Thursday, January 6, 2011

2011 Political Season

Another round of politics is taking place again, both in Idaho and for the greatest country on the planet, the good old US of A. Whatever your persuasion or leaning, it is your duty as a citizen to take part and keep track of what is happening. So many sectors of our lives are run by the government, a person cannot afford to be ignorant.

Sitting and thinking about the content reminds me of a joke. If you break the word "Politics" down it means 1) Poli = Many and 2) Tics = Bloodsuckers. While this might be true to a few politicians on both sides, we are fortunate in Idaho to have the representation that we do, both at the State and National level.

Idahoans are extremely fortunate that the Legislature is still strongly tied to agriculture and the rural communities. By having elected officials with an ag background (or a good understanding of it), common sense and family values come to the forefront. Face it, Idaho is predominantly a natural resource based economy (farming, timber, mining) that makes up over 50% of the GDP. It can't be ignored.

Agriculture is a stable economic contributor with minimal swings up or down, unlike technology (Micron layoffs) or other business sectors, agriculture is stable...and often taken for granted, especially by the general public. How many people that live in town, even a small rural one, make it to a farm? Not many.

A couple of weeks ago I was heading to the Kendrick High School boys basketball practice and was pondering over the points I wanted to make. Dedication, hard work, tradition. After thinking about that last point, tradition, it occured to me that there were only three boys out of 24 who's father's played sports at Kendrick. That is only 12.5% of the players.

When I look at the whole Kendrick/Juliaetta school district, there are only seven kids who have parents that farm. Seven out of roughly 200 students (3.5%) is not very much, but it is still bigger than the national numbers of less than 1%.

When looking at my little corner of the world and the rest of the population of Idaho and the U.S., it is easy to see why agriculture gets overlooked. The general public is too far removed from agriculture. And no, chocolate milk does not come from brown cows.

The needs and wants of the general public are completely different from their agrarian cousins. The general public wants to be taken care of while those in ag  would love to be left alone. Case in point: I had 23 trees that blew down or had tops taken out in the November wind storm, and the government never showed up to clean up the mess. It is completely up to me and that is how it should be.

So what is on the plate for politicians? Money (or lack of) as always. There will need to be cuts made in all places because of the economy. There are those that say we need to raise taxes to keep programs. My question is why? Why do we need the government to support us? Why do we need the government to tell us what to do?

The U.S. Constitution ensures us Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. It does not call for taking care of everyone or everything. Government needs to get back to basics (thank goodness Idaho gets it), especially in the realm of Federal spending. Government employment does not create wealth, it bleeds it dry. Small businesses create wealth, individuals create wealth, and agriculture creates wealth from the land.

Take a look at California and New York's situation. They are the most government dependent states in the Union and have the biggest deficits. Their high taxes government policies have driven business and people away to other states and countries. Businesses and people that could pay some taxes. But tax income isn't the problem.

Spending is the problem. As any business owner or family knows, you cannot spend more that you make. If you do the banker or other institution that you owe money to will come knocking at you door. That is a great check and balance. Where is the check and balance for government overspending? Who will make the call when the debt is too high? I hope not China.

As we go into the 2011 political season, keep in mind your agrarian cousins and utilize the values that they bring forth every day and every year. Hard work, independence, and self reliance. These same values are the backbone and foundation of this country, not taxes. If my memory serves me right, our country was founded because of taxes. Tea Party anyone?

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