Fiscal Crossroads

September 30, 2021

September 30, 2021

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 –

This is Randy Russell sitting in for my good friend Jack Block. And now for today’s commentary.

Once again, Washington finds itself in a state of fiscal dysfunction. It is facing several major issues:
funding the government by Thursday or face another government shutdown; raising the debt
ceiling by the end of October or the federal government defaults on its debt; and trying to finish a
basic infrastructure bill to fund our highways, bridges, ports and rural broadband.
Meanwhile, the White House and Congressional Democrats are trying to advance a so-called
human infrastructure bill which would greatly expand Medicare, Medicaid and educational
funding—to the tune of $3.5 trillion. And some budget experts suggest the real price tag could
exceed $5 trillion. To help pay for it—there will be higher taxes for individuals, corporations, and
potentially on farm assets.

The federal government has been on a spending spree the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Great Depression. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March of 2020, Congress has passed six relief packages, totaling $5.2 trillion. Throw in the $1.2 trillion basic infrastructure package and the Democratic-led $3.5 trillion human infrastructure package and Congress will potentially approve $10 trillion in new spending in just 18 months. And this is on top of the over $5 trillion annual budget for the federal government.

Each of us as Americans are responsible for our own family budgets. We have to live within our
means. Yet the federal government operates on different rules. By the end of December, the U.S.
will have rung up $30 trillion in total debt. Remember, the value of the U.S. economy is about $24
trillion. According to the Congressional Budget Office, we are now adding over $1 trillion every
year in additional debt because we are living outside our means.

These key funding issues, coupled with the southern border crisis where over 2 million illegal immigrants will attempt to cross the border by the end of 2021, the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle, and growing consumer concerns about inflation have put the Administration at a key inflection point.

Recent national polls have shown the President’s approval rating falling below 45%. And, in the
key swing state of Iowa, a recent Des Moines Register poll showed the President’s approval rating
at just 31%. Buckle up—in an already highly divisive political environment-- we are headed on a
very long and bumpy road as Fall officially begins.

Finally, on a personal note, I want to congratulate Jack and his wife Alex on the marriage of their
daughter Savannah this past weekend. My wife and I were honored and blessed to attend. What a
joyous celebration on a spectacular Fall evening. I have known Savannah her entire life and her
husband Jordan for several years—and you won’t find two more outstanding people.
Congratulations to the entire Block family for a truly wonderful celebration.

This is Randy Russell reporting from Washington.

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