Farm vs. Washington, DC

October 3, 2013

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by 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— 

I returned to Washington, D.C. earlier this week from the farm in Illinois. The farm visit, as always, was so refreshing. To escape the political fights and federal government dysfunction helped to clear my head. 

First, I believe that the federal government’s priority battle should be to deal with our debt problem. Our federal government is 17 trillion dollars in debt and rising every day. We have assumed more obligations than we can afford. We will run out of money some time this month. What can we do then? 

As we have done many times before, the Congress will have to raise the debt ceiling so that we can borrow more money. Why don’t we reform the entitlement programs – Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid? When Social Security was passed under Franklin Roosevelt, life expectancy was 64 years. Social Security started paying at age 65. Half of the projected recipients were already dead. Now, we live until eighty. It doesn’t add up anymore. 

Instead of dealing with our unsustainable spending problem, the fight is over Obamacare. That’s the wrong fight. Obamacare, if it is as bad as a lot of people think, will collapse anyway.  

There are other priorities. What about the farm bill? Also, we desperately need tax reform. There isn’t anything as screwed up as our tax system. We don’t seem to have the time or political will to solve the immigration problem. And, just this week I read where President Obama is giving 320 million dollars of our tax money to bail out Detroit. Is it our fault that Detroit is broke? How many other cities or even states would like a government handout? 

OK – that’s enough about our federal government. 

On the farm front – there is nothing as exciting and rewarding as harvest. A year of hard work, investment, and anxiety is finally coming in. Corn and bean yields are better than expected. Should we be surprised that prices are down? Secretary Earl Butz always said the cure for high prices is higher prices and the cure for low prices is low prices. We are witnessing  the market at work. I stepped into the hog barn – baby pigs born every day. While I was there, we sent a trailer load of 270-pound hogs to market. 

Thank God that I have my farm – my escape heaven. 

Until next week, I am John Block in Washington, D.C.