John R. Block Reports from Washington October 21, 2020 “A Biden Presidency”

Hello everybody out there in farm country.  This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association.  They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.  Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary –

The election is less than 2 weeks away.  Current polls have Democratic candidate Biden in the lead.  Rural America delivered the difference in the last election.  I think most of us have been pleased with President Trump’s positions on issues that we care about.  But let’s think about what changes a Biden presidency would bring.

Trade – Biden is expected to get rid of a lot of the tariffs.  Trump has used tariffs to pressure other countries to give the U.S. better access to their markets and in the case of China to stop the theft of our intellectual property. It is debatable how effective the tariff weapon has been.  However, I would argue that the phase one deal on ag trade with China seems to be selling a lot of corn, soybeans, beef, pork, and chicken.  The Chinese agreement is in writing, signed and fully enforceable.

Ag Subsidies – With Coronavirus and the trade war, billions of dollars have been provided to help the farm and ranch industry through these hard times.  But you can expect that money faucet to be turned off by whoever is elected.

Regulations – President Trump has fought against over regulation.  American agriculture strongly opposes government interference in our private business.  Don’t tell us we can’t dig a ditch or tile a wet spot.  If there is oil in the ground, “drill baby drill.”  We used to be dependent on the Middle East for oil and gas.  Not today.  We are a net exporter.  There is no debate.  President Biden will want more regulations.

Tax Policy – For farmers and small family businesses the tax position of the Democratic Party is a serious concern.  I expect that with our soaring debt, we can justify higher taxes on the rich.  But what about the family farms and small businesses?  How can family business keep going if the “Death Tax” comes and takes away half of your farm?  In 2017 the estate tax law exemption was raised to $11.58 million, but in 2025 it will drop back to $5.8 million.  Will a Biden Administration support legislation to keep the exemption where it is today?  If the exemption fell back down, according to the American Farm Bureau, 156,000 farms would see the Death Tax steal their business. When a small business owner dies and suddenly the estate has a huge tax bill, often times they have to sell their business to pay the tax.  We lose another family business.  I would hope our elected politicians appreciate that.  The late Yale social scientist, William Sumner called them the “Forgotten Man”: “He works, he votes, generally he prays – but he always pays.”

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 www.johnblockreports.com.

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The views expressed in this editorial are those of the writer and not necessarily those of sfntoday.com nor the Southern Farm Network.