Being a bona fide political junkie, I was hoping to write something profound about the whole health care reform situation. I do not think the pundits are exaggerating when they talk about this being one of the most historic votes ever; if anything, I would argue that their hyperbole is understated. The anger and strong feelings on both sides are justifiable, because this is not merely about health care, this is about a shift in the very way our society is structured and in the role that government will play in our lives.
I have been asked what this means from an agricultural standpoint, and even after talking to a number of supposed experts, I’m not even sure I understand the basics, let alone the intricacies of the bill. The one thing I am certain of, however, is that nobody will know what many of the ramifications/implications will be for a decade or more.
My guess is that the effects will not be industry specific, and that the impacts will be more long term and structural. Certainly, there will be ramifications, but that they will largely be macro in nature.
Here’s the real question: is this the beginning, or the beginning of the end? I certainly have strong opinions about how that question should be answered, but no insight to the actual answer. It certainly isn’t a revelation, but government’s involvement in our lives is increasing at a phenomenal rate and is likely to continue.
We continue to increase our deficit spending, but it is simply unsustainable. Inflation/stagflation, higher interest rates, and the continued decline in the dollar seem inevitable—it is just a question of timing and magnitude. For the short term, however, the fundamentals of the cattle market have rarely been so positive. Those who manage the macro challenges properly should be positioned for some very good times in the near future. From there it is anybody’s guess.