Auld Lang sighs as 2012 begins


Before this 2012 thing gets too far down the road, let’s take a sober second or two to review some of the more inventive ideas from 2011 and see if we can’t make them work in the coming 12 months of political and economic stalemate.

Farm dust

For example, an entirely new way of lawmaking was pioneered Dec. 8 when the U.S. House of Representatives easily passed a one-year moratorium on the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate farm dust despite EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s repeated promises in both House testimony and letters to Congress to do no such thing.

In short, the House passed a one-year law to make it illegal to enforce a law EPA says it would neither propose nor enforce.


Meaningless legislation

With this legislative Everest — passing laws outlawing laws that aren’t laws — cleared, Congress is free to spend most of this election year passing meaningless legislation against other meaningless, even non-existent, legislation.

For instance, what would be wrong with a ban on the ban against the ban on carbon credits? Or, how about a law to outlaw any tax increase law that isn’t yet law?

Then there’s re-regulation of regulations. Surely Congress will attempt the stiff regulation of what it says are the many regulations coming from the regulation-mad Obama Administration.

Fewer rules

Naturally, Congress would have to overlook an October 2011, Bloomberg New analysis that showed the current White House had approved 613 new rules during its first 33 months, or 4.7 percent fewer rules than the preceding Bush White House that approved 643 new federal rules in its first 33 months.

So, obviously, this area of non-need is in desperate need of action by an inactive Congress looking for straw men to make reelection hay.

By the way, stop me if any of this is making sense because we can’t have a new year begin by beginning anywhere but where the year that just ended ended.

Farm bill

Another thing, since this is a farm bill year, don’t count on Congress to write a farm bill. What, this group of aggies must again call the nation’s three meatpackers, two grain exporters and one fertilizer cartel to testify on how difficult it is to feed the world without total control of world markets?

Nope, ain’t gonna’ happen. These folks are beef barons, not oil oligarchs.

Besides, look at the Oil Gang. Even as crude oil topped $100 per barrel, U.S oil and oil product exports for the first 10 months of 2011 were an incredible 665 million barrels.


Who knew that America exported 27.5 billion gallons of crude oil and products — including 5.1 billion gallons of gasoline — even as American drivers were paying $3.50 for gas? Not me; you?

Then again who knew that while prime rib was $16 per pound, 2011 U.S. beef exports through October were $4.5 billion, 37 percent higher than the record set in 2010?

But don’t let the fact that someone overseas got your $10 prime rib and $2.50 gas stop Congress from doing an even better bad job this new year. It has an unsullied record of muddy thinking for quite a while.

No taxes?

Like from 2008 through 2010 when 30 of the biggest U.S. companies made a cumulative $164 billion in net profit and not only didn’t pay any federal income taxes but also received $11 billion in federal tax rebates, according to a December report by Public Campaign, a non-partisan, nonprofit group that tracks money in politics.

How’d the Dirty Thirty do this?

Simple; they spent $476 million, or about $400,000 per day, lobbying Congress those three years and invested another $22 million in election campaigns. (Read the full report at

Makes sense?

Given all that as background, you can see how it all makes perfect sense to pass laws against laws and to give tax breaks to those who don’t pay taxes.

Welcome to another year of living day after day like there’s no tomorrow.

© 2011 ag comm


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Alan Guebert was raised on an 800-acre, 100-cow southern Illinois dairy farm. After graduation from the University of Illinois in 1980, he served as a writer and editor at Professional Farmers of America, Successful Farming magazine and Farm Journal magazine. His syndicated agricultural column, The Farm and Food File, began in June, 1993, and now appears weekly in more than 70 publications throughout the U.S. and Canada. He and spouse Catherine, a social worker, have two adult children.



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