No. 191



The Scottish Essayist, Historian and Philosopher Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) once said, "Government is the exact symbol of its people, with their wisdom and unwisdom." Personally I am grateful for our nation's forefathers who had the wisdom to establish a Republic with its built-in checks and balances. What they envisioned and developed has served us well as we have chartered a course and made our way through choppy seas to become the most powerful nation on earth.

To be sure, our nation faces challenges today that our forefathers never dreamed we would have and I'm not absolutely sure our modern day politicians are equal to the task. When a Nation's economy becomes as large as ours, there is plenty of 'wiggle' room and that's a big part of the problem. Many politicians do what's best for them and not what's best for America.

Along these lines I got something in the mail the other day that would have been funny if it had not been so close to the truth. It was a letter addressed to the Honorable Secretary Of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. It begins: "Dear Sir, My friend, Ed Peterson, over at Wells, Iowa, received a check for $1000 from the government for not raising hogs. So, I want to go into the not raising hogs business next year.

What I want to know is, in your opinion, what is the best kind of farm not to raise hogs on, and what is the best breed of hogs not to raise? I want to be sure that I approach this endeavor in keeping with all government policies. I would prefer not to raise razorbacks (Ouch!!), but if that is not a good breed not to raise, then I will just as gladly not raise Yorkshires or Durocs. As I see it, the hardest part of this program will be in keeping an accurate inventory of how many hogs I haven't raised.

My friend, Peterson, is very joyful about the future of the business. He has been raising hogs for 20 years or so, and the best he ever made on them was $422.00 in 1987, until this year when he got a check for $1,000 for not raising hogs. If I get $1,000 for not raising 50 hogs, will I get $2,000 for not raising 100 hogs? I plan to operate on a small scale at first, holding myself down to about 4,000 hogs not raised, which will mean about $80,000 the first year. Then I can afford an airplane.

Now another thing. These hogs I will not raise will not eat 100,000 bushels of corn. I understand that you also pay farmers for not raising corn and wheat. Will I qualify for payments for not raising wheat and corn not to feed the 4,000 hogs I am not going to raise? I want to get started as soon as possible as this seems to be a good time of the year not to raise hogs and grain. Also, I am considering the not milking cow business, so send me any information on that too.

In view of these circumstances, you understand that I will be totally unemployed and plan to file for unemployment and food stamps. Be assured that you will have my vote in the coming election. Patriotically Yours, Freddie Freeloader P.S. would you please notify me when you plan to distribute more free cheese?"

I'm back. In all seriousness, I know that it may be necessary to subsidize certain products to enable producers to compete in a world economy. What really gets us out of whack is when our national leaders use what we produce for political purposes, as in "be nice" and we will give you a billion dollars. The real losers here are the American consumers because that billion dollars is passed along to all of us in the form of higher prices. At the very least, this story should give all of us something to think about. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 73032.)