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Noem to National Right-Wing Podcast: South Dakota Wages Stink!

In the middle of a long chat this week with a conservative national propagandist podcast (wait—in the midst of a statewide emergency, Governor Kristi Noem has time to talk to that remote audience? why?), South Dakota’s chief executive reminds everyone that even in normal times, South Dakota’s a hard place to make a living:

Gov. Kristi Noem
This is the picture The Federalist chose to run with Noem’s podcast interview.

…We have a very high rate of working individuals in the state of South Dakota. In fact, we have the highest rate of working moms in the nation. Our people here work very hard and they don’t make a lot of money. They work in those service jobs. They are the ones who grow our food that the rest of the nation depends on. They’re the ones who get up every day, and both mom and dad in the household work if that household has two parents in it, just to pay the bills.

So those are the people that are being extremely challenged right now. And for them it doesn’t take more than two or three weeks for them to recognize that everything they’ve worked for for years is swiftly running through their fingers… [Governor Kristi Noem, in Ben Domenech, “Interview: Gov. Kristi Noem Wants to Protect Liberty and Public Health in South Dakota,” The Federalist, 2020.04.16].

Maybe it somehow plays to the right-wing Trump base to tell them that South Dakota stiffs labor… but it doesn’t inspire much confidence among laboring South Dakota moms and dads.


  1. Disgusted Dakotan 2020-04-17

    She is an adept windvane politician. She led the charge to pass SB191 this year to keep her hands clean from shutting down counties, cities, and even the state. She was for shutting everything down as long as she could wash her hands of the political fallout.

  2. mike from iowa 2020-04-17

    Women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, and more than 70 percent of moms with young children are working. Yet women earned only 85 percent of what men made in 2018 and have far less upward mobility, as evidenced by the fact that only 4.8 percent of S&P 500 companies’ chief executives are female.

    Such obvious inequality sparks debates about gender roles in a shifting socioeconomic environment. Workplace inequality brings up not just financial questions but also deeply ingrained social issues. For instance, should women have to choose between career and family?

    The real question, however, is what we’re doing about this fundamental problem. Progress appears to be taking shape at different rates across the nation. Not only do parental leave policies and other legal support systems vary by state, but the quality of infrastructure — from cost-effective day care to public schools — is also far from uniform as well.

    So, in order to help ease the burden on an underappreciated segment of the population, WalletHub compared state dynamics across 16 key metrics to identify the Best & Worst States for Working Moms. A complete breakdown of our findings, as well as expert commentary and a detailed methodology, can be found below.


    From WalletHub in 2019

    Best and Worst States for Working Moms

    Overall Rank


    Total Score

    ‘Child Care’ Rank

    ‘Professional Opportunities’ Rank

    ‘Work-Life Balance’ Rank

    1 Massachusetts 66.87 1 30 1
    2 Rhode Island 61.96 11 8 2
    3 Connecticut 61.06 3 10 5
    4 Vermont 60.92 2 2 9
    5 District of Columbia 58.92 8 6 6
    6 New Jersey 56.02 7 25 8
    7 Minnesota 55.36 6 3 16
    8 Wisconsin 54.02 13 11 10
    9 New Hampshire 53.54 4 4 34
    10 Washington 52.99 21 45 3
    11 Maine 51.67 23 14 12
    12 North Dakota 50.88 5 24 23
    13 Iowa 49.86 17 12 17
    14 Delaware 48.81 10 5 41
    15 Kansas 48.68 18 17 19
    16 Colorado 48.24 16 9 27
    17 Nebraska 48.08 30 1 26
    18 Oregon 47.78 40 32 4
    19 Montana 47.68 28 28 13
    20 New York 47.50 20 39 14
    21 Ohio 46.24 27 19 20
    22 Indiana 46.00 14 31 28
    23 South Dakota 45.71 26 16

    23 is a far crynfrom Numero Uno. Dangbmath just ain’t what wingnuts pretend it is.

  3. Nix 2020-04-17

    The Arnold brothers are barely getting by with their million dollar subsidies
    from Uncle Donny.
    And man, it’s tough if your mom isn’t
    Governor. Those $60,000 salaries are hard to come by.
    Let’s not forget the rest of her nepotism….
    I have no doubt that there are a ton of
    women and single moms in our state that are in tough times.
    Their names aren’t Noem and Arnold

  4. Donald Pay 2020-04-17

    In that interview Noem said this: “…when I gave my guidance to the state of South Dakota, they overwhelmingly responded.”

    Now, really, how many people actually responded to what Kristi Noem, non-health professional, said? You can almost hear Trumpian exaggeration through that misstatement. Pretend leaders craft language that makes them appear to be God’s gift to all things. Real leaders don’t do that. Here’s what a real leader would have said: “I consulted with health professionals and epidemiologists and their best recommendations are….So, I asked South Dakotans to listen to the advice of these professionals. Let me emphasize their recommendations….” Most important is not what she should have said, but what actions she should take. Actions speak much louder than words, and her actions depict her as a Quisling in the face of COVID-19.

    I suspect very few folks responded to Covid Queen Kristi’s advise. South Dakotans have more sense than that. I know I listened to the health professionals and my daughter, who was going through the pandemic in China. That was back when Noem and Trump were pooh-poohing the idea of a pandemic.

  5. Bob Newland 2020-04-17


    I guess I missed that quality.

  6. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr., 2020-04-17

    Our tax system in this state “stinks,” too, at a time like this. People working from home, or getting paid regardless due to the Paycheck Protection Plan, are still paying the same state income taxes in many states, but employees sitting at home, working or not, regardless of the state, are most likely making fewer purchases, however, and thus, paying less sales taxes as a result.

  7. Eve Fisher 2020-04-17

    Kristi’s basking in the spotlight of the conservative world. I now believe she thinks she’ll get a cabinet position or a shot at VP with Trump. I doubt it. She looks too much like Sarah Palin (who made the mistake of upstaging Trump onstage at the beginning of his campaign), and he already has Nikki Haley, if he thinks he needs any other woman but his daughter.

  8. Bernie 2020-04-17

    Interesting how a crisis makes just about everyone a liberal — longing for government wisdom and support, lamenting low wages, begging for national health care and fighting to help the most beleaguered among us. If we practiced that attitude year in and year out, we would be better prepared for things like this. I remember several governors who publicly lauded our low wages as they tried to find us more low-wage employers.

    It reminds me of the “every soldier in a fox hole believes in prayer” syndrome.

  9. jerry 2020-04-17

    The late Senator George McGovern, in a 2002 speech opposing the US invasion of Iraq, on the difference between liberals and conservatives:

    “Virtually every step forward in our history has been a liberal initiative taken over conservative opposition: civil rights, Social Security, Medicare, rural electrification, the establishment of a minimum wage, collective bargaining, the Pure Food and Drug Act, and federal aid to education, including the land-grant colleges, to name just a few.

    “Many of these innovations were eventually embraced by conservatives only after it became clear that they had overwhelming public approval for the simple reason that almost every American benefited from them. Every one of these liberal efforts strengthened our democracy and our quality of life.

    “The business of conservatives is . . . to cling tightly to the past, and although such a stance can be admirable, a stale and musty doctrine is of little use at a time when the nation needs not to fear the future but to seek out ways to improve it.”

    BTW, every soldier in a fox hole only believes in one thing, not the bullet with his name on it, but the one that says “to whom it may concern”. Live by that rule, God is busy trying to figure ways to feed the hungry and free the oppressed.

  10. mike from iowa 2020-04-17

    drumpf’s annihilation of Obama’s economy is nearly complete….

    The numbers: The collapse of the U.S. economy because of COVID-19 is becoming more evident by the day, the latest sign a record 6.7% decline in the leading economic indicators in March.

    from Market Watch.

  11. mike from iowa 2020-04-17

    If Noem was replaced by her horse, would anyone ever notice the difference? At the very least a horse has horse sense.

    Noem’s earrings could be code for zero in, zero out.

  12. DaveFromNowhere 2020-04-17

    “They work in those service jobs. They are the ones who grow our food that the rest of the nation depends on. They’re the ones who get up every day, and both mom and dad in the household work if that household has two parents in it, just to pay the bills.”

    Of course, she failed to qualify her statement and add that 500+ of these speak 80 different languages and worked at Smithfield. Wouldn’t accord with her mighty fine impression of herself or the Federalist audience.

  13. DaveFromNowhere 2020-04-17

    “Our people here work very hard and they don’t make a lot of money. They work in those service jobs. They are the ones who grow our food that the rest of the nation depends on. They’re the ones who get up every day, and both mom and dad in the household work if that household has two parents in it, just to pay the bills.”

    Of course she failed to qualify her statement and say that 500+ who speak some 80 different languages worked at Smithfield. Doesn’t accord with her own fine opinion of herself nor that of the Federalist readers.

  14. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-04-19

    Interesting, Donald, that Noem justifies her inaction by claiming that South Dakotans will take individual responsibility to solve the problem on their own, but then she tries to take credit for that individual responsibility.

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