recessions.
    This conversation about my tribe created less debt than your tribe is ridiculous since each succeeding President is going to have to spend more and create more debt. So hopefully you both see the stupidity in saying my tribe is better than your tribe .
    Also a balanced budget is absolutely an impossibility at this point because we have gone too far down the rabbit hole.

    The conversation that we should be having as individuals and as a nation is Capitalism – Yes so far it is the best ( though it looks like it could be running second to it’s successor – but it’s too soon to tell yet) . It is easy to talk about the good things that it brings us, but we will not talk about, and try to remove or at least reduce the flaws that are running us into recession and an unsustainable debt/deficit, these things are built into Capitalism and they need to be talked about rather than which moral less person caused the least damage because it will just get bigger with each succeeding President . Ok there are some who are so lacking in morals like Reagan and Trump that take us into a bigger debt faster , but even if they didn’t do what the did their debt would still be bigger, just not as big as they made it.
    Talk about who made the debt bigger is like a man talking about the junk in his trunk- pointless

    As for your Forbes it used one database and even said there are other ways to compare it but absolutely did not give you those data bases to compare how the numbers look because yeah it’s a for profit consumption magazine and it didn’t want to lose a single blue reader nor make it’s red members upset either.
    Here is the source for the numbers which makes no profit .
    By the way I do not belong to any political persuasion of any color.

  31. mike from iowa 2018-04-27 11:35

    Ms Robin, I heartily disagree with your contention Obama wasn’t great. Anyone who can bring out the rabid right wing racists in Congress is beyond great.

    Dumbass dubya had a compliant congress for six years, Obama had a bunch of traitors and racists blocking him for most of six years.

    Dumbass dubya’s recession(s) were mild. He also had the benefit of a warm economy and a budget surplus. Obama was handed the worst economy in nearly a 100 years thanks to taxcuts and unpaid for wars and a prescription drug plan with no mechanism to pay for it.

    If you paid attention when Obama was elected you’d have heard McCTurtle and other wingnut leaders say they were going to block Obama’s agenda and make him a one term potus.

    In the overall scheme of American Presidents Obama rates as a Saint.

  32. jerry 2018-04-27 13:23

    Great link, here is who they are, a non profit Would you believe it? I found another one
    These organizations are non profit but they still have to generate a profit to keep the doors open. I do not argue the facts that both do great work, but they also need to sell their products.

    So now that we have that out of the way, lets talk about that “balanced budget” thingy after yet another huge tax scam which you note in your post about President Bush’s work in that regard to lead us down that recession road that President Obama inherited.

    I could not find this nugget you posted though, ”

    The Fund invests its surplus in U.S. Treasury notes. The president can reduce the deficit by spending these funds instead of issuing new Treasurys. As a result, Obama added $8.588 trillion to the debt” Where did you come up with this?

  33. Robin 2018-04-27 13:24

    You are trying to suck me down the personality rabbit hole- You are talking personalities and not realities of the Economic system that we live under. Not only are you trying to drag me into a personality lose-lose battle but you are using fake reality TV to do it.
    As for the personality rabbit hole that is so inherent to SD culture:
    Reality fake drama to make characters bigger than life , we are seeing so much of it by both parties. Bread and Circuses for entertainment. The more outrageous the personality, the more investment your emotional brain clings to the outcome.

    Republicans worked far more with Obama than against him.
    Most likely you got your bill information from some for profit media source which announced simply that Republicans voted against some bill and didn’t tell you which one of any number of amendments it was that could have been logically objectionable as the reason for the vote against it.

    You did know that any single bill can have from 1-300 amendments attached to them that even I found reasonable kill enough a bill on from time to time. It’s the information that you don’t bother with that makes discussions using critical thinking in the US so hard to come by.

    A saint how would that be ? based on economic policy or identity personality ? You have to have some facts to back up your claim.

  34. jerry 2018-04-27 13:45

    Poor you, show me where you pulled this from, certainly not a rabbit hole.

    “The Fund invests its surplus in U.S. Treasury notes. The president can reduce the deficit by spending these funds instead of issuing new Treasurys. As a result, Obama added $8.588 trillion to the debt”

  35. jerry 2018-04-27 14:00

    To show how Republicans worked with President Obama, here is a couple of stellar fellers and how it was done for who knows how long. The time for republicans to claim national security is long gone. We need Democrats to bring this country back to sanity.

    “The meeting with Kislyak took place about a week before Flynn traveled to Moscow to speak at the Kremlin RT news organization’s annual gala. Flynn sat next to Vladimir Putin at the dinner and was paid by RT to attend the event.

    Flynn’s December 2015 meeting with Kislyak also came after he met with President Donald Trump for the first time, but Flynn did not formally join the campaign until 2016.” Wow, amazing!

  36. mike from iowa 2018-04-27 15:08

    No, Robin, the onus is on you to prove wingnuts worked with Obama more than they blocked him. Let’s see your facts.

    Obama is squeaky clean, morally and ethically compared to the walking life sentence that now disgraces 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

  37. Robin 2018-04-27 17:17

    Keep stalling the debate – You and Jerry keep referring to personalities rather than substance- You are worried about the messenger over the message.
    How the heck are you going to win a debate with someone pushing a balanced budget when you can’t explain why we had one and why we can’t get back to one ?
    Onus on me Lol ! yeah no – You have an entire team trying to push you Dems into a real political power- You are ignoring the nudge and keep running to identity politics – 15 years and counting.

  38. mike from iowa 2018-04-27 18:02

    Is that your answer to how wingnuts helped Obama? I am sorely disappointed, though not surprised.

  39. jerry 2018-04-28 04:32

    Good grief trumper Robin, you drift like the snow on a dry December day, only to melt away in the insignificance of a few drops of moisture . You come up with nonsense and then blame us for pointing it out. I still wait for your meltdown on the $8.588 TRILLION!!!

    Here is your quote from the debate you have lost. I think at this point you make it clear that you and Jason should be sittin in a tree. ““The Fund invests its surplus in U.S. Treasury notes. The president can reduce the deficit by spending these funds instead of issuing new Treasurys. As a result, Obama added $8.588 trillion to the debt”

  40. jerry 2018-04-28 04:58

    The Duster’s list is really incomplete. There is no mention of the traitorous actions of Comrade NOem and her compadres to sell out America to Putin and the Russians. If elected, will he bring charges of contempt on NOem and the others that subverted democracy? The House of Representatives of Russia, NOem’s joint, declared that there was no collusion with Russia just before the Russian lady attorney/spy that met with the trump campaign in trump tower disclosed that she was, in fact, a Russian operative that worked directly for Putin. Lies and more lies are what makes this republican party a complete house of the Politburo.

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