Watching the Democratic National Convention this week, I began to wonder if politics has become so much about the pursuit of power that it has little time for anything else. Until hearing the Democratic speeches, for instance, I didn’t realize to what abysmal Third-World depths the American quality of life has descended, how much our economy resembles the darkest times of the Great Depression (even though our economy grew at a rather robust 3.3% rate in the second quarter), or how loathed our beloved U.S. has become in the world.
No, as is the case with every election, this one is the most important of all, and winning is the only thing. And it is perception, not reality, that counts.
Certainly, a case can be made that political parties differ significantly enough on critical issues regarding our industry that it’s important to have the right party in the majority. However, the overall trend, whether a Republican or Democrat is in the White House, or regardless of which party controls Congress, is moving in the same direction. And that trend is that government involvement is becoming more and more intrusive.
That’s true whether it’s governmental entities negotiating the opening of foreign markets, deciding how we will label our products, market them or raise them. They determine how much we import and export, how we raise our product, and what our input costs will be.
Intervening in the marketplace at the behest of certain segments or issues, be it on the environment, endangered species, animal welfare, etc., is increasingly becoming the norm. Mandatory country of origin labeling, ethanol, the National Animal Identification System – these are all examples of things the marketplace would either never do or do so very reluctantly.
The government has now become as big a factor for producers to consider when making strategic and marketing plans as the classical supply and demand constraints.
We have a little over two months of political rhetoric to wade through before Nov. 4. While the rhetoric may not impact us in production ag, the policies ultimately will. This election is truly critical because recent trends indicate the results will drastically shape what our industry will look like in five to 10 years.