Four More Years

November 9, 2004

November 9, 2004

Now that we know who will be president the next four years and the

U.S. Congress is in place for the next two years, the obvious question must be, what does this mean for us?

I think it is fair to say that we have an administration and congress that is very much aware where their support in the election came from. Look at that red map. It blankets the country except for the large urban counties colored blue. President Bush owns most of the nation's real estate.

With that in mind, I would expect that Administration to look favorably on nlral America as government issues are dealt with.

We want the tax cuts to be made pennanent including the elimination of the death tax. That is a Bush priority. I think we will get something done. If not total elimination of the death tax, look for major relief.

The Congress will be holding hearings on the next farm bill. I think it is too soon to predict details about the next bill, but without question, the budget deficit will likely force some cuts. In fact, a reconciliation bill next year will probably take a bite out of farm spending. I don't think it will be severe. But the budget deficit is big and the spotlight is focused on it. Look for the President to bring out his veto pen in his final four years.

On the Trade front, President Bush is a free trader and he will push

bilateral trade deals as well as new trade rules in the WTO. Our US Trade Ambassador, Robert Zollick, is expected to resign, but we will see.

I would not expect the congress to make any significant concessions in farm program supports without comparable concessions from Europe. Why should we unilaterally disarm?

Also, there is every likelihood that a voluntary plan for Country of Origin Labeling will be passed in the lame duck session.

President Bush has reiterated his broader priorities -tax reform, tort reform, social security reform. These are huge difficult challenges. But the President said "I have political Capital and I intend to spend it."

It should be an exciting ride.

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington.