John R. Block Reports From Washington November 28, 2019 “Thanksgiving”


Today, I have a number of subjects to talk about.  The Trade War with China seems to be a priority every week.  The Congress passed a bill with overwhelming support criticizing China for human rights abuse.  Yes, they have been criticized before for human rights violations, but this is new.  This is China’s interference in Hong Kong riots.  Our Congress expects President Trump to sign the bill.  But if he does, that could blow up any hope of getting our trade conflict fixed any time soon.  China does not welcome U.S. criticism.  President Trump has not said if he would sign the bill. He called the Hong Kong unrest a “complicating factor” in their negotiations.  It’s never easy.

Turn to Europe.  They have offered to drop all of their non-tariff barriers on our auto sales to them.  Terrific — but what about our farm products?

USDA has announced more trade aid payments for our farmers to help cover the cost of the trade war.  On first look you could say, that’s good.  The ag industry has suffered too much.  But this generous precedent could be a problem in the future. A word of caution comes from Joseph Glauber, the former USDA Chief Economist.  “Don’t expect this in the future.”

When I step back and think about the rollercoaster ride the farming business has experienced, I am thankful that I have been able to hold on.  We can’t control our prices, or the weather.

Sometimes the government will do something unanticipated that will hurt our markets, and then Uncle Sam will reach out with a helping hand.  So, with this year’s crop in the bin, I look out to 2020.  It could be a great year, or it could be a disaster.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, it makes us think about our lives.  We should be grateful that we live in America.  Look at the rest of the world — wars and conflict in the Middle East, hunger in Africa.  Our economy is booming, unemployment is at a record low.  According to the American Farm Bureau our Thanksgiving dinner didn’t cost any more this year than last year.  That’s a bargain.  Thank you, God!

Until next week, this John Block reporting from Washington, D.C.  If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to