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John Block Reports from Washington

RSS By: John Block,

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

More Cliffs Ahead

Jan 11, 2013

It’s a new year with some new challenges, but many of the old challenges are still with us.

We have a farm bill extension to carry us through this year. Milk prices won’t double. It looks like all the work the ag committees did last year to try and get a bill was wasted. They will be starting all over again. There will be cuts in money allotted for agriculture – maybe 25 to 35 billion dollars – maybe more. Don’t expect the farm bill to be completed before next fall. There are more cliffs ahead.

The first challenge will be the debt limit, which we have already technically surpassed -- $16.4 trillion. Either the government shuts down or the Congress passes legislation to allow the government to borrow more money. If we don’t get the money, we can’t pay our bills. Our credit goes in the tank. Our creditors could stop lending us money or certainly charge a higher interest rate. As farmers, we understand this. You can’t keep borrowing 40 cents of every dollar you spend. At some point, your bank will close the door. So, here we are with Republicans insisting on serious spending cuts in exchange for a vote to raise the borrowing limit. The "game of chicken" begins again.

The second cliff is also coming up March 1. The White House and the Congress agreed to cut $1.2 trillion in spending over 10 years back in August 2011. After 17 months, nothing has been cut. Now on March 1, the cuts will be automatic, across the board, equally divided between defense and non-defense spending.

I know the military hawks are wringing their hands warning about defense disaster. The liberals can’t stand to see any cuts in program spending. I say – "Let the meat ax fall." We need to get serious about reducing our spending.

We can only hope that the new Congress with President Obama in his second term will be more responsible than in the past. Maybe the Senate will write a budget -- something they have not done in almost 4 years. The House has written one each year. Maybe the Congress will appropriate money for the different departments on a timely basis -- something they have not been doing. The government has been operating on a continuing resolution. The current resolution will run out at the end of March if something is not done.

Stay tuned. This circus just goes on and on.

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


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COMMENTS (1 Comments)

Ric Ohge - Belmond, IA
John, we know, as it's often repeated, the old Reagan sound-bite about "Trickle Down" Economics. [Klaxon Sounds] Wrong. A healthy American Farmscape begins a flow of Revenue/Resource up and out. The more sources for same, the better. It's safe to say every other enterprise on the planet ultimately has it's roots in the Farm. Farmers must ALWAYS prosper, and the more-the merrier. The shrinkage of numbers and types of Farms in the advent of the Industrial Model has slowed that important flow down precipitously. Where does the "Big Boys" of Wall Street, The Military Industrial Complex, Big Industry and Banking think the money comes from. It doesn't grow on trees-right? [Klaxon Sounds] Wrong, again! IT grows on trees, stalks, bushes and from furrows, where it converges with that created out of ores, metals and fuel, etc. etc. We got lost in the Petro Dollar folks, but the Economy of the new Century is becoming and needs to be Resource based, the base and Primary Source being-yep, you guessed it. FARMING. When you see China "prepping" and hear Evelyn de Rothschild go Medieval on the antics of Wall Street and the Banksters, you have to know things are due for some shaking. It's time the Farmers once again become the "Movers and Shakers". They started this "American Experiment", it's time for them to bring it all home.
10:51 AM Jan 11th

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