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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Daugaard Has South Dakota's Pulse on Pork

Bob Mercer gives favorable-sounding coverage of Lieutenant Governor Dennis Daugaard's central role in the new South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority. Daugaard's involvement with economic development tied to the airbase shows why he'll be hard to beat in South Dakota's 2010 gubernatorial race.

Ellsworth currently has 5,182 military and civilian on-base jobs. A 2006 study found Ellsworth’s direct and indirect impacts on South Dakota’s economy exceeded $300 million.

...Ellsworth gained an important administrative role in recent years as the financial center for 93 Air Force bases.

...As for the authority’s potential benefit to the election campaign of Dennis Daugaard, keep in mind the old rule about real estate: Location, location, location. Right now, on this important issue, the lieutenant governor is in the right place at the right time [Bob Mercer, "Air-base Authority Offers New Role for Daugaard," Pierre Capital Journal, 2009.03.24].

The metaphorical location is more important than the geographical. Lt. Gov. Daugaard is demonstrating that politically he is smack dab where the vast majority of South Dakota voters are: determined to pay less than our fair share of taxes while depending on federal largesse (occasionally referred to as pork) to sustain our standard of living. Watch the other Republican contenders fall all over themselves in the scramble to reconcile GOP small-government rhetoric with the need to pander to that dependence. The only Democrat who could trump Daugaard on a record of bringing home federal dollars would be Congresswoman Herseth Sandlin... and South Dakotans committed to the continued imbalance between taxes we pay and federal money we get back might do better to keep our Democratic Congresswoman in the Democratic Congress working with our Democratic President.

I note with amusement South Dakota didn't even spend its own money to come up with the idea for the Ellsworth Development Authority: Mercer points out that the idea came from "a consultant, hired through a U.S. Department of Defense grant , in the wake of the near-closure of the base in 2005."

Federal dollars pay for a federal consultant to recommend a state program to keep federal dollars flowing into our state. I think my Republican friends will have more fun with that one than I will!


  1. Ellsworth's days are numbered. The airforce is rapidly moving to an all UAV force with pilots in secure bunkers located here in the US. There will be no need for the gigantic runways that Ellsworth provides. I would be amazed if it survives the next round of closures. All of the UAV pilots are being located in the South West, not here.

  2. Charles Kludt for Governor!

  3. It never ceases to amaze and sadden me that South Dakotans' put far more energy into mooching from the federal government than they do in establishing their own self-reliance.

    Tony's right - that whole "bomber thing" is so passe'. Bombed them back to the stone age in Vietnam, eh? Ditto for Iraq, Afghanistan.

    There oughta be a law that no state or territory takes in more than it sends to the federal government.

  4. [Sorry, Anon 8:58: just too off-topic.]


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