Stop the steal! shouts Governor Kristi Noem at the criminal meatpacking industry as she announces $5 million in welfare checks for 99 small butchers:
“I don’t want any more packers,” Noem says. “I’m sick of packers. In fact, I think packers are stealing from our producers” [Lee Strubinger, “State Hands Out $5 Million in Covid Relief to Local Butchers,” SDPB, 2021.06.03].
As we’ve seen with the 2020 election, when Republicans shout about stealing, they’re probably lying to distract us from their own planned theft. She didn’t shout about thieving packers when she was in Congress; in fact, she voted for a Farm Bill that blocked efforts to challenge the anti-competitive practices of the packing oligopoly.
And of course, while Governor Noem will hand welfare checks to butchers to bolster her meaty image, she won’t advocate legislation to break up the big meatpackers. As we saw during the pandemic, she won’t even meet with the workers whom Smithfield and other big slaughterhouses exploit, and we’re unlikely to hear the Governor support the Sioux Falls Smithfield workers’ union as they fight for better working conditions. (Meatpackers do steal wages—where’s the $5M grant program for workers?) Like the last guy in White House, Noem is just padding her friends’ pockets and buying the votes of local ag producers who in normal times would have the rural acuity to see through a no-achievement poser like Kristi.