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South Dakota Personal Income Booming… Thanks to Big Government!

Kristi Noem’s kids aren’t the only ones who got big raises in South Dakota this year. New data shows that, around the same time that First Daughter Kennedy Noem and First Son-in-Law Kyle Peters were getting bigger-than-expected raises from our Nepotist-in-Chief, South Dakotans in general saw their personal income jump 15%:

Personal Income: Percent Change at Annual Rate, 2019:Q2–2019:Q3
Personal Income: Percent Change at Annual Rate, 2019:Q2–2019:Q3

Now read that carefully: the change was from Quarter 2 to Quarter 3 of this year, and that rate is annualized. But at 15.2% annualized growth, South Dakota led the nation in growing income.The jump is similar to the nation-leading 15% Christmas goose to personal income our state enjoyed in Quarter 4 of 2018.

How can that be, when Governor Noem insists that South Dakota’s economy isn’t generating enough tax revenue to support raises for state employees not coming to her house for Christmas?

Cue socialism in Trumpistan:

Earnings. For the nation, earnings increased 5.2 percent in the third quarter, after increasing 2.9 percent in the second quarter. Earnings increased in 20 of the 24 industries for which BEA prepares quarterly estimates (table 4). Farming; state and local government; and healthcare and social assistance were the leading contributors to overall growth in earnings.

Increases in farm earnings were the leading contributors to income growth in each of the ten fastest growing states, reflecting increases in payments associated with the Department of Agriculture’s Market Facilitation Program in the third quarter [Bureau of Economic Analysis, “State Personal Income, Third Quarter 2019,” 2019.12.18].

Market Facilitation Program—that’s the farm welfare checks Trump is using to bribe farmers into forgetting that he’s tanked their profits for two years straight by denying them access to the Chinese market. And hey, Governor Noem’s brothers are getting rich off those government payments, too! Governor Noem will need a bigger tree for all the presents her family gets from big government this year.

That socialistically increased farm income constituted 11.84 percentage points of our Q2–Q3 income growth, or $1.329 billion out of $1.666 billion in total additional personal income. No other economic sector in South Dakota contributed more than half a percentage point; the next leading contributing sectors with health care and social assistance (0.44 percentage points, $52 million in new money), state and local government (including the checks Kristi wrote her kids—0.39 points, $45 million), non-durable goods manufacturing (0.34; $40M), and construction (0.33; $39M).

Now if South Dakota just had an income tax, we could tap some of that unearned income from Uncle Sam and share that wealth with the state employees and teachers who continue to work their darnedest for South Dakota. But no: wealthy elites like the Noems and Arnolds don’t want to reciprocate for all the support they get from government by sharing their wealth to support anyone else.


  1. o 2019-12-24 11:36

    As with the nation, South Dakota is not a poor state as much has it has an issue with wealth distribution. The wealthy continue to find ways to hide behind the poor. Perpetuating the wealth concentration to the elite continues to destroy both this nation and this state.

  2. jerry 2019-12-24 14:33

    True that o, It looks like we’re gonna be having the same kind of numbers for next year as the crops have failed and the markets have dried up. More BRIBES please, but spare us the “whine cellar”. Take your taxpayer money, which, BTW, you’re not paying into, and keep on disgracing yourselves with your support for Chubby. 28 Billion for your vote, Putin is proud of you.

    “At a Farmfest listening session with farmers in Minnesota, Perdue hit back at the complaints with his joke: “What do you call two farmers in a basement? A whine cellar.”

    As he pounded the table in mirth, some of the thousands of farmers at the event laughed nervously — which was followed by boos.

    “It was definitely not an appropriate thing to say,” Minnesota Farmers Union President Gary Wertish told HuffPost. “It was very insensitive. It took everyone by surprise. He doesn’t understand what farmers are dealing with, and he’s the head of the Department of Agriculture. He’s supposed to be working for farmers.”

  3. Debbo 2019-12-24 16:14

    As soon as the votes are counted in November, farm welfare is over, regardless of the outcome. When when Bribing Bully no longer needs them, the $ dries up like a drop of water in July at 3 pm on the floor of Death Valley.

  4. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-12-25 07:19

    O is right: South Dakota has a wealth distribution problem. Rich white folks get six-figure government checks. No Indian on the reservation is getting checks like Kristi Noem’s brothers get. No company that publishes all the “liberal media” that Kristi Noem says attacks her is getting checks like her rich brothers get. No lazy bum who chooses to live off unemployment and SNAP instead of going out and getting a job (and I will grant there are some lazy bums doing just that) is getting more than a tenth of what Rock and Robb Arnold get from the federal government every year.

    If there is poverty in South Dakota, if there is a shortfall in funding for public goods, it is because rich pigs like the Noem family slurp up more than their fair share of our tax dollars and hoard their wealth at the expense of the general welfare.

  5. Mic-ha-el 2019-12-25 09:15

    Wealth distribution and big government is south Dakota becoming a socialist state? How about working and earning your own money.

  6. bearcreekbat 2019-12-25 09:58

    Cory, your comment that “there are some lazy bums” that choose “to live off unemployment and SNAP instead of going out and getting a job” is surprising. I wonder if you have seen or found any factual or empirical basis for such a claim?

    In my own lifetime of personal experience working with people participating in SNAP or U/I benefits I have yet to meet such a this Reaganistic imagined “lazy bum.” Indeed, with the efforts it takes to comply with U/I and SNAP qualification requirements it hardly seems possible that a “lazy bum” would make the effort to qualify, especially for such a meager reward for the effort.

    If there is empirical evidence to support using such a pejorative to describe someone receiving assistance, it might at least make such a comment factual, rather than merely fictional. If not, then I call out the use of such language as BS.


  7. grudznick 2019-12-25 10:03

    Mr. bat, you darned well there are lazy bums who choose to live off welfare instead of putting their perfectly healthy butts to work like the rest of people their age. If these people just went out and got a job, then worked hard at it, as hard as they do at being on the dole, they would get much farther ahead.

  8. bearcreekbat 2019-12-25 10:45

    Claims like that made by grudznick without any supporting factual evidence are not particularly convincing. Such claims could be described by this Jerry Jeff Walker tune:

  9. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-12-25 11:44

    Bear, I am willing to accept that there are bad apples in every barrel. I will grant that, while there are farmers and laborers and businesses who work hard but suffer through no fault of their own (tornadoes, tariffs…) and thus can use a helping hand to get through hard times, there are a few immoral actors who give in to our inherent human imperfection and choose to sponge off well-intentioned assistance. My point above is to note that bad actors in typical social assistance programs, who become the object of great moral scorn and threatened budget cuts from our Paul Ryan-style government-drowning proposals, cost us far less than the well-heeled, well-lawyered rich farmers and corporate raiders who play the system for millions of dollars of unnecessary aid.

  10. bearcreekbat 2019-12-25 12:25

    Cory, I take your answer to mean you have no factual links to support your negative supposition (“lazy bums”) about some U/I or SNAP recipients. That seems understandable as others who share this view, such a grudznick, likewise are unable to provide a factual basis for the opinion, which is why I call it out.

    The factual reports I have read typically document both the needs and positive qualities of people receiving public assistance like U/I or SNAP.

    See e.g.,


    The various descriptions in these links are consistent with my personal experiences in working with recipients. While there is plenty of evidence that there are people in the world that engage in behavior that hurts others (i.e “bad apples”), there seems to be literally no factual basis that I have yet to discover that makes a connection, either causal or even by correlation, to receiving U/I or SNAP.

  11. bearcreekbat 2019-12-25 12:41

    Anyway, here is one of my favorite old time tunes by Leon Redbone that might be the source of the fictional “lazy bum” that we are discussing:

  12. mike from iowa 2019-12-25 14:09

    Without corn meal made, I cain’t has no corn bread. Thanks bcb.

  13. Debbo 2019-12-25 14:48

    In my years of experience working with people receiving disability benefits, I had one client who was taking unfair advantage of the program. My colleagues said their ratio was similar. That was less than 1%.

    We have to remember that people such as Grudz are like those in Mike’s excellent Paul Krugman link. They like to see others suffer and imagine that more people are of similar vein. We can assume that Grudz cheats the system in every way possible, just as he assumes that others do. Certainly his expense sheets are as full of tall tales as anything Hans Christian Anderson wrote. Small minded and hard hearted people imagine the worst of others.

  14. bearcreekbat 2019-12-25 15:07

    Debbo, how did your client take unfair advantage of the disability program?

    Just to clarify, my challenge to the “lazy bum” theory is not a challenge to the fact that on occasion some folks may violate the the law to obtain benefits they are not legally entitled to receive, such as falsifying an application form or stealing or misusing another person’s benefits (this happens from time to time with “protective payees” for disabled SSI recipients).

    Even then, criminals typically would have to actively work at succeeding in their theft and covering it up, which would be a type “work” or effort – dishonest, yes, but work all the same – that by definition a hypothetical “lazy bum” would avoid.

  15. Debbo 2019-12-25 15:20

    My supervisor, her doctor, her social worker and I believed she sold her opioid pain pills. This was in 2012, before the opioid thing was a thing. My client got the meds for back pain and xrays showed back injury.

    She had a problem with losing meds or having them stolen and needing replacement scrips. I accompanied my client to the doctor on the occasion when the doc advocated other pain abatement meds and strategies. My client refused them all, insisting that only oxycodone worked. The doc, a woman who knew the signs of misuse, stuck to her guns relentlessly. My client did not get her meds.

    My client requested a meeting with me and my supervisor because she was angry with me for not pushing the doc hard for the meds. (I knew the misuse signs too.) I scheduled the meeting, brought my super up to speed prior to it, and my client dropped us soon after.

  16. bearcreekbat 2019-12-25 15:51

    Debbo, thanks for sharing that. I think that sort of abuse has often been documented in other cases.
    Check the AARP story about the elderly selling meds.

    As the AARP article indicates, such abuse could often be an unlawful effort to supplement whatever inadequate income the seller might be scraping by on from other sources (again a type of “work” beyond the efforts of a true “lazy bum”).

  17. mike from iowa 2019-12-27 07:39

    Speaking of South Dakota Personal……. Roger Cornelius, here is a New Year’s wish for better health for you. DFP needs your voice and insights. You, Spike and others provide perspectives us wasicus have no clews about. Thanks for all you do and have done to enlighten us heathens, myself especially.

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