Former Vice President Joe Biden has been campaigning all across Iowa as part of his "No Malarkey" bus tour. One of the people to join him on the campaign trail is Tom Vilsack, the former Obama Agriculture Secretary and former Iowa Democratic governor.
The problem, however, is Vilsack is raking in the dough on the backs of hardworking farmers. Vilsack is the current President and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council and made almost $1 million in 2018. According to Fox News, Vilsack is the highest paid executive at Dairy Management Inc. The organization is a nonprofit tasked with promoting milk and is funded directly by mandatory fees that are placed on dairy farmers.
Under federal law, farmers are required to pay 15 cents for each 100 pounds of milk they sell into a so-called “checkoff” program to promote and advertise their products. Ten cents goes to local and regional programs and 5 cents goes to fund national programs, such as Dairy Management where Vilsack is executive vice president.
But the dairy market has been especially tough recently with farmers blaming an oversupply of milk, reduced demand and more alternatives like soy and almond milk.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel uncovered the salaries. According to their report, Vilsack made $999,421 in 2018, which was his first full year on the job. The top 10 executives at the organization were paid more than $8 million – roughly $800,000 a piece – with Vilsack raking in the most dough.
It's quite the income to take in when farmers across the nation are struggling to stay afloat. In Wisconsin alone, 503 dairy farms closed in 2017. A total of 1,600 folded during that same timeframe nationwide.
Dairy Management Inc. defended their decision to hire Vilsack with the following statement from chairman Marilyn Hershey, a Pennsylvania dairy farmer:
We hired Secretary Tom Vilsack to expand U.S. dairy’s presence in key global markets. Under his leadership over the last three years, U.S. dairy exports reached an all-time high in 2018, with 16 percent of U.S. dairy being sold to global markets.
His relationships across the public and private sectors internationally are opening new doors and new opportunities for U.S. dairy products. And his ability to proudly represent U.S. dairy farmers’ commitments around sustainability to global leaders is unmatched. We wouldn’t be able to achieve these kinds of results, which are critical to the ongoing strength and viability of the U.S. dairy sector and farmers, without Secretary Vilsack’s vision and leadership.
Both Dairy Management Inc. and the Biden campaign clearly see nothing wrong with Vilsack's salary. Farms are bellying up nationwide. They're forced to pay this tax and for what? To line the pockets of bureaucrats like Vilsack.
Biden deciding to campaign with Vilsack shows just how out-of-touch he really is. He's literally trying to convince farmers to vote for him by campaigning with the guy who lives a lavish lifestyle because of taxes the farmers have to pay. If that isn't the definition of political suicide, nothing is.