By former USDA Secretary John R. Block
On the one hand, it makes me smile, and on the other, it makes me scratch my head.
A lot of people are not sure if this Congress will get their business done without shutting down the government. I think they will avoid a shut down, but the process won’t be pretty. The clock is ticking on some very important legislation that may not get passed.
As early as December 18, Canada and Mexico are going to impose tariffs on our exports to their countries. The level of tariffs is not yet determined, but could be as high as $3 billion. Why would they do this? Because we have a law requiring country of origin labeling (COOL) which hurts their business relationship with the U.S. It costs us money too. We need to get rid of COOL. Legislation providing for full repeal passed the House in June. The Senate is yet to act. Unfortunately, we may have to experience the tariff cost and trade disruption to push the Senate into action. It is hard to understand why we would go so far as to cost us money and damage our relationships with our two closest neighbors and trading partners.
The wild and crazy Presidential campaigns are in the headlines every day. It’s too soon to know who will win. Here are my three possible winners of the Republican nomination – Trump, Cruz, or Rubio. I think Hillary Clinton probably has the Democratic nomination sewed up. All of this national politics makes me scratch my head.
Here is what makes me smile. With all of the angry attacks on genetically engineered food, out of the blue, federal regulations approved the production and commercial sale of GE salmon. The anti-GE crowd has been adamantly against all of our GE crops. All of the while, the global acreage of those crops continues to increase every year. But now they have fish to worry about. It grows twice as fast as the wild species. The Food and Drug Administration says the salmon is as safe to eat as non-GE salmon. O.K., critics, now you have another opportunity to reject sound science. Makes me smile!
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, visit johnblockreports.com.