Republicans like Drew Dennert and Kaleb Weis are running for Legislature on, among other things, their promise to find more money for all of our underfunded public services by cutting waste from state government.
Dennert said he believes in the need to look at the state budget and cut wasteful spending. He noted Secretary of State Shantel Krebs and her ability to identify budget cuts, and said that should be possible in other departments and agencies [Elisa Sand, “Finding Money for Education Community Service Providers Is the Challenge for House Candidates,” Aberdeen American News, 2018.10.27].
This assertion from young Republicans like Dennert and Weis seems to miss one important point. If there is waste in South Dakota state government, it exists because the people in state government are spending wastefully. Those people are the appointees, patronees, employees, and campaign donors placed there by forty years of Republican Governors and other mostly Republican agency heads and funded fully by forty years of Republican Legislatures.
Rep. Dennert’s example of Secretary of State Shantel Krebs’s successful budget-cutting illustrates this point. Republican Secretary Krebs was able to find waste in our chief election office largely because her Republican predecessor Jason Gant suffered from incompetence and slackadaisicality of Ravnsborgian proportions.
I like Drew, and I’m happy to go hunting with him for waste, fraud, and abuse in government. But we can’t ignore the logical conclusion of his call to that hunt: if South Dakota state government has waste, the wasters are Republicans. The surest way to get rid of that waste is to hire new management—i.e., Democrats.