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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Noem on Farm Subsidies: Everybody Else Gets $200K a Year from Uncle Sam, Right?

In an interview with the Rapid City Journal a couple weeks ago, South Dakota's GOP candidate for U.S. House Kristi Noem addressed the question of her family's huge reliance on federal farm subsidies. Watch the video:

Says Noem:

What our family has done is participate in the farm programs. And so the farm programs I think essentially almost every farmer in South Dakota has participated in those, and they haven't been bailouts they have been programs that the United States has put forward for farmers to participate in.

It's all about national security, says Noem, so we don't have to depend on other countries for food. Fear, everyone. Fear.

Noem says every farmer and rancher would prefer more risk management programs to direct payments, a position she's taken in other discussions like the State Fair debate.

Noem concludes by claiming, "We've done what every other farmer and rancher has done by participating in those [programs]."

Actually, no, Kristi. You haven't done what every other farmer and rancher has done. As the invaluable Environmental Working Group notes, the vast majority of farmers get little benefit from farm subsidy programs. 26% of South Dakota farmers get no subsidies. 10% of South Dakota farmers claim 61% of the subsidies sent to our state. The bottom 80% have collected an average of $1,334 per year since 1995. The top 10% have collected an average of $35,077 per year since 1995.

Your family, Kristi, has taken over three million dollars in subsidies over the last 15 years. That's $200,000 per year. That's more federal handouts than all but 17 other farm operations in the entire state have taken over the same period. Three million dollars is six times the amount I've earned in paychecks since 1995.

On farm subsidies, Kristi Noem again demonstrates her inability to square the anti-government, free-market principles she spouts for her Tea Party supporters with her family's dependence on federal handouts for fiscal viability.


  1. Cory, please refer to Sam Hurst's Dakota Day article. It is worth the read.



  2. I love her logic. If it's national security related it's ok.

    So by that logic, the bailout were essential to our national security. We certainly don't want foreign companies buying up our banks! It's nice to see that Noem was in favor of the bailouts.

    Her other choice description was calling farmer welfare programs "programs put forth by the government". If a program that is put forth by the government can hand out money to farmers, why can't they hand out cash to anyone else? Noem cerainly can't be against welfare, unemployment insurance, medicare, social security, etc. These are all simply programs put forth by the government, right?

  3. Logic, Tony? There was logic?

    You capture the argument's flaws perfectly, Tony. Her language about "programs put forth by the government" sounds very weaselly, very passive voice, distant from responsibility... and distant from exactly the logical conclusions you point out she has to face. Imagine the national security nightmare we could face if we crashed the economy, couldn't afford fuel for our bombers and tanks, and had to quell worker riots here at home.

  4. If it's something she likes, they're "programs." If they're something she doesn't like (even if, like the stimulus, it saved or created over 1 million jobs), they're "government waste."

    Can't have it both ways, Kristi.


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