Current Week

Budget

May 24, 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association and CropLife America. They are friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

Back in March, President Trump gave us a look at his budget plan. Although without much detail, it made clear to us that one of his highest priorities was to downsize the federal government. And, he would do that by cutting spending. He had already said that he did not intend to touch Social Security or Medicare.

Now, this week, OMB Director Mulvaney has released President Trump’s budget plan. I don’t see very many surprises. It is the Trump plan to “reform the welfare system” and replace dependency with dignity to work.” We are looking at $3.6 trillion in cuts over 10 years and a balanced budget in 2027. USDA farm and food programs are in the cross hairs of the attack on spending. The next farm bill, to be completed in 2018, would have to be different. Big savings in food stamps and crop insurance could reach $228 billion over the next 10 years. With new work requirements for those who don’t have children and aren’t disabled that might make some recipients think twice if they really want to work.

We have 44 million people on food stamps – almost as many as at the height of the recent recession. Now, we have near-full employment and the number has not come down very much. OMB Director Mulvaney asks “Are there folks on food stamps that shouldn’t be?” The Trump Administration would plan to work with the states to ensure proper enforcement of the requirements.

Trump’s plan does not overlook crop insurance. The crop insurance that farmers pay for to protect against losses is 60% subsidized by the government. That means that a farmer only pays 40% of the cost of the insurance. That level of subsidy is a little hard to defend. Trump wants to put some limits on the crop insurance plan – no more than $40,000 to any one farmer. The argument against that limit is that big farmers would not participate. The White House would limit eligibility for all commodity support programs to only farmers earning less than $500,000 adjusted gross income. That would save a lot of money.

Keep in mind that this is the President’s budget. Most Presidential budgets are “dead on arrival.” The Congress writes the budget and the spending bills. However, Presidential budgets can have some influence. Trump is a negotiator. I agree that the food programs and farm programs need to be reworked.

Although President Trump says Social Security and Medicare are off limits, there is a lot of money there. I think some reform is justified. When Social Security was started, life expectancy was 65; now it is almost 80. Stay tuned.

I was on the farm last week. Corn and beans are in the ground.

If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to

www.johnblockreports.com. Have a great weekend.

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington.

Previous Weeks

Organic Foods

March 9 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association and CropLife America. They are friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

Before focusing on today’s ag issue, I want to pay tribute to Clayton Yeutter. Clayton passed away Saturday, March 4 – age 86 – having served as U.S. Trade Ambassador and Secretary of Agriculture for…

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Trump Speaks

March 1 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association and CropLife America. They are friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

President Trump’s first major address to a joint session of Congress got a lot of attention. He told us what he is going to do. He reminded us what he has already done. He worked to sell his vision for the…

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Two Issues

February 22 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association and CropLife America. They are friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you. 

And now for today’s commentary— 

I have two issues to put forward today. They aren’t related, but we are going to have more discussion about each of them this year. 

President Trump tells us he will put forth a tax reform plan with tax…

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Controversy is Good

February 15 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association and CropLife America. They are friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you. 

And now for today’s commentary— 

The headlines in the papers and on the evening highlights: “White House in Crisis” and “Conflicts Between Trump Appointees.” Yes – for anyone following the new President and Republican Congress’s…

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Regulations

February 9 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association and CropLife America. They are friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

President Trump is aggressively working to relieve the heavy burden of excessive regulations imposed on businesses in recent years. Remember what President Reagan said about regulations: “A government…

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Trade

February 2 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association and CropLife America. They are friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

I want to focus on trade today. From agriculture’s perspective, it is extremely important. 25% of ag income comes from products sold to other countries. Production from 1 out of every 3 acres is exported.…

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Perdue as Ag Secretary

January 26 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by John Deere, the National Corn Growers Association, and CropLife America. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

I am calling this program in on the telephone from Florida. You know what farmers work so hard for – “corn, beans, and Florida.” The news of the day is that Donald Trump is President.…

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Barack Hussein Obama – a Retrospective

January 19 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country.  This is Rick Frank sitting in for John Block. This radio commentary is brought to you by John Deere, the National Corn Growers Association, and CropLife America.  They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.  Thank you.  

Until next week, I am Rick Frank for John Block from Washington, D.C.

And now for today’s commentary— 

As we prepare to launch the Trump Administration, I thought it useful…

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Priorities for 2017

January 12 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country.  This radio commentary is brought to you by John Deere, the National Corn Growers Association, and CropLife America.  They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.  Thank you.  

And now for today’s commentary—  

We know some people are not happy to see Donald Trump move into the White House.  However, many others are very excited.  Just go to rural America.  Farmers, ranchers, and most red…

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Last Minute Executive Orders

January 5 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country.  This radio commentary is brought to you by John Deere, the National Corn Growers Association, and CropLife America.  They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.  Thank you.  

And now for today’s commentary—  

Since 1981, I have seen, watched, and participated in a number of changes of power in the White House.  President Obama committed to a smooth transition of power to PresidentElect…

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