Press "Enter" to skip to content

People Who Rely on Big Government Shouldn’t Campaign Against Big Government

Pat Powers is rightly unhappy with the House State Affairs’ rejection of House Bill 1236, which would require Sanford and Avera to quit being jerks and restore coverage of autism treatment to its insurance plans. Covering that highly effective treatment is simply the right thing to do, but the big money health care lobby doesn’t want to do it.

But hey, Denny Sanford builds us cathedrals of sport, so quit your complaining, right?

More seriously, while I find Powers’s complaint entirely valid and join him in calling for the Legislature to reconsider Democratic Representative Ryan Cwach’s HB 1236, I do have to point out the Powers is reaping what he sows. Powers, who makes public the fact that his daughter has autism and benefits immensely from government assistance, makes opposition to government mandates and government spending a core message of his public writing. Yet he confesses that he depends on taxpayers to expend enormous amounts on meeting his daughter’s needs:

As a parent of a child with Autism, my daughter is a bit of a tougher case. She requires a specialized program in her school environment right now, due to the severity of her disability under the laws which mandate that she’s provided a free and appropriate public education. She’ll probably always require the community supports that people with a disability are entitled to under state and federal law.

For a school district, depending on the level of their disability, kids with Autism can be some of the most challenging and expensive students that they work with. I know, as my daughter is one of them.

As a student, my daughter costs the Brookings School District somewhere in the neighborhood of $10,000-12,000 a month. And that’s every month, year-round, as her disability requires summer services. For one student, she’s over $100,000 a year. And she’s not the only student in the Brookings School District with Autism, as her program has other kids who attend.

And that’s just ONE school district [Pat Powers, “House State Affairs Rejects Bill to Extend Coverage for Treatment of Autism…,” Dakota War College, 2019.02.21].

I agree with Powers that we taxpayers should support his daughter, and other children with special needs, and all children with the services that universal public education provides and that the private sector and charity could never affordably replicate.

But Powers makes it harder for us to work toward that shared goal when he spends most of his public energy promoting the Grover Norquistian rhetoric that government is bad and should be kept small enough to drown in a bathtub.


  1. Jason 2019-02-22 07:33

    Big or Small Government has nothing to do with Autism.

    Let’s start with the premise that Government spending on children with special needs is OK and Government spending on adults who are lazy or made bad choices is not OK.

  2. o 2019-02-22 08:38

    I have a better idea, let’s NOT start with Jason’s ridiculous premise.

    The right does not get to pick and choose who has the moral worth to receive government aid; there is absolute, intrinsic value people have that the right hypocritically ignores or applies when it suits them. If this were a discussion of other “welfare” issues (or groups), Jason et. al. would the the first to argue that “these people should pull themselves up by their bootstraps” or “they are not his responsibility.”

    Unless Jason will recognize “special needs” may also include (but not be limited to) poverty, minority status, citizenship status, then his politics again negates his moral stance.

  3. jerry 2019-02-22 08:40

    I don’t know Mr. Powers and am thankful for that, but he does bring up something that I have personally seen. I have seen in this same disconnect regarding the ACA/Obamacare in that many people whose very treatments have now become available to either them or a family member, hate the program that does them the most good. I know of folks that without the ACA would be in dire straits, but did campaign work for Dirty Johnson, knowing full well that he would vote to kill the very thing that keeps them alive. Indoctrination is a funny thing, as you can read from his post.

  4. jerry 2019-02-22 08:49

    And…from the farmers..:

    “China purchased $12 billion in soybeans the previous year, which is the estimated size of the payout farmers will get when this is finished. For this year, anyway. Expenses for grain and soybean farmers are skyrocketing as grain silos are at capacity and the companies that own them have spiked storage fees because of the rising demand.

    Iowa is being hit particularly hard as everything from corn to pork is taking a hit. Experts say Iowa will lose between $1 billion and $2 billion in the next year. In fact, U.S. farms are going bankrupt at alarming rates.

    Nevertheless, these rural voters continue to support Donald Trump, despite dabbling in that dreaded socialism to keep their farms afloat. How long is this sustainable?” As long stupid continues, stupid will survive. Life is funny like that.

  5. Rorschach 2019-02-22 09:02

    Hey Jerry, Iowa farmers keep supporting Donald Trump and Steve King even though Trump and King demagogue against undocumented workers. Those same Iowa farmers knowingly rely on thousands of falsely documented workers from south of the border to staff their feedlots. Trump himself relies on undocumented workers to staff his resorts and golf facilities.

    We should either make criminals of the employers who employ the undocumented, or we should acknowledge the truth of the matter – that those workers are needed here – and give them documentation and legal legitimacy.

  6. Rorschach 2019-02-22 09:09

    It is unfortunate that Powers and many like him can only see the value of government programs that they personally benefit from and condemn all programs that others benefit from. Both Powers and his wife have also spent years living off of government paychecks providing services that benefit society.

  7. marvin kammerer 2019-02-22 10:28

    powers with his long time support of the republican party has enabled sen.thume & our congressional crowd continue to draw their government paychecks while overlooking the operations of our mega-hog & dairy farms with a blind eye .they call it tending to business.

  8. Porter Lansing 2019-02-22 13:12

    As of June 8, 2017, 46 states and the District of Columbia have laws that require insurance coverage of autism services. South Dakota had weak requirements but they did exist. Sanford and Avera want SD to continue to be one of only five states that put insurance profits over a child with a birth defect. AND, House State Affairs agrees.

  9. Donald Pay 2019-02-22 15:40

    Sometimes I wonder who is autistic, the autistic child, Republicans or the insurance industry. I just have hope that at some point some of this will sink into their thick skulls, and by that I mean Republicans and the insurance industry. Powers points out that covering some early therapies saves money down the line for taxpayers, families and the economy. There is, however, is a mismatch of incentives. The insurance companies don’t pick up the tab for the costs incurred in school districts. They could care less that therapy might save taxpayer’s money down the line. If they had to pick up the costs that schools had to incur, they would be scrambling to cover those therapies.

    This is what I would do: tax the insurance industry to cover the costs to school districts for these autistic students that the insurance industry excludes from therapy.

  10. Debbo 2019-02-22 16:07

    I like your solution Don.

    If SD had enough Democrats in the lege this would be a perfect bill to make a deal on. It’s a good cause, so how about this AND Medicaid expansion? Would Medicaid cover autism? Wait, doesn’t the girl already have Medicaid since she’s disabled?

  11. Moses6 2019-02-22 17:50

    Pat powers mostly hot wind like photo op Thune and slick Mike.

  12. Caroline 2019-02-22 20:16

    I like Donald Pay’s idea. How about instead of giving companies tax credits for donating to private school scholarships, let’s divert that scholarship money to autism treatment. That seems like a Christian thing to do.

  13. pete 2019-02-22 20:32

    Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword.

    You do know that Pat Powers ability to editorialize is pretty limited considering whom he has to answer too. That being considered maybe give the guy a break.

    I agree that people who espouse conservative values should actually vote and live by them. Too bad big government is pretty norm for the course around here.

    Last thought: IT is amazing to me that the hospitals get no blame in the local media, Sanford and Avera did this. The legislature didn’t rip the treatment from the kids, the BIG HOSPITALS DID!

    Thank you, that is all :)

  14. grudznick 2019-02-22 21:27

    I used to think I was afflicted with coprolalia, and I fought a battle with that disease for years. Even dating back to the days when Mr. Pay and I would butt heads over the sort of pasta to order for lunch. Turns out I wasn’t actually suffering in the manner I thought, but yet in a different manner. My point is, Mr. Powers may be afflicted differently than many of you fellows think.

  15. South DaCola 2019-02-23 12:45

    Not to mention the better half of the Power’s income comes from taxpayers (his wife is a teacher) or Pat’s short stint working for State Government (LOL) or the fact that Pat’s father was on the Government teat most of his life (I think he was an FBI agent). Those who live in glass houses . . .

  16. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-02-23 13:45

    Oh, I agree, Pete: the hospitals deserve all the opprobrium we can pile on them for canceling this really useful coverage. But legislators deserve all the opprobrium Pat and I and you can dump on them for not holding the hospitals accountable and doing what’s right for kids.

    Pat gets no break. Choose to answer to big-money conservatives, choose to promote their corporate anti-government line, and you get no redemption just because every now and then you break ranks on one issue with noteworthy personal impact. One must live a life of integrity, and one must accept the consequences of the principles one espouses.

  17. Adam 2019-02-23 17:15

    Pat Powers is only representing hypocrisy consistent with the conservative base. He has made it his job to be thier mouthpiece. So, what the heck is he supposed to do? Reflect opposite values than that which brought him political success? Fall on the health care sword [so to speak]?

    He can’t; he would never; and I don’t expect him too. His life is built around placating to the animals.

  18. grudznick 2019-02-23 17:25

    I, for one, don’t really feel as sad for Mr. PP as some of you fellows do. I respect Mr. PP’s challenges, but golly the world doesn’t owe anyone a free ride to candyland. Sometimes you just have to work harder and pay your bills.

  19. Adam 2019-02-23 17:28

    Don’t just knock Candyland, like that, please, share your thoughts on other places too, like Disneyland. How fascinating.

  20. Porter Lansing 2019-02-23 17:31

    Jeremiah Grudz is living rent free in his own mind. Work harder? Coming from a guy who’s never got his hands dirty for a buck in his entire 61 years? He comes from the Sioux Falls elite class and thinks he can advise working level women and men to “work harder”? Been drinking since noon, no doubt.

  21. grudznick 2019-02-23 17:36

    Tonight, grudznick will dine on a variety of different goats and wash it down with French wine and then relax with a nice Herman Upmann while the dancing girls rub my feet. Wait..there are no dancing girls, so if any of you fellows want to rub my feet that job is still available.

  22. o 2019-02-23 21:31

    grudz, you had a good week, treat yourself to a Paul Garmarian. I foolishly kicked the indulgence before the Cuban embargo was lifted.

  23. certain inflatable recreational devices 2019-02-23 22:35

    Phat Phough and grudz have a lot in common. Neither has shown the inclination or ability to say anything of importance.

  24. Adam 2019-02-24 01:28

    Say something important and GrudzTroll sucks all the oxycodone out of the room.

    Let me say one more time:

    Pat Powers is only representing hypocrisy consistent with the conservative base. He has made it his job to be thier mouthpiece. So, what the heck is he supposed to do? Reflect opposite values than that which brought him political success? Fall on the health care sword [so to speak]?

    He can’t; he would never; and I don’t expect him too. His life is built around placating to the animals.

  25. Adam 2019-02-24 01:50

    Grudz should run for office – that is – IF he wants to help prove that being an ignorant pussy makes one a looser.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.