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John Block Reports from Washington

RSS By: John Block, AgWeb.com

John Block has dedicated his professional career to the fields of agriculture, food and health.

Happy New Year

Dec 29, 2010

The new year is upon us. Hard to believe. I want to take this opportunity to look back at 2010 and look ahead to the new year. 

In all of 2010, the biggest surprise and most powerful revelation was the Tea Party movement. Coming out of nowhere, the Tea Party rose up and made a remarkable lasting impact on the November election and continues to drive the policy debate.
 
In part because of their insistence, government spending and the budget deficit are now being taken seriously in this town. That brings me to my heroes list. Heroes proposing a courageous plan to cut government spending are former Senator Alan Simpson and former Chief of Staff for President Clinton Erskine Bowles. They co-chaired President Obama’s Bipartisan Deficit Reduction Commission and that has given added focus to our runaway spending.
 
The next hero award must go to the Republican leaders in Congress and President Obama for cutting the deal to pressure the Bush tax cuts. And even more surprising, giving us a much improved estate tax law which will help to save small businesses and family farms.
 
Another hero that should not be overlooked is Iowa Senator Charles Grassley. Senator Grassley insisted that tax policies stay in place to allow the ethanol industry to grow. Ethanol doesn’t get the respect it deserves for reducing our reliance on foreign oil.
 
And now, as we look to 2011 with a new Congress and a President that may be willing to listen to the people (after all, he would like to get reelected), maybe we can get some things done.
 
  1. Let’s make some serious cuts in government spending, including entitlements.
  2. President Obama could open trade and travel to Cuba. He should do it.
  3. We have three trade agreements that need to be approved – Korea, Colombia, and Panama. Get it done.
  4. Let’s put the brakes on the out-of-control EPA wanting to regulate everything. Anything we can do to slow down the “Nanny State” would be good for our economy.
 
Finally, we need to protect and sing the praises of this great agriculture industry that feeds the world. We have an amazing story to tell, but whether we realize it or not, we are under attack. More on that subject another day.
 
Happy New Year! I am John Block in Washington.
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