The following commentary does not necessarily reflect the views of AgWeb or Farm Journal Media. The opinions expressed below are the author's own.
The AgriTalk broadcast is done for today, but the conversation continues. AgriTalk host Mike Adams shares his thoughts and opinions on the news of the week and invites your feedback.
The debate over the Affordable Care Act seems to come down to who do you trust. There is a lot of speculation on both sides about the benefits and shortcomings of the program. Time will tell who is right. Given the widespread distrust and dissatisfaction people have for the government, I find it interesting that so many people think government involvement in healthcare will make it better. I just don't see a track record that warrants that kind of trust and optimism. I also find it interesting that so many people criticize government subsidized crop insurance but support government subsidized health insurance. We know farmers pay premiums into crop insurance and we seem to be hoping enough people will pay to be part of the new healthcare program. Millions of Americans don't have health insurance. I have to believe a large percentage of them don't have insurance because they can't afford it. Giving them more insurance choices doesn't give them more money so eventually it will come down to who pays for it. Whether it is through higher premiums or taxpayer dollars for subsidies, those currently paying for insurance will pay for those who aren't or can't? Crop insurance became a target of budget cutters when last year's drought led to large payments being made even to farmers who had paid premiums for years without filing a claim. What happens when the bills come due on an even larger program backed by a government already partially shutdown and deep in debt?
Watching and enjoying the St. Louis Cardinals opening game victory in the playoffs against Pittsburgh reminded me of what is good about sports. For all of the negatives such as injuries, illegal substance use and high priced hot dogs both on the field and in the concession stands, there is something special when your team is doing well especially in post season. As I watched the game in a pizza place it was amazing to see the reaction as the Cardinals took the lead. People were yelling and clapping as if they were at the ballpark. Total strangers were high fiving each other and talking as if they had known each other for years. After the game I stopped for gas and the gal at the cash register, seeing my Cardinals attire, immediately asked if WE had won. After filling her in on the game, she started telling me all about her passion for baseball as well as her grandmother’s. This went on for some time as I waited to pay for my gas. The excitement of a winning sports team has the ability to break down barriers and bring people together. Something about a shared goal seems to create a bond between people. I couldn’t help but think about how divided our country is over so many issues these days to the point our government has shut down. Too bad we can’t put our differences aside for the good of the country and come together to seek solutions to our problems. Major league baseball is a kids game played by adults. Politics is an adult game played by adults acting like kids. I realize the nation’s issues are more complex and serious than a sporting event, but it should be easier to solve them if people are pulling together as a team instead of pulling each other apart as enemies. It’s certainly working in Cardinals nation.
Depending on which opinion poll you believe, the Republicans are taking the brunt of the blame for the current government shutdown. While they deserve their share, I think there is plenty of blame to be passed around. Neither party has shown much leadership. Instead they take an our way or no way approach as they deny doing it while accusing the other side of it. The White House is part of the finger pointing game being played as our leaders seem willing to fiddle around while our country burns. The partisan media doesn't help with their stories speculating on which party will win. Meanwhile the country loses. There is no high moral ground here. Both sides gave that up long ago when they refused to even consider compromise. At one time compromise was applauded as an effective and sensible way to resolve differences. Now it is considered giving in and a sign of weakness. Both parties play to their extreme political bases to protect their jobs and keep contributions coming in. Voters must share part of the blame as well. Not only do we keep sending a lot of these people back to Washington but we do so with instructions to not give in to the other side. It's time to stop the madness and realize we are (or should be) on the same side. That doesn't mean always getting everything you want and shutting down the government when you don't. We used to criticize smoke filled back room deals of the past but the air doesn't seem any clearer in this new day of media driven transparency. Maybe it's time to lock the politicians back up in those smoke filled rooms and not let them out until they work things out.