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Johnson, Thune, Noem All Support Corruption-Prone EB-5 Program

The EB-5 visa program that is blowing up in South Dakota was supposed to end last year. But Congress and the President extended it through Fiscal Year 2015 last year with Senate Bill 3245. The Senate passed it by unanimous consent, meaning Senators Tim Johnson and John Thune stayed consistent with their long-standing support for the EB-5 program.

Rep. Kristi Noem also showed no daylight between herself and her predecessor in South Dakota's lone House seat, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. Only three members of Congress voted against extending EB-5 last year: Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).

Selling green cards for $500,000 is an easy way to infuse the American economy with foreign investment. But the EB-5 program appears to be easy bait for financial and political shenanigans in South Dakota, Texas, and elsewhere. Perhaps South Dakota's economic development scandal will provoke Senators Johnson and Thune and Rep. Noem to realize that the EB-5 program is bad immigration policy that creates too much temptation for "entrepreneurs" with shaky business plans and government officials who see an unwatched cookie jar. Time to reverse your position, Tim, John, and Kristi, and propose a repeal of the EB-5 program.


  1. Joe 2013.11.06

    I discussed this with Daschle years ago about the program and he explained the plan and why he supported it. However what South Dakota was doing was to the extremes of this program. As discussed by the Argusleader it was meant more for people who were involved with a similar business in a foreign country to come to the United States to continue performing the same thing they did.

  2. Jenny 2013.11.06

    This EB-5 government program should have been scrapped years ago. It's hard to believe that Rounds and company actually thought they could build a multi-million dollar meatpacking plant from scratch with a South Dakota brand and then live happily ever after. Maybe this could have been done 100 yrs ago, but not today. The food industry is controlled by a few giant corporations that own it all. There are only a handful of meatpacking plants left in this country that control where and how meat is processed. Doomed from the start. I'm surprised SD ranchers and farmers that are in the business of food production (someone, anyone) didn't speak up and say "wait, wait, wait, wait, is this really going to work?" I guess everyone wanted some of the gravy train.

  3. Bree S. 2013.11.06

    I can't imagine that they weren't informed that there wasn't enough inventory in the area to satisfy the supply needs of the plant. I don't think they wanted to hear it. What gravy train for ranchers are you talking about? How does this grossly underutilized meat packing plant increase prices at the sale barn for livestock producers? Country of origin labeling, South Dakota Certified Beef.. producers were completely uninterested. And please explain to me what in the heck a meat packing plant that there was no market for in the first place has to do with a gravy train for farmers?? If there was a market for a meat packing plant in Aberdeen a large agricultural company in the business of meat packing with the expertise to build such a plant would have built it already. Did the stupid meddling state government really think it was going to pick a winner that the free market missed? Do you really think they didn't know it was a bad project? They had to jump through hoops, breaking federal law funneling money through shell corporations just to get eb5 investors on board. How many agricultural banks do you think turned them down? They wanted their fee, that's all they cared about. The only people benefiting from building this plant were corrupt government officials and their corrupt ex-government cronies. The investors, contractors that built the plant, housing development, and people employed by the plant all got screwed over. And it sure didn't have anything to do with farmers and ranchers.

  4. interested party 2013.11.06

    moral hazard.

  5. Jenny 2013.11.06

    Someone should have spoken up. I think what I was trying to say is that this all looked good for SD - too good. Hey we have our own brand! Something for a small rural state to feel good about. I didn't mean to target farmers, but it just seems like farmers, ranchers and the legislators would have known this was not feasible and spoken up. Was there ever any townhall meetings in Aberdeen to educate the public on this, a question and answer sort of thing? Was anyone questioning, wondering why it was taking forever to be built? So many questions
    The moral of the story I would say to South Dakotans is how many corrupt, crony government fraudulent business dealings (Anderson Seed, Turkey Plant, NBP, etc) have to happen before you step up and say "Houston we have a problem"

  6. Amy 2013.11.06

    People have been speaking up - for years. Yes, there were town hall style meetings. At the start of the project, when Hellwig began. He did go about that the right way. The project took on an entirely different color when he hired Palmer and the corrupt relationships with the State began. As someone in Aberdeen since 2008, I can tell you that people have been outraged and saddened for years. That has not lessened whatsoever. What we hope for now is justice. The good old boys need to be brought down. From Rounds on down, and the circle is big.

  7. Bree S. 2013.11.06

    You do realize the plant wasn't built by the government. I guess you expected the town of Aberdeen to picket a private company that promised them jobs.

    What percentage of farmers and ranchers, and legislators for that matter, do you think know anything about meat-packing plants. Most ranchers think they're getting screwed by the feedlots when in fact margins are typically quite slim and many have gone belly up recently. Your average agricultural producer doesn't know anything beyond what he gets paid for his product.

    Anyone that did know it wasn't feasible was ignored. I highly doubt there was anyone involved in the process of finding financing for this project that didn't know it was crap.

    Don't deflect your anger onto the everyday people of South Dakota who were in the dark. The people of South Dakota are only responsible insofar as they complacently elect and reelect liars to office. Your anger is best directed at the GOED. They are the ones responsible to the public, responsible for evaluating these projects. Its no accident that these deals were secretly handled by a private entity without oversight, an arrangement that included a contract limiting any liability for the GOED. They went out of their way to hide their dealings. So don't be mad at Rancher Joe down the street for not speaking up. He's no more accountable for this than any other citizen of this state.

  8. Bree S. 2013.11.06

    Previous was a response to Jenny.

  9. Jenny 2013.11.06

    Oh, but Bree, I'm not angry. I don't even live in SD anymore, just a bit saddened and perplexed why South Dakotans continually to vote these cronies in election after election. SD deserves much better.

  10. Bree S. 2013.11.06

    I agree with you Jenny, it is sad and South Dakota does deserve better.

  11. Jenny 2013.11.06

    I think you do underestimate ag producers. They know a lot more about the business of food in this country than you think.

  12. Bree S. 2013.11.06

    I don't tend to open my mouth about topics that I am ignorant of.

  13. Jenny 2013.11.06

    What is that supposed to mean, Bree? You're saying you don't know about food production in the country?

  14. Jenny 2013.11.06

    But I'm sure you do know about corporate welfare and ag subsidies, Bree. That is something I get ticked about, wealthy farm corporations that receive government welfare checks (let's not kid ourselves) that don't need them and would do just fine without them. It's time to get rid of a wasteful part of government, let's stop farm welfare.

  15. Bree S. 2013.11.06

    Lol, Jenny.

    To get back to the topic we were on, let's pretend you're a nurse. I won't ask you what you do for a living because that would be rude and an invasion of privacy, so we'll just pretend you work as an LPN.

    You work in a nursing 8 hours a day, pushing a cart up and down hallways giving old people their shots and medicine. Sometimes you even help the CNAs change Depends and clean up vomit.

    One day you find out on the evening news that a couple of employees in the billing department at a hospital in the next town over have been defrauding people with bogus charges, small fees on their statements. They've been especially targeting the elderly, who have trouble reading and understanding their hospital bills. These two people have stolen millions of dollars from sick old people over a number years.

    Now Jenny, you're a nurse. You know about health care and sick old people. In fact it's your job to take care of them. Why didn't you speak up? Why didn't you do something about it? You let poor old people get taken advantage of even though it's your job to take care of them. What do you have to say for yourself? Shouldn't you be held accountable for what goes on in the health care industry?

  16. Bree S. 2013.11.06

    *nursing home

  17. Bree S. 2013.11.06

    By the way, Jenny, I completely agree with you about agricultural subsidies. Ag subsidies are a wealth redistribution system created by Democrats and intended to prop up the small family farm to keep it viable in an industry with slim margins. Those Ag subsidies are probably the only reason Democrats get any votes in rural areas of South Dakota. You should definitely get rid of them.

    Of course, I didn't even know there were any corporate farms in South Dakota. That's news to me, but you seem to be the expert on the subject.

  18. Deb Geelsdottir 2013.11.07

    Oh yeah, there are corporate farms in SD.

    I grew up on a family farm in central SD. My parents and our neighbors were well aware of the the path food took from our fields to urban tables.

    We knew that the weather in Russia and China had a direct affect on our prices. We knew that our prices diminished with consolidation of meat packers, especially when the 7-8 bidders at the sale barn declined to 2-3. We knew the cost comparisons between selling calves as babies in the fall, feeders the next spring, or feeding them out. We knew exactly what it cost us at each stage, and what it cost the big feedlot company. We kept an eye on the legislature and on Congress and the Dept. of Ag.

    Bree, most farmers and ranchers who've had any success know everything there is to know about the commodities they produce from top to bottom, for themselves, their neighbors, another state, another country. We have to know - or fail. It's just good business, and most people in agriculture are good business people.

  19. Bree S. 2013.11.07

    Well Deb, as another expert on the agricultural industry in this discussion, please explain a successful meat packing plant to me. I'd like to know average profit margins, normal business cycle length, the usual economy of scale for optimum profitability, and the necessary available supply for that scale.

  20. Jenny 2013.11.07

    I would say JES farms is a corporation.

  21. Bree S. 2013.11.07

    Since you feel the need to know all about and discuss my family's business dealings on a public blog, bitter feminist twit, J.E.S. Farms is a sole proprietorship. The J.E.S. Farms Partnership that leases the land is also not a corporation. In case you missed the statute, corporate farms are illegal in South Dakota. The farm is entirely a private family operation of which there are three members: my father-in-law, my mother-in-law, and my husband. Is that enough personal family information for you, or do you need something else to suck on?

    Do your ears steam when men open doors for you? I bet you give them dirty looks.

  22. Jenny 2013.11.07

    I bet you were quite the bully in school huh, Bree? I'm sure Cory doesn't care for the name-calling on his blog.

  23. interested party 2013.11.07

    she's pregnant, jenny: cut her some slack.

  24. Bree S. 2013.11.07

    Maybe you should stop projecting your negative personality traits onto other people, Jenny. The only bully in this thread is you, as you've been trying to irritate me for our entire conversation. You wanted a response from me by going after my family, and you've got it now.

    Is the evil rich man and his corporation keeping you down? Is it an unfair world? Do you hate every person who has more than you? I bet you're in love with hyphenated names as well. This patriarchal society is so unfair to you. High heels are medieval torture devices created by men, right Jenny? Women who wear make up are sell-outs. Conservative women are stupid. Rich men are evil. Have I got your world view about pegged?

    Not only are you a bitter feminist twit, you are also rude and classless.

    Larry, don't be a sexist. Jenny will eat you.

  25. Jenny 2013.11.07

    No Bree, you're the one with the arrogant condescending personality. Go change a diaper.

  26. Bree S. 2013.11.07

    My confidence in my strength as a woman is internal, Jenny. Yours is a facade that requires external props.

  27. Deb Geelsdottir 2013.11.07

    Easy Bree. I am not pretending to be a farm expert. I told you there are corporate farms and I explained to you how knowledgeable my parents and neighbors were about the world around us and the effect on markets. That includes related costs. I said those things in response to your intimation that farmers/ranchers are basically ignorant and uninformed.

    You really do have an incredibly short fuse Bree. You consistently take offense when none is given. Disagreement is not synonymous with attack. Relax, engage, question, wonder, argue - minus personal attacks, ok? We can learn from one another.

  28. Lynn G. 2013.11.07

    Bree S and Jenny we are all frustrated about what the has been going on in government nationally and in our state. Both of your contributions in this blog have helped educate me and further motivate. It's nice to know I'm not the only one ticked at times! lol Each of us have different experiences and perspectives to draw from to help each other. We just have to be careful how we direct that frustration.

  29. Bree S. 2013.11.07

    Deb, you grew up on a farm. Therefore, you know all about financing meat packing plants. Please educate the rest of us.

    Deb, I don't appreciate negativity directed at my family. I don't appreciate Jenny's negativity, and I don't appreciate yours. What exactly do you think you are going to accomplish? You are wasting your time with such weak-minded nonsense.

    Lol. Admittedly, bitter feminists are my least favorite creatures and I can barely stomache a conversation with people with such a strong victim mentality, but where are you getting the nonsense that I have a short fuse and consistently take offense? I am a strong-minded person with strong opinions, and I will keep them. You do seem to like to try to rewrite reality.

    Deb unless you're ready with that financial analysis of the meat-packing industry, I am completely uninterested in anything you think you can teach me. I only engage at my own time and choosing.

  30. Jenny 2013.11.07

    Bree's impossible to have a conversation with, Deb. As you can tell, very condescending. It all started with me saying farmers and ranchers should have spoken out, and according to Amy they did. This plant was being built for ranchers and that's the only reason why I made that comment.

  31. Bree S. 2013.11.07

    Well as long as I'm talking to feminists, there's something I'm curious about. What happens say Smith-Jones marries Wilkenson-Thompson. Do the children get named Smith-Jones-Wilkenson-Thompson? Do they get to pick one name from each like Smith-Thompson or Jones-Wilkenson? Or do you just create a new combination name like "Smijowilthom?" Always wondered about that.

  32. interested party 2013.11.07

    why do you comment at madville, bree?

  33. Bree S. 2013.11.07

    Why do you comment at Madville, Larry? Honestly, I like Cory and his blog. Sure, I agree with almost nothing with him on the political spectrum I imagine but he's principled. I like principled people of any political persuasion. And he runs a good blog.

  34. Deb Geelsdottir 2013.11.07

    I know Jenny. I gave some thought to whether to try or not. I should have listened to the voice that said, 'Dont do it, don't do it. She doesn't listen.' Oh well.

    At least we know it's not personal. She gets angry and defensive with everyone. In the past there was a blog commenter who was similarly impossible to have a conversation with. I got so I simply disregarded his comments, didn't read them at all. I was tired of hitting myself in the head with a ball peen hammer. Looks like this one is going in the same direction.

    The pity is, I can talk to someone like Doug about lots of things, except race. Can't talk to Bree about anything. Yeah. Enough of the ball peen hammer.

  35. Jerry 2013.11.07

    Holy smokes Bree S. you outfit got around 5 million bucks in subsidies from the farm bills! Exciting times I'll bet, how can you loose with the stuff you use.

    In the meantime, South Dakota families are getting their food cut and are going hungry.

  36. Nick Nemec 2013.11.07

    Maybe I can help get this conversation back on track. The average South Dakota farmer or rancher had only a remote passing awareness that a beef packing plant was being built in Aberdeen. They had no inside information of interest to alert the media or State government of any pending train wreck. And why should they have any more awareness than any other person, they had no money invested. Any cattle bought by the plant would have next to no affect on the price any producer would receive for cattle. The only gravy train here is for those political types who might have been getting commissions, kickbacks, or campaign contributions spun off from all the cash for green cards floating around.

    Train wreck awareness in this case was at least in part the responsibility of State government since so much State effort was expended over the years to get the project going, but blindness caused by flying gravy limited the State's ability to step in and stop abuses of the visa program.

    I'm not sure but it seems Bree S. and Jenny have bad blood from some other thread that has spilled over into this conversation, I don't see anything Jenny has said here that would indicate she is some sort of irrational feminist as Bree S. as claimed and I think Jenny's tracking down Bree S.'s family business information is a personal attack that adds nothing to this conversation.

    Let's not loose sight of the big picture here, a man is dead and likely not from a suicide and from what I've read both of you are disgusted with the way State government handled this program.

  37. Bree S. 2013.11.07

    There are certainly a lot more interesting things to talk about than farming, Deb. Take Wiken for example. He enjoys talking about "mythology."

  38. Bree S. 2013.11.07

    No, I don't know her. Any bad blood is entirely on her side.

  39. Jenny 2013.11.07

    I'm not disgusted and I don't even know Bree. I just get on Cory's blog out of boredom. Bree and I can find some common ground. We both like Cory and his blog. I personally think Cory should seriously think about running for state legislator someday. South Dakotans need a progressive leader badly.

  40. interested party 2013.11.07

    why should your operations owners not submit to UA before receiving subsidies, bree?

  41. Jenny 2013.11.07

    I agree, interested party. I personally like to know where my tax dollars are going. If only all of our tax dollars were transparent like that.

  42. Bree S. 2013.11.07

    If you mean underwriting analysis (?) Larry there are only a handful of underwriters smart enough to understand my in-laws tax returns since they're about 300 pages long.

    Jenny, whatever subsidies my in-laws get a year don't cover the cost for the free houses with all utilities and all maintenance paid, free gas, and huge bonuses employees get even when the farm loses tons of money. If you want to see a couple of bleeding hearts in action that's my in-laws who won't spend a dime on themselves. I can't even get them to buy a new fridge, meanwhile the employees get new appliances. So back off my family because they are better people than you could ever hope to be.

  43. Bree S. 2013.11.07

    Meanwhile, if you want to continue to attack farming subsidies I hope every rural Democrat in the state reads your stupidity.

  44. Jenny 2013.11.07

    You don't know me so you can't compare you. You on the other hand have called me all sorts of rude names tonights, so I think that speaks for itself.
    Is health insurance included? I'd rather have health insurance for my employees than new appliances.

    Have a good evening Bree.

  45. Jenny 2013.11.07

    can't compare 'me'.

  46. Jenny 2013.11.07

    Face it, your in-laws are republican hypocrites who love govt handouts, and you're the stupid one for getting on a progressive blog.

  47. Bree S. 2013.11.07

    Yes Jenny, all Republicans are evil hypocrites and you are the poor innocent victim.

  48. Nick Nemec 2013.11.07

    I'm a farmer and as such I oppose any efforts to hide payment info from the American public. Stories of anti-ag terrorism are over-hyped propaganda from politicians like Congresswoman Noem and are used to churn up fear in their constituents and make it look like they are actually doing something.

    During my time in the legislature, now 20 years ago, there was a bill that made it a crime to make disparaging remarks about agriculture products. If memory serves me right it eventually became law. I opposed it because I felt it was a blatant violation of the First Amendment free speech protections. Several years later Oprah Winfrey was charged and tried in Texas for violating a similar law. I think she was found not guilty.

  49. Bree S. 2013.11.07

    Well Jenny, since you are so fascinated with my family I will be happy to publicly discuss all my family's business with you. Yes, we provide health insurance to the employees. However, there are only about 25 employees so we are not required to provide them insurance. We've heard that insurance rates will double in South Dakota. I suggested making them pay their own utilities which wouldn't save a ton of money but it would help get us there and my MIL doesn't want to do that. If we dump the employees on the exchanges and give them a raise instead taxes will be taken out and we looked and insurance is $1000 a month for a family. We are considering the possibility of switching to HSA insurance and partially funding employee accounts. But really its a problem, we don't know what will happen and we hope that we can still afford to provide them with insurance.

    Do you know enough about my family's private business or do you have a few more impertinent questions?

  50. grudznick 2013.11.07

    Mrs. S, I think your employees will be much better off after Mr. Rhoden is in office with his common sense conservatism.

  51. Roger Cornelius 2013.11.07

    There are two certainties about blog comments:

    1. Everybody is an expert on any subject.

    2. Nobody is an expert on any subject.

  52. Nick Nemec 2013.11.07

    And it never pays to try to break up a dog fight.

  53. Bree S. 2013.11.07

    I appreciate the effort Nick, as well as backing up the fact that farmers and ranchers didn't know anything about the meatpacking plant in Aberdeen. As a Democrat your opinion is more credible than mine on this blog and I don't think either one of us want everyday working farmers and ranchers blamed or attacked for something they couldn't possibly have had any knowledge of.

  54. Douglas Wiken 2013.11.07

    "The pity is, I can talk to someone like Doug about lots of things, except race. Can't talk to Bree about anything. Yeah. Enough of the ball peen hammer."

    Oh, you can talk to me about race too, but most of the time what you think is "race" is actually the distinction between reality and pollyannish? wishful assumptions.

  55. Roger Cornelius 2013.11.07

    Don't you mean cat fight, Nick?

  56. Nick Nemec 2013.11.08

    Trying to not be sexist.

  57. Jenny 2013.11.08

    Again Bree, I wasn't attacking farmers and ranchers, I was asking questions.
    I grew up on a farm and have respect for one of the hardest, most dangerous jobs around.

  58. Lynn G. 2013.11.08

    I have an admiration for farmers and ranchers also. Growing up and into adulthood they were our customers, friends and relatives. When they did well we did well. When they suffered we suffered. I've always been amazed at the skills required to do what they do. Also the costs to run those operations including equipment. Yikes!

  59. Bree S. 2013.11.08

    Sure Jenny. Next time you think you've got a brilliant plan to sink someone, make sure you're not in the boat. And try to be more original. We've been through the "my in-laws are hand out-loving Republican hypocrites" storyline a few times already.

  60. interested party 2013.11.08

    we screw the other guy and pass the savings on to us: right, bree?

  61. Bree S. 2013.11.08

    Good morning, Larry.

  62. joseph g thompson 2013.11.08

    Really interesting blog comments. Cory writes about how the Democrats and Republicans in Congress continues to support a really bad visa program, and most of the comments are negative comments directed towards BreeS's family.

  63. Jenny 2013.11.08

    ROFL! I certainly don't seen anything brilliant coming from you Bree, except screeching around and bullying.

  64. interested party 2013.11.08

    Mr. Thompson: Bree spouts platitudes about principles while enjoying all the perks of democracy. The ruling class no longer needs the middle class: give the proletariat just enough to maintain an infrastructure so goods go to market.

    Bree's corporate benefactors have abused a system built by the Doles, the McGoverns and the Daschles and now bitch about government overreach: hypocrisy on parade.

  65. Bree S. 2013.11.08

    Of course I'm not brilliant, Jenny. I'm attractive. I'm conservative. I'm Republican. It's a known Feminist Law of the Universe that the uglier you are, the smarter you are. That's how the universe keeps things in balance, right? So unattractive women get a piece of the pie too? And conservatives, of course, are dumber than liberals. And don't even get me started on those Republicans. So I must be at least three times dumber than the average liberal feminist, who are all geniuses and bastions of morality.

  66. Bree S. 2013.11.08

    Okay I'll bite. What corporate benefactors, Larry.

  67. Jenny 2013.11.08

    Exactly IP, I'm just speaking the truth is all. Anyone that demonizes a single mom on welfare, while at the same time getting government checks themselves, and then advocates to cut her food stamps is a major, major hypocrite. Then to top it all off, they pride themselves on being christians.

  68. Bree S. 2013.11.08

    You've obviously never been poor and lived in an area of urban decay Jenny. I have. Your view of the wonderfulness of welfare and food stamps is naive and white-washed.

  69. Bree S. 2013.11.08

    Um, corporate benefactors, Larry. I'm still confused.

  70. interested party 2013.11.08

    Do you and your children not enjoy the fruits produced by at least one corporation, Bree?

  71. Bree S. 2013.11.08

    So, I eat Tyson chicken therefore I am especially more evil than everyone else who eats chicken, because my family has a big farm? Okay, Larry. You might want to expand that worldview just a little bit.

  72. interested party 2013.11.08

    i'm headed to home depot to buy materials for a sauna then go have a two cocktail lunch with Our Lady of the Arroyo: expand your own worldview.

  73. Bree S. 2013.11.08

    Not Home Depot Larry! You will become tainted. Be careful, my brother.

  74. Roger Cornelius 2013.11.08

    It appears that now would be a good time to throw socialism into the discussion of farm subsidizes and the not mentioned conservation payments made to farmers and ranchers. Added to the benefits of the agricultural industry are numerous tax breaks for the business itself, as well as for employees in the industry and of course there are the insurance subsidizes.
    The agricultural industry ranks right up there with Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, food stamps, etc. and has all but removed itself from the capitalistic free market society we once prided ourselves on.
    Granted, farmers and ranchers work hard, it is their choice and their risk. Any number of people in our labor force work hard and for less. As I look out the window, I see 3 men, probably working at near minimum wage, loading my dumpster, they toil from sunrise to sunset providing an invaluable service to our community.
    In explaining the importance of the labor force to me, my father asked,"if all the Phd's and garbage men in this country went on strike, who would you miss first?
    The socialization of agriculture bothers me.
    Conservatives and the tea party in particular, criticize Democrats with regularity about funding and supporting socialistic programs and making Americans dependent on the government. I would assume than that all farmers and rancher are Democrats.
    On the other hand, out of their deep conviction that socialism is evil and is the undoing of our country, Republican farmers and ranchers would rather reject government handouts as a matter of compromising their principals and beliefs.
    Or is that Republicans that believe in the high standards of their party believe in Socialism when it hands them lucrative financial rewards?

  75. Bree S. 2013.11.08

    While I'm homeschooling my children, my family will be paying to put everyone else's kids through school. While the employees take home big bonuses and then blow them on motorcycles and new boats rather than saving anything for the future, the farm will lose at least $100 an acre planting corn next year. Probably won't make anything off the soybeans, we will have to try to break even in feeders. While my family deals with stresses of million dollar problems we keep people employed anyway so their kids can eat. I remember one guy I hired two years ago whose wife was 8 and a half months pregnant and he was out of work. I hired him. This "born-again Christian" proceeded to get drunk and not work. Despite the fact that he was on salary with health insurance, a three bedroom house, and a vehicle to drive (since he never seemed to manage to afford his own) we'd see his wife at the local food pantry, picking up groceries. Despite the fact that he was an awful employee we didn't fire him until his youngest child was 14 months old, so that his wife would be able to get a job and support his lazy bum. Another employee I hired who begged for a job got a four bedroom house, salary, and health insurance, and a truck to drive. Apparently that wasn't enough because he lied to the secretary to collect $40 a month for supposed business use on a cellphone, after I gave him a business phone to use because he claimed he couldn't afford minutes.

    The farm lets employees keep horses on the farm for free, but they're supposed to pay for their own hay in the winter. One employee who was fired a few years ago lived in a four bedroom house for free (with utilities paid of course), salary, with health insurance. He racked up seven horses on the farm and would steal thousands of dollars of hay from the farm. He was keeping other people's horses on the farm, and charging the owners for keep.

    Every last one of those people who were fired trashed my family's name around town, telling lies about how unfair it was they were fired and how badly they were treated. I am sick to death of hearing about how evil "rich people" are and how wonderful every last poor person is and how unfair the world is. Several of the employees live off quite a bit more than I do a month. Meanwhile we are perfectly aware that they are stealing gas for personal use and overcharging the farm for mileage.

    The lot of you need to get over yourselves. People of every social strata are liars and thieves. Being poor or a "working man" isn't a ticket to heaven or proof of moral superiority. Lawyers get paid more than garbage men because they worked hard and spent grueling years in college. A lawyer isn't automatically evil just because he's a lawyer. A garbage man isn't a wonderful hard-working person just because he's blue collar. The lot of you seem to want to destroy the American dream by paying garbage men just as much lawyers. You will have no lawyers then, only garbage men because there will be no incentive to try harder.

  76. Douglas Wiken 2013.11.08

    I gotta check my pulse. I agree with most of what Bree wrote in her last comment.

    I do however suspect that the "greed" of the garbageman for extreme wealth and power might be just a bit less than that of an attorney or doctor for that matter. In any case there are rational reasons to provide incentives to lawyers, doctors, medical researchers, physics researchers, and even education researchers. It does seem we might do something to regulate excess however.

    Much as the doctor was pleasant, I did not quite think that $130 was an appropriate charge for 5 minutes of consultation even if it was the day before the 4th of July and everybody in the clinic was on tiptoes ready to dash out of there.$1500 per hour did seem a bit rich for prescribing a 20-year old antibiotic. I won't bore you with the details of my interaction with insurance company and pharmacy.

  77. Jenny 2013.11.08

    Oh please, Bree. We all know there are lazy people. I would quit buying them houses and cars. You're going about it all wrong. Men want to be able to buy their family a house with their OWN money. That makes them feel worth and value to their family. How about just pay farm laborers a living wage? That would motivate most people. I know what the wages in SD are and it's not cheap to live in Pierre. I bet everyone one of those guys if they were asked if they wanted a house provided for them (that's not really theirs in the first place) or a 25/hr wage, I can guarantee to you most of them would go for that 25 bucks an hours. That's the way to motivate most people.

  78. Jenny 2013.11.08

    And Roger, Garbage men help keep people healthy and we would all start missing them in a week right when we start getting sick from the unsanitary conditions.

  79. Bree S. 2013.11.08

    Jenny, now you're starting to speak my language. I totally agree that taking care of people like that is damaging to their sense of well-being. People crave the sense of accomplishment that comes from responsibility, being dependable and accomplished gives them a sense of pride. They feel good about themselves, take pride in their work and what they own. Having someone take care of you, do everything for you, is depressing and makes a person feel worthless. What is going on the farm is essentially a form of welfare, and the destruction of people's happiness and self-worth on welfare I have seen first hand from the streets, so of course I am against this set up. I have argued to have them pay their own utilities and a percentage of rent, so that they could value that portion of their wage instead of taking it for granted. Not every employee lives on the farm, they receive a housing allowance increase in their wage instead. However kicking people out of the houses would be a hardship for them because people sell their outdated run down houses around here for $180/sq ft. I imagine the explosion in the number of state employees has created a shortage in the market as they move here. Its not easy to find any reasonably priced housing near the farm, since we're next to the river where everyone who works in town apparently wants to live.

    Are you in college, Jenny? Or high school? You don't demonstrate much sense. If farmers paid people $25/hr to drive tractors in circles either the American farming industry would be destroyed and world food prices would increase astronomically, or it might barely survive with food prices increasing astronomically to cover the increase in labor costs. Under either scenario the third world and Middle East go up in flames and a billion people die from starvation and civil war. You obviously don't understand the critical importance of the American farmer. But hey, its your world, go ahead and destroy it with your genius ideas.

  80. joseph g thompson 2013.11.08

    Mr. IP(just for you)
    The Democrats and Republicans have taken so much from the middle class to support the upper class and the lower class that there is not much more middle class to take from. Dem leadership sees middle class ending at 250,000, Repub leadership sees it at 1,000,000. If you think 250,000 for a family income is rich you have lived in SD for too long. All I am trying to say is that until people see that as a class Representatives, Senators, high political appointees and the President are all the 1% that many of you scream about, nothing is going to change. The middle class is a cow that has been milked by everybody until it has run dry and the rich don't have enough money to solve the problem we have. It is unsolvable, that is the reality. So as you and I set here and argue about things we have no control over, the rest of America, sucked dry by both the rich and an underclass that is the envy of most of the rest of the world, is slowly starting to come apart. Welcome to reality, although most of you will deny it. Last post here Larry, cause I do respect you a lot and don't want to sound like I am lecturing you. Last thought, remember quickly the Berlin wall came down, how fast the USSR disappeared, but then it can't happen here can it.

  81. interested party 2013.11.08

    Livestock is most of the food being grown unless wheat, pulse crops or sugar beets are produced: value-added is what found EB-5 a home in the state. How anyone can make a profit growing livestock feed on eleven thousand dollar an acre ground sustainably is beyond me.

    The Rio Grande is nearly dry here but alfalfa remains king: it's mystifying.

  82. Jenny 2013.11.08

    Come on Bree. We all like those easy tax write offs don't we. And salaried farm workers are the best, work 'em sun up to sun down.

  83. interested party 2013.11.08

    Am on the iPhone, Mr. Thompson, so a long thank you will have to be deferred until another time.

  84. Bree S. 2013.11.08

    Jenny don't we have some homework to do or a report to write? I know its hard to get over your guilt-complex for being born into a well-off American family, but don't you have more important things to do than running down anyone you think is richer than you and castigating them so you can feel better about yourself?

    Have you considered the possibility that there are other reasons to put people on salary, maybe because it provides them with a dependable secure source of income in an industry that is generally seasonal? Or do you consider anything other than your self-hatred for your own roots when you open your mouth?

  85. Roger Cornelius 2013.11.08

    Businessmen andwomen in almost all segment of our society provide assistance to their employees that are not required. They will loan or give money for a utility bill, a mortgage or rent payment, a family crisis, etc. It is done out of goodwill and because they value their employees.

    The difference being, that they are not likely to get reimbursed for their deeds by a socialistic industry that will receive a subsidy or tax credit in some form. The question being, who really pays for the good deeds that farmers provide their employees in the form of housing, utilities, vehicles, etc?
    Our country will forever have the garbage men and others that do menial labor, many are happy to do it and love their jobs, it is their lot in life and they probably have a measure of happiness. Our social and economic society dictates that we will always be those that are less fortunate and an upper class society that says "pull yourself up and be like me" and you are a welfare burden for doing so. Not realizing that many people have reached the pinnacle of their life doing what they are doing, the working poor should never be condemned for their role in society. The reality is, if there were no working poor, the upper class would have to actually get their hands dirty.

  86. Jenny 2013.11.08

    I just stand up for the underdog is all. I think your farm would do just fine if you paid your laborers, oh, let's say 18/hr. That is really not that much in today's world, Bree. You and your family should do some homework yourselves and see how much further you've put the country into debt with other people's money.
    Have a good evening. Be sure to thank your workers for all the hard work they do.

  87. Bree S. 2013.11.08

    Jenny, you don't have the slightest idea what we pay the majority of the employees. But thanks for all the assumptions.

  88. Bree S. 2013.11.08

    Agreed Roger. The hardworking blue collar people are just as important in their role in society as the suits at the top. My father is a mechanic and he likes being a mechanic. He's a great mechanic too, a gearbox specialist, and I swear he could build a house from scratch. But he's driving truck now though and I don't think he likes it much. He's gone from home several days a week. But he can't really work as a mechanic anymore because he had to have surgery on both shoulders. That's the bad thing about hands on labor intensive jobs. You can't really do them when you're old.

  89. Lynn G. 2013.11.08

    joseph g Thompson, I know your reply was for Larry but what do you believe would be a solution? You bring up some good points. Democrats and Republicans are both to blame and there are layers and layers to the issues we have today. Sometimes I think we need a multi-party system as an alternative and provide competition. Even though the two big parties are different in some ways they are the same in other ways and that can be big negative.

  90. Deb Geelsdottir 2013.11.08

    I want to insert a reminder here in the arguments about socialism, who deserves help and who doesn't, etc.

    I don't think anyone argues with wanting to remove scammers/liars/cheats from any kind of assistance. But in your zeal to do so, what ironclad protections will you build in to protect the people deeply in need of government help to survive? The mentally disabled, the young man paralyzed by an uninsured drunk driver, etc.

    We cannot dessert them. We cannot forget them. We cannot 'hope for the best' or assume that their family or church can make up the difference.

  91. joseph g thompson 2013.11.08

    There is no good solution only bad ones.

  92. Roger Cornelius 2013.11.08

    The solution is a simple one, remove socialism from the agricultural industry.

  93. grudznick 2013.11.08

    Stop homeschooling and send more kiddies to Sully Buttes High School. Go Chargers!

  94. rollin potter 2013.11.09

    roger, I kinda agree with you but you stopped too quick on removing socialism from the ag industry! There are a few other industries out there that get some pretty good subsidies also!!!!!

  95. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.11.09

    Whew—can we put down the clubs and return to the issue? EB-5 is bad policy. It separates investors from their capital and its uses. On the dairy side, South Dakota's use of it wasn't even pro-farmer, since it favored a handful of operators running mega-CAFOs while putting lots of small operators out of business. Heck, at first, it even favored a handful of East River counties over the rest of the state. Even though Bollen, Benda, and Rounds amended the EB-5 program to include nearly the entire state, the only West River project has been the Deadwood Mountain Grand (a favor to co-owner and SD big wheel Ron Wheeler?).

    EB-5 is corporate welfare, handed out to certain favored projects at the expense of other market players and the communities left devastated by two high-profile, high-dollar bankruptcies.

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