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Another View: Farmers need to be active in 'Wall Street' government


Fri, May 23rd, 2003
Posted in Columnists

In today's economy, farmers need to be involved in two governments: our regular, civic government; and a second "economic or Wall Street" government.

For generations, farmers have looked to the government to help solve their income problems. They have lobbied for commodity payments, disaster relief, and other ways of compensating for prices too low for a decent family income. More recently, the rules governing international trade have become hot topics. The dispute over importing milk protein concentrates is the latest example.

In today's economy, farm payments must compete with everything from prescription drug relief for seniors to bailouts for troubled airlines. Free trade has become second nature to both Democrats and Republicans. We keep hearing that, "We didn't win, but we put up a good fight." Meanwhile, prices for many agricultural products are in the toilet. Worse yet, there's a heavy hand on the flush lever.

That hand on the flush lever is not the "invisible hand" of free enterprise that Adam Smith said would guide our economy toward constant improvement. No, it is a "visible hand" that large corporations use to move the economy in ways that better suit their objectives. Like everyone else, they try to influence Washington. But they work just as hard to influence Wall Street: the "economic government" of the day-to-day business world. No matter what happens in the civil government of Washington, those who choose not to recognize the new rules of the economic government will likely get the short end of the stick.

Take the issue of mergers and acquisitions in agribusiness. Many farmers tell me that Washington allows too many of these. That may be, but even the most pro-business administration does not require them. The initiative comes from corporations working to strengthen their positions in the world's economic government.

Here's another example: A government obsessed with free-trade policies may choose to allow imports of milk protein concentrates. But the government does not require dairy processors to buy them. That is a decision made by processors seeking to improve their own bottom line. Higher profits make them even more powerful in the economic government. That stronger position in the economic government makes them stronger in the civil government, too.

It is tempting to view these developments in terms of .....
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Journal Writing Project: Kyle Anderson

Fri, May 16th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

By Kyle Anderson  Whatever happened this year,   Is now in the past,   Fond, happy memories,   That hopefully will last.

The su ..... 
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The Commute: Crossing the finishing line

Fri, May 16th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

At a faculty meeting last week, one of our senior department members announced a small bit of good news regarding the budget. Maybe it was the end-of-semester stress, but for whatever reason, the rest of us responded by applauding him enthusiasticall ..... 
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Township Roads- Tractor Driving Lessons

Fri, May 16th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

I was out having fun with the tractor today. My son, Ted, and I had a load of firewood to throw on the neighbor’s wagon. The most fun for me is watching Ted start and drive the old Farmall H. We have a driving lesson every time we take it out of the ..... 
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Journal Writing Project: Matt Ruen

Fri, May 9th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Thanks to all of you out there,  Who’ve read this column o’mine.  I’ve enjoyed writing it through the year,  The experience has been fine.  This is my ..... 
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Of People, Places and Things: Please leave guns at the door

Fri, May 9th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Is that a pistol in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?   Mae West

Please leave guns at the door.   That sign was on the front entrance of a pizza joint I frequented in ..... 
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Avoid clichés like the plague

Fri, May 9th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Editor’s note: The following speech was one of several given at the 2002 Fillmore Central High School commencement. It is reprinted here as a reminder that the graduation season is almost upon us. By Emily Torgrimson  The ear ..... 
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