Home > Crony Capitalism, South Dakota > The State of South Dakota must help correct the situation it created at Northern Beef Packers

The State of South Dakota must help correct the situation it created at Northern Beef Packers

July 27, 2013
Angus Cow, Curious by Kim Newberg

Angus Cow, Curious by Kim Newberg

That might sound like a funny headline from a libertarian blogger. But yes, I think we have a case where the government must step in to help. For anyone that missed the news the Northern Beef Packers in Aberdeen laid off 260 workers on Wednesday. This was after missing payroll the Friday before. At that time I made the case that government-created situations such as this mean we need a more libertarian governor. Now I am going to make the case that the State should assist these 260 workers.

The Northern Beef Packers (NBP) plant was created in part through the EB-5 program; which allows green cards for “jobs created”. Former Governor Rounds proudly intervened in the market to create the current NBP situation.  Add to this the plethora of taxpayer dollars used (either directly or indirectly through tax breaks) and the NBP plant is a text-book case of cronyism and corporate welfare at its worst. The cronyism that was started by Governor Rounds, and currently being continued by Governor Daugaard, in Aberdeen shows the true victims of government intervention into the market: the average working American citizen.

Now that 260 workers have been laid off it is time for the State to at least put a band-aid on the situation it created. The hard-working people who worked at NBP are understandably angry and seeking answers. In a dirty trick move NBP filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy before the South Dakota Labor Department could ensure the workers got their three weeks of pay that was never received. There is no excuse for NBP to behave in such a way; especially since most of their operations have been taxpayer-funded! The workers at Northern Beef Plant are not simply numbers for politicians to play with so they can sell green cards. These workers are hard-working people who expect honest pay for honest work. When cronyism enters the picture all honesty between the company and its employees are false.

That is why at this time I believe it is best for the State to provide emergency support for these families. This would not be a case of welfare or government intervention, it is a case of the State stepping in to help band-aid a situation it created. Apparently the State of South Dakota has a surplus of $24.2 million when the fiscal year ended last month. Part of that money could be used as short-term relief for these families until NBP is forced to pay its workers. If that means creating a special session of the legislature I would say that is OK. Right now what is important is to help these families, and determine later how to prevent such situation in the future.

On that note I would like to give a hat-tip to many Aberdeen residents that have been helping these displaced workers. Although I have been traveling the last few days, I have kept in touch with people back in Aberdeen. I have heard of church groups and non-profit organizations stepping up to assist the affected families. That is great to hear. I would urge anyone in the Aberdeen area reach out to their local charitable organizations to see if there is a way they can help. No matter how anyone feels about the political side of this story the human side of this story is still the most important aspect.

As I close this post I would like to urge Governor Daugaard and our State Legislators to see if there is a way they can help these hard-working South Dakota residents. This is not a case of welfare. Rather it is a case where the State should step in to assist people getting their lives back after being the victim of taxpayer sponsored cronyism.

%d bloggers like this: