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02 February 2018 - So, How is the State of the Union?

So, how is the State of the Union? If you were sitting on the Democratic side of the aisle, it is terrible, falling apart, nothing but trouble ahead. If you were sitting on the Republican side, it is looking very good with only positive news ahead. I came away wondering how we can ever get anything done on Capitol Hill when two groups of people hear things so differently. Could it be that politics and the desire to get re-elected plays a role in how members of Congress heard the same words so differently?

I can’t remember the last time a President devoted more than a minute in the State of the Union address to America’s most important industry, agriculture; the people who put food on our table, clothes on our back, a roof over our head, and now, energy in our tank. It is about the only industry that always has a positive trade balance in the world trading community.

Since agriculture is involved in every segment of our economy, there were some issues in the address that were welcomed by the agricultural community. Funding for infrastructure repairs was especially welcome news to the ag community where roads and bridges needed to move farm products to market are crumbling and badly in need of repair. And finally, another segment of our infrastructure is something we have been talking about for decades; our waterway transportation system where Locks & Dams on the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers have been in need of repairs for half a century. So, agriculture, indeed, cheered the President when he promised funding for infrastructure restoration. Now we just hope Congress will appropriate the funds.

They also appreciated the brief mention of Trade Agreements with a different tone than his campaign rhetoric a year ago. The farm community that depends on foreign labor is still waiting to hear more about immigration policy, hoping there will be a revision of the law that will enable foreign laborers to enter the U.S. in a timely fashion at harvest time.

Finally, I was pleased that the President invited a member of the Forest Service of USDA to be one of his balcony guests in recognition of his heroic service in saving the lives of more than 60 people in one of the California forest fires.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.