Linda McIntyre asked an interesting question a couple weeks ago. In our discussion of fiscal policy, I reminded Linda that South Dakota is a welfare state, and that even if we make the drastic cuts to the federal budget that seem to be her prescription for fixing what ails America, we South Dakotans have an obligation to pay back the government for all the services and subsidies and deficit spending from which we have benefited for the last several decades.
How much of that extra money from the feds goes to the reservations? I'd like to see a breakdown in that regard.
That got me thinking and Googling. Linda's question suggests (and the comment section is open for those who will upbraid me for trying to read Linda's mind) that Linda will contend that the amount our Lakota neighbors get shouldn't count against us, since those darned Indians aren't real South Dakotans. They're not representative of us honest white folks who work hard and pay our way and then some for every road and cop and hydroelectric dam.
I'm still looking for a breakdown of federal outlays by race. This Census report doesn't provide those specifics, but it does show how much South Dakota state and local government got in grants and other payments from various federal programs in FY2008. Our total take on this count was $1.47 billion. This does not include regular federal spending like the budget for Ellsworth AFB or administration of the VA hospitals. The big ticket items:
- Department of Agriculture: $99.8 million. ($70 million of that was food assistance, most of it child nutrition, WIC, and Food Stamps)
- Department of Commerce: $3.17 million
- Public Broadcasting: $2.26 million
- Department of Defense: $322 thousand, mostly for National Guard construction
- Department of Education: $76 million. Outlays specifically for American Indian education: $2.22 million (about 3% of the federal education outlays to South Dakota)
- Department of Energy: $2.34 million
- EPA: $26.4 million
- Health and Human Services: $700 million. Of that, Medicare and Medicaid make up $458 million (65%). Indian Health Service: $62.2 million (9%).
- Homeland Security $61.7 million.
- Housing and Urban Development: $107 million. Homeless programs get $1.26 million (1%). The Native American block grant is $23 million (21%).
- Interior: $63.3 million. Under that, Bureau of Indian Affairs: $19.5 million (31%).
- Justice: $9.24 million
- Labor: $23.2 million
- Transportation: $291 million
- Veterans Affairs: $2.77 million
|10.450: Crop Insurance||$2,708,800,440|
|96.002: Social Security_Retirement Insurance||$1,036,412,087|
|93.778: Medical Assistance Program||$425,246,043|
|83.100: FLOOD INSURANCE||$359,618,200|
|96.004: Social Security_Survivors Insurance||$329,101,036|
|20.205: Highway Planning and Construction||$312,341,264|
|96.001: Social Security_Disability Insurance||$215,245,566|
|10.055: Direct and Counter-cyclical Payments Program||$192,750,497|
|64.109: Veterans Compensation for Service-Connected Disability||$106,670,281|
|14.117: Mortgage Insurance_Homes||$106,465,076|
|10.410: Very Low to Moderate Income Housing Loans||$100,948,575|
|10.850: Rural Electrification Loans and Loan Guarantees||$72,658,000|
|10.551: Food Stamps||$70,615,574|
|10.069: Conservation Reserve Program||$69,798,978|
|10.406: Farm Operating Loans||$68,717,041|
|96.006: Supplemental Security Income||$62,087,296|
|10.407: Farm Ownership Loans||$49,527,401|
|84.041: Impact Aid||$48,910,648|
|84.010: Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies||$37,273,903|
|84.063: Federal Pell Grant Program||$31,515,428|
|93.600: Head Start||$30,387,746|
|14.867: Indian Housing Block Grants||$30,017,844|
|15.048: Bureau of Indian Affairs Facilities_Operations and Maintenance||$29,824,094|
|84.027: Special Education_Grants to States||$29,744,116|
|10.073: Crop Disaster Program||$29,398,976|
Boy, by that list, it looks like that money targets farmers, old folks, and motorists a lot more than it targets our Lakota neighbors.
Nationally, direct payments comprised 45% of federal assistance, while insurance comprised 33%. In South Dakota, we flip those ratios, with insurance comprising 42% of assistance, and direct payments 31%. So it looks to me like all that crop insurance to our farmers is a major curve-breaker behind our high play-to-pay ratio.
FedSpending.org also breaks down federal assistance by recipient organization. Over 80% of the money, $6 billion, goes to individuals, who aren't tracked in this data. Of the identifiable recipient organizations, the top recipient in FY 2007 was the South Dakota Department of Transportation, getting $319 million... and no, Linda, I don't think they spent all that paving the road to Kyle.
The top 25 recipient organizations, again, from FY 2007:
|SOUTH DAKOTA DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION||$318,869,614|
|SOUTH DAKOTA DEPT OF SOCIAL SERVICES||$128,368,680|
|DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION||$108,427,215|
|EAST RIVER ELEC POW COOP INC||$64,931,000|
|SOUTH DAKOTA DEPT OF EDUCATION AND CULTURAL AFFAIRS||$37,535,413|
|SOUTH DAKOTA STATE UNIVERSITY||$36,006,922|
|SOUTH DAKOTA DEPT OF HEALTH||$30,140,703|
|UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH DAKOTA||$26,727,449|
|OGLALA SIOUX TRIBE||$21,389,717|
|SOUTH DAKOTA DEPT OF ENVIRONMENT & NATURAL RESOURCES||$20,944,459|
|SOUTH DAKOTA DEPT OF LABOR||$14,375,404|
|MILITARY AND VETERANS AFFAIRS,||$13,407,055|
|STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA||$11,931,536|
|OGLALA LAKOTA COLLEGE||$10,851,530|
|TODD COUNTY SCHOOL DST 66-1||$10,493,540|
|OGLALA SIOUX HSG AUTH||$10,184,436|
|LONEMAN SCHOOL CORP||$9,436,403|
|PLATTE COMMUNITY MEMORIAL HOSPITAL, IN||$9,000,000|
|SOUTH DAKOTA DEPT OF HUMAN SERVICES||$8,552,603|
|DOUGLAS SCHOOL DISTRICT 51-1||$7,614,266|
|91409335-ROSEBUD HSG AUTHORITY||$7,122,748|
|COUNTY OF LAWRENCE||$7,068,054|
|SD DEPARTMENT OF LABOR||$6,925,899|
When I go through the top 600 recipients in that list (entities receiving over $100,000 from Uncle Sam in FY 2007) and check off the ones that sound remotely Indian-related, I get a total just under $200 million (and that's not counting a handful of agencies at the bottom of the chart who paid money back to Washington). I'm sure I missed some, so double my estimate: $400 million for Native American organizations. That upward estimate would still be less than a fifth of the money we get over and above what we pay Uncle Sam, and just 5% of our total federal assistance.
Bottom line, Linda (and all of the rest of you loyal readers): you can't blame the Indians for South Dakota's status as a welfare state. The folks responsible for our tax–spend imbalance: farmers, old folks, and drivers on our wide open roads—i.e., you and me.