Pandemic Costs Money

July 16, 2020

July 16, 2020

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. 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 are trying to survive a global pandemic, trade disruptions, and trade conflicts. Farm
bankruptcies have been increasing for 5 years in a row. And they are expected to continue to climb
in the next 12 months. Thank you to the federal government - farm support payments have jumped
from $11.5 billion in 2017 to $32 billion this year. However, the government cannot and will not
keep this up. It is not sustainable. The Congress is supposed to pass the appropriations bill for
next year’s spending. But, I do not expect them to get it done on time. At this point the House is
going to vote on their bill next week. I do not know when the Senate will get their work done.
Then the bills will have to be negotiated. They will not get that done. Federal government funding
expires in 11 weeks. Then we can expect a stop gap spending bill which will fund our government
at current levels until after the election in November. Everything in this town is tied up in politics

Even with all the federal money already spent there is political support for another relief
package. I realize that agriculture spending is high, but we have been throwing money at
everything. Our government deficit spending surpassed $3 trillion over the past 12 months. That
is the largest annual deficit as a share of the economy since World War II. The Congressional
Budget Office projects the annual deficit could total $3.7 trillion by the end of this fiscal year Sept

It will be more than that if Congress passes another emergency spending bill. I think that
we all realize and accept the fact that it’s going to cost money to get through this recession. We
have very low interest rates, but how much can we borrow? Is it no big deal to just print money
or do we have to pay it back? Of course, our children and grandchildren can do that. I think our
government has done a pretty good job of limiting the recession pain, but there has to be a limit.
Until next week, this John Block reporting from Washington, D.C. If you would like to
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