John Block Reports from Washington
John Block has dedicated his professional career to the fields of agriculture, food and health.
May 06, 2011
What a difference an election can make! After last November’s "shellacking," as President Obama put it, the White House and many members of Congress have changed their tune.
This is all good. Before the November elections, their approach to governing was consistent with President Reagan’s description of government. Reagan said, "Government’s view of the economy can be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."
Before the November election, nothing was being done to get the trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama to Congress for approval. After their being held hostage for four years by the labor union lobby, Obama is finally asking Congress to pass the agreements.
During the first two years of the Obama administration, the Department of Agriculture spent very little time showing appreciation for our great commercial agriculture industry, which has delivered to us the most reasonably priced food in the world. They were doting instead over locally grown garden farms. That’s not the emphasis now. Secretary Vilsack is singing the praises of our efficiency and supporting biotechnology. He is vigorously defending ethanol.
In a recent article by Robin Bravender, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is shown trying to win back the farm states. "Lisa Jackson is looking for some friends down on the farm," Bravender writes. She has been in California, Iowa and other states trying to "patch up" the administration’s relationship with rural America. At a House Ag Committee hearing, Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.) told Jackson, "The EPA is the most unpopular agency in farm country from sea to shining sea –- bar none."
Now we see EPA backing away from earlier moves to regulate farm dust, spilled milk, streams and ponds on farms.
All of these changes in direction and emphasis are encouraging. With the 2012 election on the horizon, the Obama administration has concluded that it’s not too late to win back the support of rural America. We shall see. For sure, there is nothing like an election to focus the mind of a politician.
In closing, I 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 in Washington.