Former Ag Secretary John Block –
Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the Renewable Fuels Association, Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.
And now for today’s commentary—
I’m talking to you by phone from Kansas City where the Farm Broadcasters Annual Convention is in progress. Yesterday, I was privileged to have been part of their featured Newsmaker Session with Secretary Clayton Yeutter and Secretary Bob Bergland. We each spoke and took questions.
Today, I want to give you an idea of what was said. Needless to say, this week’s election got a lot of attention. Let me give you my reaction. Yes, I was disappointed. After more than a billion dollars was spent on attack ads, after all of the debates, after almost a year of TALK, TALK, TALK, the public voted and nothing changed. We have the same President for 4 more years. We still have a Democrat Senate with Harry Reid. The same bunch that didn’t write one budget in 3 years. The same Senate that took bills passed by the House, put them on the shelf and never voted on them. A disappointment to the Democrats – the House heavily dominated by Republicans – didn’t change either.
We could assume that since there is no change, we can expect 4 more years of gridlock. However, there is some reason to hope. First, President Obama will not have to run again. Perhaps he will be willing to take the lead and accept some unpopular spending cuts. Another reason for hope is that the pressure to act is huge. We are approaching the “fiscal cliff” where, if nothing is done by the end of the year, by law, taxes and cuts in spending of 600 billion dollars will go into effect. Also, in February our government will run out of money if we don’t raise the debt ceiling. The national debt is at 16 trillion dollars and going up another trillion dollars every year.
Let me also add that those of us on the program didn’t really expect to see a farm bill pass this year; maybe a 1-year extension or just write a bill in February. The ag industry is very much afraid that EPA and other government agencies will now bury us with more regulations.
There is also serious concern about the damage to the ag industry imposed by extreme environmentalists and animal rights groups.
Finally, I suggest that an appropriate incentive to get the Congress and President to pass a budget would be – no pay checks for you if you don’t get it done.
In closing, I would encourage you to access my website which archives my radio commentaries dating back 10 years and will go back 20 years when complete. Check on what I said back then. Go to www.johnblockreports.com.
Until next week, I am John Block from Kansas City