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Amidst Rising Food Prices, SD Declined $103M in Federal Food Aid

Maybe South Dakota wouldn’t have had quite as big of an economic recession in 2022 if the state hadn’t denied itself $103 million in easy stimulus from expanded pandemic food assistance:

Gov. Kristi Noem decided in July 2021 that South Dakota had recovered enough from the pandemic and ended the formal emergency far earlier than most other states. That prevented the state from taking the estimated $103 million in additional emergency funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) available until March 2023.

The estimate is likely low because emergency allotment totals rose as more people qualified for SNAP benefits in early 2021, the LRC analysis said.

Thirty-two other states took the funding until the program ended. South Dakota was one of the first states to end its state of emergency and stop taking the money for food to low-income residents, people with disabilities and families with children.

According to amounts from the final month South Dakota took the emergency funding, about 34,600 households lost out on an average of $150 per month over those 19 months [Bart Pfankuch, “$100 Million in Food benefits Lost When South Dakota Ended Pandemic Emergency,” South Dakota News Watch, 2023.10.01].

Noem’s office (not Noem herself, of course, as she refuses to speak with the local press) trots out the usual malarkey about federal strings and wasteful spending, but Mobridge grocer Annie Orth invokes the Mickelsonian theory of practical political economy:

“It doesn’t make sense because if there’s money available, you take it. You help the community and you help the state,” she said. “I don’t know that they (state government leaders) get to see how things are in small communities or on reservations. The benefits create economic growth for the whole community, so why not?” [Pfankuch, 2023.10.01]

Once again, South Dakota state government lets political posturing get in the way of practical benefits for South Dakotans and the economy.


  1. sx123 2023-10-02 07:28

    Translation: “Under my awesome leadership, we told the experts to shove it, and as a result, our poor didn’t need extra money (cuz I said so).”

  2. P. Aitch 2023-10-02 08:11

    Refusing to accept Federal funding doesn’t mean said funding won’t be distributed. Refusing to accept Federal funding doesn’t mean the USA government spends less. Refusing to accept Federal funding isn’t even a band-aid. Why did your Governor not know this? Hmmmm?…..

  3. O 2023-10-02 08:28

    Stopping political opponents for partisan reasons outweighs helping those who you are truly responsible for. It is party first in the MAGA cult (OK, really Trump first). I’m a bit surprised that she was willing to be self-serving enough to take COVID relief to protect her own interests; maybe that is the finest example of Trump-inspred leadership.

  4. e platypus onion 2023-10-02 09:02

    Had that chunk of money came with no stings attached, Noem would have gratefully accepted it for her own purposes. It ain’t the money that is objectionable to magats, it is the purpose is is designed for that pisses magats off. Not enough is headed automatically to the wealthy.

    As an aside, county supervisors in west Texass county that borders New Mexico made up a law prohibiting anyone from using that county’s roads to help women get to New Mexico for an abortion. Wonder how they plan to intercept and interogate all drivers and passengers without violating 4th Amendment rights and losing qualified immunity? BTW pregnant women face no penalties if caught. Apparently just the drivers.

  5. Marie 2023-10-02 09:37

    The meanness of Gov. Noem–declining $103M in Covid federal food aid,
    and millions more in Covid supplemental unemployment benefits and housing assistance.

    For what? To craft a shameless self-aggrandizing national media presence for herself
    at the expense of those South Dakotans most in need.

  6. bearcreekbat 2023-10-02 10:40

    I suppose rejecting these funds is consistent with the visionless viewpoint that policies to hurt the most vulnerable people in the State (“low-income residents, people with disabilities and families with children”) somehow improves the lives of other South Dakotans. This has been a Republican idea for many years in SD, for example the Janklow adminstration’s multi-year refusal to distribute low-income energy assistance funds to the state’s poorest families, and the Daugaard administration’s repeated rejection of Medicaid expansion funds. The puzzle, however, is how middle class communiy members and rich people can support such stupid policies when in the end these funds end up flowing right back into their community pockets. The poor are merely conduits that receive funds and immediately spend those funds in the local community, in turn giving local businesses, vendors and investors a much more lucrative market to draw from, as well as proving increased sales tax revenue for the State. As Annie Orth correctly observes:

    “It doesn’t make sense because if there’s money available, you take it. You help the community and you help the state,” she said. “I don’t know that they (state government leaders) get to see how things are in small communities or on reservations. The benefits create economic growth for the whole community, . . . “

    This is simple and fundamental Econ 1: the multiplier effect.

    . . .. Studies consistently show that when consumers spend their money at local businesses, the benefits multiply and have a compounding effect on the local economy. This compounding phenomenon is known as the “local multiplier effect,” and can have a significant impact on small communities, leading to increased jobs, higher income levels, and overall economic vitality. . .

    The local multiplier effect refers to the idea that when consumers spend money at a local business, that money circulates within the local economy creating a chain reaction of economic activity. This occurs because local businesses are more likely to purchase goods and services from other local businesses, thereby keeping money within the community and stimulating additional economic transactions. As a result, the initial dollar spent at a local business can “multiply” having a ripple effect on the local economy, which generates more income and creates a vital cycle of economic growth.

    Several studies have provided evidence of the local multiplier effect and its positive impact on local economies. . . . . These two studies demonstrate that local businesses are more likely to reinvest their profits back into the community, which can result in a multiplier effect stimulating further economic activity.

    The local multiplier effect also has a significant impact on job creation. . . .

    Furthermore, the local multiplier effect can lead to increased tax revenue for local governments, . . .

    The local multiplier effect also fosters community engagement and social cohesion. . . . These contributions help to build a sense of community pride, strengthen social ties, and promote a vibrant and cohesive community culture.

  7. P. Aitch 2023-10-02 12:22

    Well presented, BCB. Thank you very much.
    Then there’s this explanation.
    ~ The fallacy in the statement “What you support you get more of. What you reject you get less of” is known as the false causality fallacy or the fallacy of false cause. It assumes a cause-and-effect relationship between supporting or rejecting something and the resulting increase or decrease in its occurrence.

    In the context of blocking low-income South Dakotans from accessing federal programs, the fallacy occurs when there is an assumption that by rejecting their access to such assistance, the number of low-income individuals in the state will decrease. However, this assumption oversimplifies a complex issue and ignores the underlying factors contributing to poverty.

    The statement fails to consider that poverty can be influenced by various interconnected factors such as lack of job opportunities, education, healthcare, and systemic inequalities. By solely focusing on limiting access to federal programs, it overlooks the root causes of poverty and the need for comprehensive solutions.

    Additionally, it is important to note that depriving low-income individuals of federal program access may exacerbate their financial struggles, making it even more challenging for them to overcome poverty. This undermines the idea that rejecting support will inherently lead to a decrease in the number of individuals needing assistance.

    Therefore, the fallacy lies in assuming a direct cause-and-effect relationship between blocking access to federal programs and reducing poverty without considering the multifaceted nature of the issue and the potential consequences of doing so.
    AI Generated
    Prompt Engineer- P. Aitch

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