Turmoil & Uncertainty

May 20, 2010

May 20, 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—

Wherever you look locally, nationally, or globally, there is a lot going on that we didn’t anticipate. We have tornadoes and storms ripping through the heartland of our country. Oil is gushing into the Gulf of Mexico threatening the beaches and marine life of the area. While they try to put a lid on the oil spill, Europe is trying to put a lid on their exploding debt – Greece in particular.

We are hoping to recover from our recession but worry that the European problems could pull us back under. Our unemployment rate is close to 10 percent. The food stamp rolls are at a record level.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, hunger rates in the U.S. are at the highest since 1995 with nearly 15 percent of households lacking access to an adequate supply of nutritious food. It’s ironic with obesity becoming an alarming problem that we have such a serious hunger problem at the same time.

A big thank you should be extended to Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart last week announced a $2 billion cash and in-kind commitment to help end hunger in America. That includes 1.1 billion pounds of food. Food made available to a long list of hunger relief groups – food banks, national parks and recreational associations, Boy and Girl Scout clubs, and on and on. Even $6 million to purchase 60 refrigerated trucks for the food banks. No other company has ever shown that kind of generosity.

The U.S. is a very caring country. We still have all kinds of private organizations that reach out to help the less fortunate.

We will successfully survive all of the challenges that seem to be everywhere around us. In fact, we will prosper if we follow a few fundamental principles:

  1. Although there is need out there, the government cannot fix everything. There is a limit to what government can afford to do. We must rely on private institutions and churches. What about personal responsibility?
  2. When natural disasters strike, we must come together and rebuild. We will. We have before.
  3. As a result of Michelle Obama’s effort, a group of our major food manufacturers have committed to cut 1 trillion calories from their food to fight obesity. That is what we need – everyone working together to meet our challenges.

This week, I am on the farm in Illinois, checking the corn and pigs. I’ll let you know next week what I find. Let’s rise above all the turmoil and have a great year.

In closing, I would encourage you to access my website which archives my radio commentaries dating back 10 years and will go back 20 years when complete. Check on what I said back then. Go to www.johnblockreports.com.

Until next week, I am John Block in Washington.