May 6, 2010

May 6, 2010

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the Renewable Fuels Association, Wal-Mart Stores, Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

It was a pleasure to see and talk to the delegation of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters that came to town this week. It is a good thing to come to the nation’s capital and get a first-hand look at what’s going on. Should we be surprised but the single word used repeatedly to describe this government was “dysfunctional.”

Maybe that is an exaggeration, but it seems that we’re not getting much done.

Last week, I testified before the Trade Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee on Cuba. We need to open up trade and travel with Cuba. For 50 years, we have had a policy of isolation that has been a total failure. We need to turn to a policy of engagement.

Do President Obama and Congress have the courage to change policy? I don’t know.

I worked for a President that had courage. I remember vividly the first meeting of President Reagan’s Cabinet. I urged the President to take immediate action on his campaign promise to end the grain embargo against the Soviet Union.

Secretary of State Alexander Haig adamantly disagreed. He told President Reagan the grain embargo should only be lifted in exchange for concessions from the Soviets.

But President Reagan, who had no love for what he called Godless Communism” would not go back on his word to the American people or the American farmer. Within the first 100 days of his Presidency, he unilaterally lifted the grain embargo because he believed that selling grain to the Soviet Union was the right thing to do. Now, that took courage. Where is the courage now?

The Peterson-Moran bill, House Resolution 4645, would open Cuba up for trade and travel. Most, but not all, of the Committee Members indicated support for the bill. However, they made it clear that they are unhappy that nothing has been done to pass the Colombia, Panama, or South Korean trade agreements. They are gathering dust on the shelf as we speak.

All of these trade opportunities are just sitting there. Cuba, Colombia, panama, South Korea – where is the action? We are forfeiting jobs to other countries as they take our markets from us. Maybe “dysfunctional” isn’t an exaggeration.

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 www.johnblockreports.com.

Until next week, I am John Block in Washington.