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02 Apr 2016 - Politics in Agriculture

After many years of my doing ‘Samuelson Sez’, you have probably figured out by now that I do not discuss politics in this column. Recently during this campaign I have heard from several of you saying - Why don’t you write about candidates, particularly their views on agriculture, giving us an idea of what to look for in this long drawn-out presidential election campaign?

So, I will break my rule and write about politics in this election year. I will not discuss individual candidates and their views on agriculture, because frankly, I’m not sure they have any. But I will say this: I have voted in every presidential election since the 1950’s, when I voted for Dwight D. Eisenhower, our 34th President, and this will be the toughest election in which I have ever voted. I really don’t see the leadership qualities we need in the White House, in any of the candidates. I believe only one of the candidates has any
significant knowledge of agriculture and only one favors Trade Agreements.

I am really bothered by candidates who say “Trade Agreements are bad and we don’t want any more. We will work to cancel those we have in place; Trade Agreements that have been in place for decades like NAFTA“. That agreement, plus the Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement currently awaiting approval in Congress are vitally important to the agricultural economy in this country. We need trade agreements and I cannot imagine canceling trade agreements that have proven to be very beneficial for America’s farmers and ranchers and for the U.S.A. economy as a whole.

Other things that bother me about the political process - we have term limits for the President yet not for members of Congress who pass rules and regulations for us, but then pass different rules for themselves. We need term limits for members of Congress, it should not be a lifetime job!

I would impose a three-month period for campaigning and a uniform limit on campaign spending by the candidates. If you can’t convince me in three months to vote for you, then someone else with a more targeted and well- thought-out platform will receive my vote.

Quit holding fund-raising dinners with $50,000 tickets, all of it going to the campaign, while you discuss taking care of hungry people. Think of how many hungry people that $50,000 per ticket could feed!

Finally, quit picking on the other candidates. Instead give me some programs that will make this a better country for all of us. Tell me how you will implement the programs, how they will be financed and who will pay for them.

Until you make those positive changes, I may have to write in Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse on my ballot.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.