John Block Reports: Labor Day

By Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, John R. Block.

Monday this week was Labor Day. Thank you to the hard-working men and women that carry the load of our great nation into a positive productive future. It has not been easy. Parts of Louisiana and the Northeast U.S. were hit by Ida’s destructive wind and rain. The path of the hurricane blew down farm crops. Some crops are still under water. The labor to repair and rebuild will be huge.

Thank you to the fire fighters in the West. With the drought, western rivers are only a fraction of their normal size. The COVID-19 pandemic unexpectedly came upon the whole world. Thank you to the doctors, nurses, and others that have stepped up to care for us. Let’s not forget the farm workers. Without them we wouldn’t have food to eat. I know the police have been getting a lot of criticism, but we really need them to keep law and order so our economy can function.

I’m not going to sing it today, but I love the country song “Small Time Laboring Man.” In 1894 President Grover Cleveland signed into law Labor Day as a national holiday. That was good.

Next here in DC the pressure for congressional action to pass huge spending bills just won’t go away. If they get $5 trillion of spending passed, they will never find the money to pay for it. But the liberals still want to eliminate the stepped-up basis when a family owner dies. The death tax will be the death of the family businesses. Family business in the U.S. is vital to our nation’s future and prosperity.

Last subject- good news. The ag industry has a good case to make. Environmentalists have called meat “the world’s most urgent problem. Steaks and hot dogs damage the planet.” To set the record straight, our diet including meat has almost no impact on the climate. According to the EPA, agriculture is responsible for only 10% of greenhouse emissions. Our livestock is responsible for only 5% of US emissions and only 1% of global emissions. So, environmentalists – quit telling us what to eat. I’m going to grill a steak tonight.

John Block served as 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. John hosts a weekly radio show going back more than 20 years. The commentary and opinions shared are a summary of the discussion from the broadcast and not a reflection of the opinions of the firm at large. For more from John Block Reports from Washington visit


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