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Busy Week

By former USDA Secretary John R. Block.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday this week were something for the record books.  On Monday, the first state Iowa held their primary to begin the selection process of choosing a Democratic candidate to run against President Trump this fall.  On Tuesday President Trump gave his State of the Union address to lay out his priorities for this year.  And on Wednesday the Senate put a knife in the Democrats effort to impeach President Trump.  With the President acquitted it’s time for the Congress to get to work.

President Trump has been under constant assault by his political critics for 3½ years.  Now that the election process has kicked off politics will dominate.  I don’t expect that we can get much done.  I know the President wants to negotiate a trade deal with the UK and the European Union.  That won’t be easy with the EU.  They have one of the most unfair, market distorting agriculture support systems of any developed country.  Can you believe – the European Union spends 40% of their money on farm subsidies?  They have a long list of tariffs on ag products, not to mention their non-tariff barriers.  It’s about time for someone to take them on.

This year the President wants to get started on repairing our nation’s infrastructure.  That won’t be easy, but we desperately need to get started. But let’s not break the bank in the process.  We don’t want to add more to our national debt.  We are projected to end this fiscal year at $1.02 trillion in the red.  And we are expected to continue piling on more than a trillion dollars in new debt every year for the foreseeable future.

Our economy is thriving.  Our workers enjoy a “blue collar boom” with record low unemployment and rising wages.  But we just need to get control of spending like a farm must do, or any family must do.  Excessive debt is a dangerous road to ride.  Let’s take our foot off the gas.

John Block was Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1981-1985, where he played a key role in the development of the 1985 Farm Bill. If you would like to review his radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go online to


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