Current Week

Trump’s Budget

March 23, 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—

All the talk in this town is about the Donald Trump Budget. Defense hawks say the $54B increase in defense spending is not enough. Liberals cry that the long list of cuts in spending on many non-defense programs will devastate the country.

I will just say – we should not be surprised. President Trump’s budget is consistent with his campaign promises. He said he would make cuts and reduce the budget deficit. His budget has $1.1 trillion in discretionary money to spend. He proposes to increase defense spending by $54B. That is a 10% bump up. He does that by taking that money away from other discretionary programs. He lets the ax fall on EPA with a 31% cut. I like that. The State Department and international programs give up 28.7%. The Labor Department and Agriculture come in next at a 20.7% reduction. The Education Department, Department of Housing, and Urban Development give up 13%, and so on.

Farmers and ranchers are cheering many of these cuts – government has gotten too big. However, there is some concern about what this could mean to the ag industry. Keep in mind that 20% of the USDA budget is discretionary. Farm subsidies and crop insurance are safe for now because they are not discretionary. They can’t be touched unless the Congress changes the law. The big entitlement programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, are also mandatory.

However, at some point, the President could ask the Congress to consider taking some money from some of the entitlement programs. Keep in mind the Congress has “the power of the purse.” The President can propose but the Congress will dispose. Although President Trump has said he would not touch Social Security or Medicare, that’s where the money is. A little tweak on those programs and that could bring in big money and make it easier to balance the budget.

Changing Social Security and Medicare is the third rail of politics. It would not be easy, but I think it is time to raise the retirement age.

Some Members of Congress have declared President Trump’s budget “dead on arrival.” However, it will influence what is finally passed by the Congress. Let the debate begin.

If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to http://www.johnblockreports.com Have .a great weekend.

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington.

Previous Weeks

Trump and Agriculture

August 18 2016

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

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This has been an interesting and politically active week – especially for agriculture.  On Monday, the CEO Council met with Sam Clovis, National Chief Policy Advisor for Donald Trump’s campaign, and…

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GMO Labeling

August 11 2016

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Yes — We now have legislation to deal with the GMO labeling question.

Without the legislation all the states could have required different labels on their food products. A patchwork national plan like that would…

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Our Budget

August 4 2016

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July 28 2016

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Hot Issues 2016

July 21 2016

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

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A lot to talk about and not much time.  Here we go.  

As a Republican, I tell you that Donald Trump is officially our Presidential candidate and Gov. Mike Pence is the Vice Presidential running mate.  You…

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July 14 2016

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How long have we been listening to the relentless insinuations that genetically engineered crops may not be safe? The environmental activists have chosen to ignore science and use every trick to frighten…

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July 7 2016

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We celebrated the 4th of July Monday this week.  I’m still celebrating.  Look at the turmoil around the world.  It’s  not perfect here.  We all know that, but I’ll take it.  And now, here is my…

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Brexit and Trade

June 30 2016

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The Brits jump ship and the UK is on its way out of the European Union.  I understand the UK getting sick of the regulations and rules written in Brussels, not London.  European agriculture is heavily…

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Trade

June 23 2016

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Today, I want to concentrate on trade. We are in the process of negotiating a trade agreement with the European Union. We have just completed an agreement with 11 other countries (the Trans Pacific Partnership…

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Regulations and Licensing

June 16 2016

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We hear a lot of talk about the economy. It’s not growing as fast as it should. Two percent growth is just too slow. It has taken forever to recover from the 2008 recession. There are a lot of opinions about…

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