Time for Leadership

November 18, 2010

November 18, 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—

With the mid-term election now behind us, I thought it a good idea to hear a different perspective from my close friend, Rick Frank. Rick has been my attorney since I left USDA and politically is a moderate Democrat. He practices agriculture law in Washington.


Thanks, Jack. It’s an honor to be able to address your audience across farm country on John Block Reports From Washington. Your nearly 20 years of reporting is an important part of Americana and reflects agriculture views since the time of Ronald Reagan.

The election is now over. Yes, Republicans have made significant gains, reclaiming the House and gaining a virtual tie in the Senate. Nancy Pelosi is out and John Boehner is in. Harry Reid’s already weakened authority has been further diminished and Mitch McConnell will now have a near equal seat at the leadership table.

Where do we go from here? Some say the dysfunctional Congress, now more polarized than ever, will accomplish little. Political operatives on both sides will immediately set their sights on the 2012 Presidential campaign and ignore the country’s important business. I certainly hope not.

The last two years have been marked by a woeful lack of leadership on both sides. Democrats arrogantly tried to rule the country by fiat. Their over-reaching on healthcare and stimulus plans disappointed many in the political middle and ignited the Tea Party revolution on the right. That was a mistake.

Let’s hope that the Republican House will show leadership and begin addressing America’s business. We need to resolve important issues like estate tax reform, immigration reform, and our endless dependence on oil. Unless Congress acts, the estate tax will jump from 0% to 55% on January 1. American farmers will be at risk of losing their farms. The only way to fix these problems is through leaders and leadership instead of simply focusing on the next election. Let’s begin by addressing the country’s business with a compromise on estate taxes. How about an exemption of $3.5 million per person and a rate of 45%?

In closing, I would like to thank Secretary Block for the opportunity to speak with you.

Until next week, I am Rick Frank sitting in with John Block in Washington.