Press "Enter" to skip to content

Payments for Accepting Refugees Better Investment than Tariff-Welfare Checks for Farmers

I’m listening to Dr. Jon Schaff on SDPB Radio talk about how Trump’s executive order allowing state and local governments to by default block refugee resettlement having “some wisdom” behind it.

Stop right there. No action taken by Donald Trump flows from wisdom. Every action taken by Donald Trump stems from pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, or wrath.

But beyond the motivations and on the policy itself, Dr. Schaff attempts that specious equanimity to which political commentators attempting to maintain a semblance of objectivity must resort when trying to put some gloss of thought on Trump’s destructive stoking of his ignorant, racist base who seek from him affirmation of their own deadly sins. He suggests localities could suffer from the costs of providing shelter to the world’s burgeoning population of displaced and persecuted human beings.

The thought that rural counties could suffer didn’t stop Trump from recklessly cutting off our farmers’ access to the Chinese market. Trump throws $650 million in welfare checks at our farmers to make up for their losses, including six-figure checks to some of our biggest, best-connected farm operations, and South Dakota’s well-bribed farmers accept their tariff reparations and ongoing economic suffering as a small price to pay serving America’s greater interests.

Well, rural America, you would serve your own interests and the nation’s interests by accepting more refugees, not fewer. We are the richest nation in the world, and refugees only make us richer. They come to our towns, work hard, buy houses and cars, put their kids in our schools, and boost our tax base. They become valued members of our communities, and they deeply value the communities that provide them safe haven from tyranny and terror that was so bad it drove them from their homelands, from all they knew, to settle among strangers. If we strangers are smart, we let them in, and when our new neighbors talk to their compatriots around the world, when someone asks what America is like, they say, “America saved our lives. America saved our children. America is the greatest nation in the world.” And they don’t say that because Donald Trump makes it a slogan; they say it our enacted values make it true.

We make America great by opening our doors and saying, “Yes, come in, be warm and safe. We have more than enough liberty and opportunity to share with you. Yes, come in, be Americans.”

And for whatever small “sacrifice” might come from welcoming newcomers—helping them find jobs, teaching their kids English, and whatever else you think it costs to let safe, well-vetted people move to your town—the White House could offer “Refugee Facilitation Payments,” just like the farm welfare checks for tariff reparations, but in this case, instead of paying farmers to sit on their piles of unsellable beans and keep voting for Trump, Refugee Facilitation Payments would go to local governments, to help them pay the costs of providing more public goods to support their growing populations and all of the citizens who help serve America’s interest by giving refugees the best home in the world, a home in America.

Refugee Facilitation Payments—now that policy has some wisdom behind it. There’s no wisdom in letting local yahoos slam the door on refugees and show the world a shrinking America that turns away from its professed values.


  1. Porter Lansing 2019-12-11 14:06

    Hear, hear Heidelberger. One of the best pieces you’ve created, to date.

  2. jerry 2019-12-11 15:12

    Very good analysis Cory. Something the quack missed is that the Karen People prove his theory incorrect. Huron has done very well with this group of folks. I think that probably the only outlay has been in soccer fields. Dr. Jon is most certainly not an educated man, must have gone to school at trump university as his stinkin thinkin is just like Chubby.

  3. Donald Pay 2019-12-11 16:17

    I’m not one of them that prefers garbage and nuclear waste to human beings but apparently Dr. Schaff has superior “wisdom.” Some people’s wisdom leads them to prefer severed heads and limbs which got illegally shipped to and dumped on private land near the Pine Ridge Reservation to heads and limbs on actual living human beings who could reside in the state. When you don’t value human life enough to open your open spaces to living, breathing human beings, you end up with people in other places, and some in yours, who think they can profit by dumping aborted fetuses in that space. Funny how “some wisdom” about the cost benefit ratios of human beings residing in South Dakota doesn’t trickle down to the waste that other non-refugee human beings have tried to send in massive caravans into various open spaces in South Dakota.

    Generally, South Dakota has been depopulating almost everywhere since just after statehood. A few places which have welcomed new residents are the exception. You would think that a few people, as opposed to millions of tons of New Jersey’s garbage or Denver’s medical waste, might be good for the state.

  4. Debbo 2019-12-11 17:36

    Your point is right on Cory, and would be a good boost for SD. In addition, the post is beautifully written. You’ve really done well describing what makes “America, the Beautiful.” ❤❤❤

  5. bearcreekbat 2019-12-11 18:00

    Great post Cory!

  6. leslie 2019-12-11 18:09

    This illustrates SDPB’s continuing slide down the cavernous and foul gullet of SDGOP continual lies and propaganda in its furious effort to dumb down the populace and keep its power strangle hold on the “pussies” of liberals, progressives, minorities and low income earners, to their detriment and to the benefit of the 1%.

  7. grudznick 2019-12-11 18:34

    SDPB is a libbie bastion of broadcast journalism. They do some good stuff, though, unlike that Sioux Falls newspaper or that Sioux Falls TV station. You should welcome SDBP as your best and most well connected big friend outside of the W.N.A.X.

  8. cibvet 2019-12-11 19:29

    Refugees become competition for the locals and its no secret what repubs think of competition.

  9. mike from iowa 2019-12-11 19:56

    This makes so much sense you know wingnuts won’t get within a million miles of it.

  10. Moses6 2019-12-11 20:57

    Well no pay increases for teachers, but take care of the family.Nepotism at its best.

  11. happy camper 2019-12-12 03:33

    For the sake of considering their fiscal concerns, this is taken from the Bismarck Tribune linked below. The rest of the article presents more balance:

    – (A commissioner) said before and during the meeting that the commission did not have enough firm information, though he said Lutheran Social Services did tell him that refugees cost North Dakota $52 million annually.
    – Bismarck Mayor Steve Bakken spoke during the public hearing against resettling refugees. He said the county should not vote in favor without knowing the costs.
    – Shirley Dykshoorn, vice president for senior and humanitarian services for Lutheran Social Services, said she doesn’t know how much refugee resettlement costs taxpayers.
    – During fiscal 2017, there were 2,983 refugees in the state enrolled in traditional Medicaid, costing $14.4 million, according to a study by the state Legislature’s Human Services Committee. In addition, 4,295 refugees enrolled in a supplemental nutrition assistance program, costing $5.6 million.

  12. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-12-12 05:23

    $52 million? That’s a fifteenth of the vote-bribing MFP welfare checks Trump has written to North Dakota farmers.

    I would suggest to Mayor Steve Bakken that he apparently doesn’t know the benefits, either. We don’t know the costs or benefits that will accrue when any family moves to town. His unknowns cancel, and we default back to the basic American principles of freedom of movement and welcoming newcomers.

    Look at the empty storefronts downtown that refugee grocers, tailors, and other merchants could fill. Look at the empty rural classrooms where refugee students could bring life. We’re not full yet. Any rural town that declines to welcome newcomers is committing suicide.

  13. bearcreekbat 2019-12-12 11:23

    I can’t think of a better way to spend tax dollars than to assist people in escaping dangerous circumstances that have deprived them and their children of freedom, safety and economic opportunity. And the added benefit that comes from using tax dollars to help these people in need reflects the old saying “what goes around comes around,” namely, the economic and social benefits so many of those people in need of our help work so hard to give back to us and our rural towns.

  14. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-12-12 17:29

    Helping parents save their children from mortal danger, sharing with them our ample wealth—a far better investment than any wall, farm subsidy, or B-1 bomber in strengthening America’s interests.

  15. Clyde 2019-12-13 22:04

    Where is this sudden push to fill the midwest full of refugees coming from???? They vote democrat??? I would like to see the PROOF that they make us richer not just theory and hypothesis. Payments to refugees are good but payments to keep young people here are bad??? Wow!

  16. Porter Lansing 2019-12-13 22:22

    Remember, Clyde. When immigrants succeed, you fail.

  17. jerry 2019-12-13 22:33

    Clyde, ask Huron, South Dakota. They will tell you how much the Karen People are appreciated there. The fact is, immigrants work hard day in and day out. You ain’t gonna see a white man work that hard…unless they’re an immigrant like your grandpa was. Most of those immigrants were given Native land for free to work. Figure the worth of the land at that time against the amount an immigrant gets and you get the picture. We were investing in your immigrant family as we should be investing in the new immigrant family. The dividend’s are just as important now as they were in your newly minted American family back in the day. Don’t forget that you come from immigrant stock Clyde.

    If they vote Democrat, then you need not worry Clyde, not in this racist state. Chubby and the outlaws got it covered.

  18. bearcreekbat 2019-12-14 01:20

    Clyde asks “I would like to see the PROOF that they make us richer” and he shall receive:

    . . . In 2013, for example, immigrants added $1.6 trillion to total U.S. gross domestic product, or GDP. Economists have found that immigrants complement native-born workers and increase the standard of living for all Americans. Additionally, as consumers in local communities, immigrants create demand for small businesses and strengthen the economy. Immigrant entrepreneurs have also played a significant role in advancing technological innovation and creating businesses. . . .

    . . . All immigrants, regardless of legal status, contribute to the American economy. The 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants living the U.S. today contribute $11.64 billion in state and local taxes each year. The Social Security Administration estimates that unauthorized immigrants contribute a net of $13 billion in payroll taxes annually, which helps to strengthen the Social Security system. . .

    . . . ITEP projects that fully legalizing the current 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants would add $2.1 billion in state and local tax revenue each year. Similarly, providing a pathway to citizenship for all unauthorized immigrants would increase GDP by $1.2 trillion over 10 years and create 145,000 jobs annually.

    There ya go Clyde and that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to publicly available research results demonstrating that immigrants with or without papers “make us richer.” Do a quick google search and you will find many more similar reports from a wide variety of credible sources.

  19. mike from iowa 2019-12-16 18:25

    Might not be the best fit, but….. banks are mandated to help capitalize poor areas so the brain trust that is drumpf and friends have decided allowing banks to help finance billionaire stadium renovations fits the bill of spending money in poor areas.

    and quality for massive tax breaks in the process. Anything for the wealthiest, I guess.

  20. Debbo 2019-12-21 14:22

    Wingnut Nebraska guv knows what’s good for his economy– refugees are.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.