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November 2012 Archive for 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.

Does the Good Outweigh the Bad?

Nov 21, 2012

We just celebrated Thanksgiving. I know some of our citizens might have wondered if the good outweighs the bad. We have 8% unemployment. We suffered the worst drought in decades. Our economy is sputtering. All we hear about is the "fiscal cliff" that we are marching toward. If we fail to deal with our 16 trillion dollar debt problem, if we fail to raise taxes, if we fail to cut entitlement programs, we are doomed.

The Middle East is smoldering, ready to explode – Israel and Hamas at each other’s throats. Iran on the verge of getting a nuclear weapon. Europe is falling back into recession. People are starving in Africa. There is a lot of bad out there.

But, let’s be realistic. We’re not hungry here in the U.S. We just had a delicious Thanksgiving dinner. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s Thanksgiving message reminds us. Here is what he said: "How blessed we are to have a strong, vibrant rural America. Our farmers, ranchers and growers are the most productive on earth. The ag industry supports 1 in 12 U.S. jobs. American families pay less for their food than the people of any other developed country."

I would add that, if everything in the U.S. is so bad, why are individuals from other countries beating down the door to come to the U.S., either legal or illegal?

Chinese are sending record numbers of students to the U.S. to attend our colleges and universities. The world still looks to us for leadership. We have reason to be thankful.

That isn’t to ignore the fact that we have some fringe groups that would like to spoil the fun and dictate to us.

Exhibit number one – the Los Angeles City Council approved a resolution establishing "Meatless Monday." It is a good thing that Thanksgiving never falls on Monday. Take away the meat and Thanksgiving would not be the same.

Exhibit number two – PETA ran an ad in Orlando, Florida featuring a beautiful turkey with the head of a cute little puppy. The ad read: "Kids: If you wouldn’t eat your dog, why eat a turkey? Go vegan."
Oh well – what can I say? Let’s have a positive attitude as we approach the Christmas holidays.
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 Washington.
 

Farm Broadcasters Annual Convention

Nov 08, 2012

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.


 

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