Under Toby's apt inquiry into the South Dakota values expressed by Governor Dennis Daugaard's State of the State address, eager reader Wayne questions the Governor's cherry-picking of economic data:
"In the third quarter last year, personal income growth compared to the same quarter in 2012 was the highest in the nation. We have reached another important milestone as well, as our per capita income now exceeds the national average. Numbers available for 2012 indicate that the average South Dakotan earns about 3.8 percent more than the average American," Daugaard said.
It's true- our per capita income for 2012 was $43,659 (US was $42,693), but we dropped from 12th place in 2011 (at $44,217) to 18th place in 2012. Our per capita income dropped $560 and he's touting it.
Moreover, since the MEDIAN household income for South Dakotans is $46,456, (compared to the US Median of $55,030), more than half of our families still make less than half of all American families. That tells us the gains in per capita income are ill distributed amongst us [Wayne B., comment to Toby Uecker, "State of the State Confuses: Independence or Handouts the South Dakota Value?" Madville Times, 2014.01.15].
Things at least look better for Daugaard than for that predecessor of his who's running for Senate. Real income dropped for a majority of South Dakotans under the Rounds Administration. The only real boost in median income coincided with the 2009 federal stimulus. But since Daugaard took the reins, South Dakota's real median income has done nothing impressive.
Economic development isn't just a statistics competition with Minnesota and the national average. Economic development means developing South Dakota's economy so South Dakotans have more money and more liberty than they did before. As Wayne's statement and the above data show, Mike Rounds and Dennis Daugaard have thus far failed to move that needle for a majority of South Dakota workers.