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  1. #1
    Senior Member apatrol's Avatar
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    Default 5.5 Billion for Farmers 100 Mill for Firefighters

    Does this seem a little bit strange to you? I know farming is very important (I enjoy eating). However the fire service has been underfunded since it began and we never see any real help. I guess it will take a bunch of the smaller departments closing their doors before we see real relief funding.


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    Don't forget the 4 or 5 billion the cops get...
    The above is MY OPINION only and not that of anyone else. I am not representing any organization in making a post here!!!!

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    Even though I am kind of depressed that my company, which has a breakfast once a month to stay afloat, didn't get any grant money, I feel farmers DO deserve a bit more. Around my area the more farmers get the better off the fire service and entire local population is.


    More thriving farms = less development
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    It is not the business of the federal government to confiscate my, yours and other hardworking Americans money to provide welfare to farmers either.

    [ 08-14-2001: Message edited by: mongofire_99 ]
    It's only my opinion. I do not speak for any group or organization I belong to or associate with or people I know - especially my employer. If you like it, we can share it, you don't have to give me credit. If you don't, we are allowed to disagree too (but be ready to be challenged, you may be on to something I'm not). That's what makes America great!

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    Some local farmers in north Texas above the metro mess lost thousands of acres of wheat and other crops to drought and sometimes to high winds and hail. There is never enough crop insurence to pay for their losses. I wonder what food would cost if the farmers did not get aid. Bread would be $2 or $3 a loaf. I would rather subsidize agriculture than see many large corparations get mega million dollar tax breaks. Look at the local news in metro areas and see what large corparations got large tax breaks to move into the area. That is subsudizing. I imagine if you added all of the tax breaks up, you could fund a lot of needed programs like raises for public servants. I know that it is said that the taxes will be made up by what the employees will spend. A city in Texas at this time is offering a 10, million dollar tax break to a large co. I have heard that this co had a net profit of something like 90,million. If i was going to move to the metromess, will i get a tax break for moving there?
    Thanks for letting me spout off.
    LC
    Mongo,
    I like the last part of your post about being able to disagree. way to go.

    [ 08-14-2001: Message edited by: larry cook ]

  6. #6
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    It's unfortunate the Feds put the farmers on corporate welfare, too.

    Really screwed up the agricultural system and introduced by introducing artificial pricing. Just 'cause they've done it since the 30s doesn't mean it's right. Farmers adjust very quickly (annually...) to market conditions, or leave farming. It's called economic efficiency, sentimentality aside, it works.

    Yeah, I can see crop insurance to protect against Mother Nature. Support very much providing research, development of new crops, teaching of modern techniques.

    Can't see price supports & control mechanisms that most of the Ag money goes to.

    And even farmland preservation, well, that's a State/Local issue. If our farmers can't compete with Wisconsin (and I'm not sure they couldn't if all things were equal and there wasn't federal money skewing the market), it's not up to the feds to save our farms. Our town gives farmland very generous tax breaks, and the State gives generous tax & policy treatment (such as if you own a farm, all your electricity is billed at residential instead of commercial rates) to encourage farming, even buying development rights to farms to keep them open.

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  7. #7
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    By the way, the 5.5 Billion is on top of the $20,000,0000,0000 already going to commodity price supports (of which we lose $10,000,000,000), and something like $4 billion in Export Assistance, which loses $3 billion -- you know, our tax dollars buying products from our farmers for 4 times what it can be sold for. Nah, the Feds can spend money wisely. Can't they?



    [ 08-14-2001: Message edited by: Dalmatian90 ]
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  8. #8
    Forum Member EastKyFF's Avatar
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    Just some thoughts:

    1. We can't eat turnout gear.

    2. Your FD budget (and mine) are not tied to whether it rains this year or not.

    3. How would you like it if your tax bills/dues letters/fundraisers took all the work, all the expense, all the time, but produced none of the money because a hurricane, flood, or drought hit? That is EXACTLY what happens in farming some years.

    4. Dalmatian, economic efficiency my butt. Succeeding or getting out? Fine. In a drought year, EVERYBODY is losing their ***. Who's going to buy that land? With what money? I'll tell you who has the bucks: Big industry. Gigantic corporations that confine animals, erode the soil, pollute the water, and poison the product for the almighty dollar. There's that or family farms, where the land is not just the business but the home, and is consequently taken care of. If you just showed up at work on a farm for eight hours a day, how differently might you treat it compared to if you had to lay your head down there at night, too?

    5. Mongo, it's not welfare. It is a means of keeping things running and keeping food cheap. As was said earlier, if you want to pay three bucks for a loaf of bread, fine. Actually, that would never happen because the bread companies would just import their grain and increase the trade deficit while feeding us grain that was produced by the cheapest labor in the entire world, and probably handled by workers who didn't wash after wiping their asses. So do you want white bread or brown? Just like flying in an airplane, it's not very comforting to know that it was bought from the cheapest producer.

    Still not interested in having your money "confiscated"?

    6. Dalmatian, I'll tell you why price supports. If your cost of production is $5 per unit this year, would you like to know that you are guaranteed at least $5.01 per unit when you sell? Or how would you like it if, as I said in #3, you spent that $5 and didn't get one thin dime back in revenue?

    I don't question that Uncle Sam sucks at spending money sometimes. But those decisions are not made at the farm level. The farmer wants to know that if he/she does everything possible to be successful but circumstances beyond his/her control do him/her in, that the nation that enjoys the lowest cost of food in the world (as a % of personal income) will cough up a little bit to make sure that he/she can try again next year.

    I am off my soapbox.

    [ 08-15-2001: Message edited by: EastKyFF ]

  9. #9
    RJE
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    Some of you guys are confusing two different issues.

    There are crop insurance programs. Payouts from those programs are one of the lines on Dal's chart. That's a worthwhile program.

    No one is talking about making a small farmer starve (let alone us!) because they got hit by a natural disaster.

    But price supports cost you (TAXPAYER) millions of dollars, half of which is wasted in govt. "administration" costs, all for the purpose of making your food cost MORE!

    I know that's not how they protray it, but if I'm growing rutabagas, and can't sell them because you won't eat rutabagas, why should the govt. buy them from me for 50¢ a piece. What they should do is tell me to plant potatoes next year.

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    I think that some of you are barking up the wrong tree when attacking farm subsidies. I agree that the ideal would be no government interference in the free market economy, however, with international markets being as they are and foreign governments subsidizing their agriculture, we will never see a totally free market economy. The United States has the world's best agribusiness because of many reasons (our government is the least of those reasons!) and because of that we have the cheapest food ( as part of the average household budget) in the world.
    Imagine if we were dependent on foreign nations for our food as well as our oil.
    Also, money going to American farmers is put back into the economy, so that $5.5 billion "ripples" out to over $35 billion, which means jobs and income to many, many people.
    Let's focus our attention to a different target.

  11. #11
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    larry cook

    I wonder what food would cost if the farmers did not get aid. Bread would be $2 or $3 a loaf.

    It would probably be cheaper. Competition is a good thing!

    I would rather subsidize agriculture than see many large corparations get mega million dollar tax breaks.

    From the smallest mom and pop grocery to the Bill Gates size corporations, (repeat after me) they do not pay taxes. 100% of their overhead, including taxes are paid for by you and me, they just pass what we paid in taxes on to the taxing authority.

    Look at the local news in metro areas and see what large corparations got large tax breaks to move into the area.

    They didn't get a tax break, their customers got a price break, the community got more jobs...

    That is subsudizing.

    Nope, that is business.

    I imagine if you added all of the tax breaks up, you could fund a lot of needed programs like raises for public servants.

    YTep, all paid for at the cash register by the consumer.

    I have heard that this co had a net profit of something like 90,million.

    Is there or should there be a maximum profit a company can make?

    Dalmatian90

    Just 'cause they've done it since the 30s doesn't mean it's right.

    Right On!

    I am soo glad to see there are some people up in your neck of the woods with some good common sense!

    EastKyFF

    1. We can't eat turnout gear.

    So, we can't buy food with our hard earned money the feds take from us (again at gunpoint if necessary) to give to somebody else either.

    2. Your FD budget (and mine) are not tied to whether it rains this year or not.

    Now its the feds fault if it rains?

    3. How would you like it if your tax bills/dues letters/fundraisers took all the work, all the expense, all the time, but produced none of the money because a hurricane, flood, or drought hit? That is EXACTLY what happens in farming some years.

    And exactly what happens when a business folds. Mom and pop put sixteen hours a day for thirty years in the corner store. When it folds, what happens? Mom and pop better have some cash reserves or get a new job.

    4. Who's going to buy that land?

    Somebody will

    With what money?

    Their own.

    I'll tell you who has the bucks: Big industry. Gigantic corporations that confine animals, erode the soil, pollute the water, and poison the product for the almighty dollar.

    Which big industry is in it for this?

    You don't buy any products made with any of their products do you?

    5. Mongo, it's not welfare. It is a means of keeping things running and keeping food cheap.

    Yes, it is.

    Actually, that would never happen because the bread companies would just import their grain and increase the trade deficit while feeding us grain that was handled by workers who didn't wash after wiping their asses.

    Nope, domestic prices would drop so they could compete.

    Still interested in having your money "confiscated"?

    Nope, only for the defense of the nation and a few other things that the government is Constitutionally bound to do

    Hey, I don't suppose you could find support for farm subsidies in the Constitution could you?

    6.Or how would you like it if, as I said in #3, you spent that $5 and didn't get one thin dime back in revenue?

    Gee, I think I would be looking for a cheaper way to produce my product or someway to make it worth more than it costs.

    Hi-tech companies are laying off all around here because computers aren't selling like they should. Should your tax money be confiscated to keep computer prices and sales up so this doesn't happen?

    No?!

    Well what's the difference?

    The farmer wants to know that if he/she does everything possible to be successful but circumstances beyond his/her control do him/her in,

    So the feds should ensure that every single business is successful then or just the ones you feel are justified?

    that the nation that enjoys the lowest cost of food in the world (as a % of personal income) will cough up a little bit to make sure that he/she can try again next year.

    Will cough up a little bit more?

    How about having it taken from you without your consent. If somebody walked up to you on the street and said "give me your money, I got bills" and you said "no." Then they stick a gun in your face and say, "give it up or else" what do you call that?

    I am off my soapbox.

    I may be just getting started...

    RJE

    You own a business, how much of your taxes are paid from your earnings?

    chief14

    so that $5.5 billion "ripples" out to over $35 billion, which means jobs and income to many, many people.

    HEY!

    Reaganomics!
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  12. #12
    Forum Member BucksEng91's Avatar
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    Here we go again!

    The same tired old rhetoric from people who don't understand who they are and what their country was *supposed* to be all about.

    Blame everything on the corporations. It's just easier that way. Much easier than either thinking or taking personal responsibility seriously.

    Personally, I thank God every day that American corporations are so damn successful. Their technological innovation, their focus on the customer's wants rather than what some central planner TELLS them we want, their provision of jobs and livelihoods for so many Americans, their wealth-producing basis, their charitable investments in their community and nation...I could go on and on.

    Bottom line - my money should not be confiscated from me to hand over to some business owner who has failed at his or her business. I can't really say it much plainer or clearer than Mongo, so I'm not going to try. Bravo, Mongo, for another great post!
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    The farmer wants to know that if he/she does everything possible to be successful but circumstances beyond his/her control do him/her in,

    Which is why I support crop-insurance style programs.

    However, growing something for more than you can sell it isn't an act of nature, it's an act of poor business.

    Big business, small business, farming isn't a business and there's no need to romanticize it. Support it with insurance. Support it with loan programs to give working capital (and designed to at least break even.) But don't pour tax-money down the drain by buying crops for more than their worth.

    If you look at the budget #s you'll see they're already on the right track with "Market Loss Assistance" going from $12 billion in fy 2000 to zero in fy 2002.
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  14. #14
    Forum Member EastKyFF's Avatar
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    The facts are:

    Farmers do insure, but when one farmer has a total loss, many others do too, and the system cannot handle it. Droughts are usually spread over a large geographic area. How do you insurance fans feel about FEMA money going to people who live along known flood zones and still don't buy flood insurance?

    Now let's say it's a bumper crop year. Now the grain is TOO plentiful. Prices are below the cost of production. What to do? Waste it and have none next year? Nope. It's got to sell or be stored, and Uncle Sam does subsidize those functions to hedge against crop loss. It keeps our AVERAGE food availability very stable by helping flatten the peak years and filling the trough years.

    We must have food independence just as we need energy independence. Chief 14, you aced it.

    Eng 91, most corporations ARE excellent entities. And romanticizing family farms doesn't feed anybody. But the reality is that factory farming exists and sometimes does some very unsavory things.

    Dalmatian, I agree that if it were just poor business sense, they should sink. And plenty of them do. Farmers still manage to go out of business when they're not good decision makers, subsidies notwithstanding. But this is an industry that is fundamentally necessary to a healthy economy. Agriculture is a unique industry in that it is so very vulnerable to so many factors beyond control of its operators, most markedly the weather. That makes the situation very different.

    Trust me, I know exactly zero farmers who are smug when they go to the bank with their deficiency payment, marketing assistance loan, subsidy check, or whatever. That money is probably already spent on the year's production expenses.

    They would all rather have good crop years every year and leave the government out of it. After all, Uncle Sam regulates them rather heavily for the privelege of being there when times get tough.

    Is this all that different from the fire service? I don't think cash-strapped FD's should be tossed to the four winds. Sometimes things we consider vital need a little propping up to get them by. Ideally, it's not permanent, but sometimes it's necessary.

    And no, Mongo, I don't want permanent subsidies or annual bail-outs of everything. That's a waste. But I DO think that droughts, floods, etc. generate a very legitimate need for federal assistance to agriculture.

    [ 08-15-2001: Message edited by: EastKyFF ]

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    Im in a similar situation. In the summer i fish in alaska to supplement my fire fighting income. We , in the past have recieved as much as 2.00 a pound for our beautyful red salmon. But as the folks down in chile work for pennies, and the technology on fish farming gets better, we start to loose our asses because of the supply and demand. They under sell and flood the market so when that magical time of the year comes to go put my life on the line (in the Bering sea i might add) I hope i can break even. NOW you probably think "Why dont you just walk away from it? Caaaaaannntttt. I still owe too much on my boat which i purchased for 50,000. Its worth, at fair market value, about 15 000 now. still owe 28 000. Its a catch 22 for me. We ended up getting 40 cents a pound this season. lost about 8,000. When i was a crew member ive made as much as 30,000 in 1 season. Now as capitan and boat owner. I cant even make as much as it costs to keep the boat afloat.I know guys that have paid two hundred thousand dollars for the bristol bay permits, Now there wort 20.000 which is about what the payment is a year for the permit that is only worth 20 grand.This all in about 6 seasons. I bet if some of those farmers could walk away from the jobs to join the fire dept or the circus they would but there stuck in there own catch 22. I wish the govt would throw in a few cents a pound for my product just to make it worth my while. Oh yea........Boycott those damn farm fish, They dont even tast like fish

  16. #16
    Senior Member hctrouble25's Avatar
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    OK it sucks...farmers, cops, etc. get all kinds of relief money from the Feds...we get very little or none. What do we do about it? Nothing. Sure you can write your Reps, Senators, Governor, President, etc. but it all boils down to the fact that 75% of the Fire Departments are volunteer and the Feds feel that the local townships and counties should be the ones providing money to us. If 10 departments in your county shut down would that wake up the Feds? Nope. The township would either have to get a paid department, give that money to other volunteer departments to cover your fire area, or they would find another way to figure out how to avoid paying out more money. The simple fact is that the more people that live in your area, the more houses that get built, the more businesses that open, the more money you will get from your township, and the harder you will work to cover your fire territory. We cover about 27 miles currently and only get about $100K (total combined dollars) a year from the three townships we protect. It sucks, wouldn't buy us a new truck if we needed one tomorrow, and we have to take used gear, equipment, etc. from other towns in our county to continue to run our department, but that is just the way it is. Until the public wakes up and realizes how valuable we are and starts to push for us to get more money then not much will get done. And don't count on the Feds to care about us...as you can see from the FIRE Act cut in money, (was triple what it is now) they don't.
    Never forget those who went before and sacrified to make us better and stronger as a fire service and a nation. 09-11-01 forever etched in time and our memories. God Speed Boys!

  17. #17
    Forum Member BucksEng91's Avatar
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    EastKyFF -

    Please explain how one farm failing causes others to fail, as you seemed to suggest in your now deleted next to last post. After that, please explain how a number of farms failing stresses "the system" (and a related question - what is "the system"?). Finally, explain why I have some moral or social obligation to pay for this nebulous "system"'s bad planning.

    I love the backpedal on corporations, too. That was a good one - you went from "Big industry. Gigantic corporations that confine animals, erode the soil, pollute the water, and poison the product for the almighty dollar" (as if family farmers don't confine animals, erode the soil, and pollute the water) to "most corporations ARE excellent entities." Wow, how Democratic of you, East. Typical demagoguery, of course. Set up a straw boogeyman like "Gigantic corporations" then set it afire to prove your point. Very weak. And I'd love to hear you defend the statement that corporations "poison the product for the almighty dollar". So, they're in the business of killing off their customers, right East? Hmmm..seems like a flawed business model to me.

    This is a good one too: "And no, Mongo, I don't want permanent subsidies or annual bail-outs of everything." Yes, you do. Why would you not want them next year if you want them now? What could be so substantively different between two bad crop years that you would argue *against* bail-outs this year, but not in some other years? If a certain river floods or not? If the storm occurs on a day that begins with "T"? Illogical, pandering, and as see-through as my living room window, East. Of COURSE you want permanent bail-outs. That's the thrust of your whole argument.

    This is great, too!! - "They would all rather have good crop years every year and leave the government out of it." So why are you agitating for so much government interference and involvement? Are you actually representing the views of these people, or are you arguing because you know better than them what is best for them? Again, very Democratic of you, o Algore Jr.

    And this: "Is this all that different from the fire service?" Well, yeah. Fire service is a municipal service, whether provided directly or subsidized through fire tax, real estate tax, or whatever. It's not a for-profit business. It doesn't have owners per se, stockholders, or profit/loss statements. Last time I checked, farming was still a business, not a non-profit or municipal service.

    I appreciate that people FEEL badly about failing farms. You'd have to be a real hard-hearted assh*le not to feel badly. But what people need to do is THINK more about what it means to have their money taken from them and handed to failed business owners. How can you justify taking money that I legally and legitimately earned through hard work at my trade, and handing it to Farmer Bob? Is his job worth more than mine? Is his chosen vocation of farming worth more than mine? Is his life, or his family's, worth more than mine? These are the central issues that people need to confront. Tax money is OUR money. The government does not *earn* any money. They take the earnings of the people. So when you talk about throwing around millions of dollars of "government" money, remember that. What you're talking about, in essense, is transfer payments, social and economic engineering. And you're making an implicit value judgement that farmers are morally more valuable than other people and their families.
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  18. #18
    RJE
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    Mongo asked:

    You own a business, how much of your taxes are paid from your earnings?

    Depends on how you look at it.

    The corporation pays ALL of its taxes from its earnings - But it has to cover those taxes as an "expense" of doing business. Which comes from the fees we charge are customers - which translates to NONE of its taxes - they all get passed on to customers.

    Want a concrete example: Feds raised the tax on Diesel fuel by 10¢/gallon. We put a "fuel surcharge" on our prices (a price adjustment) of 3¢/mile. If a truck gets 3.33 mpg, we break even. But since we wouldn't run a truck that didn't make money....

    All our trucks get between 4 (the older Petes) and almost 7 (the brand new aero Freightliners) mpg, we actually make MORE money because of the fuel tax.

    And if you order a washer from Sears, and we pull it from the warehouse (in KCMO) to the store in Tulsa (250 miles), Sears paid us $7.50 more to ship it for them.

    So how long do you think it takes Sears to add that $10 to the price (no, that's not bad math, they'll make a profit, too).

    But if I add 10¢/mile, and everyone else adds 3¢, I lose runs. And if Sears adds $100, instead of $10, you buy your new washer at Costco instead.

    And what if one of my driver's rolls a truck? How about $250/month for $1,000,000 loss insurance on the load? Also a "cost" of doing business - that I (the business)also don't pay - You do.

    Then again, I just bought a new washer at Sears last month, didn't I? Damn.

  19. #19
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    EastKyFF

    Farmers do insure, but when one farmer has a total loss, many others do too, and the system cannot handle it.

    Your point being that this is the hard working Americans fault and we should pony up the cash?

    How do you insurance fans feel about FEMA money going to people who live along known flood zones and still don't buy flood insurance?

    I think it sucks, build in a flood zone, reap what you sow (no pun intended).

    It's got to sell or be stored, and Uncle Sam does subsidize those functions to hedge against crop loss.

    Why when the farmers could do it cheaper?

    You'll ask how and I'll say when has the government ever gotten involved in anything and made it cheaper (or easier or better)?

    But the reality is that factory farming exists and sometimes does some very unsavory things.

    Yep, like feed most of us. Pretty unsavory if you ask me.

    Good thing nothing unsavory goes on on on the family farm...

    Agriculture is a unique industry in that it is so very vulnerable to so many factors beyond control of its operators, most markedly the weather. That makes the situation very different.

    Yep, roofs never fall in, businesses never flood, hail, hurricanes and tornados skip over businesses like they had the plague.

    That money is probably already spent on the year's production expenses.

    So now you got me paying twice for food.

    After all, Uncle Sam regulates them rather heavily for the privelege of being there when times get tough.

    And their going to leave us alone for the Fire Act?

    Sometimes things we consider vital need a little propping up to get them by. Ideally, it's not permanent, but sometimes it's necessary.

    What government welfare program has ever ended?

    I don't want permanent subsidies or annual bail-outs of everything. That's a waste. But I DO think that droughts, floods, etc. generate a very legitimate need for federal assistance to agriculture.

    So then you do think that farmers ought to be treated special.

    What about the rest of industry that is so vital to our nation?

    Energy, we're all throwing hissy fits because Bush wants more homegrown energy (that shouldn't get welfare). No gas, no tractor...

    And just so's you know, I come from a loooong line of Okie dirt farmers...

    Jaws of Jeff

    we start to loose our asses because of the supply and demand.

    Man I love competition, drives the prices down!

    I still owe too much on my boat which i purchased for 50,000...

    ...I wish the govt would throw in a few cents a pound for my product just to make it worth my while.


    The decision you made to buy a boat should now be us hard workin American taxpayers problem?

    Why?

    hctrouble25

    and the Feds feel that the local townships and counties should be the ones providing money to us.

    YES!

    And don't count on the Feds to care about us...as you can see from the FIRE Act cut in money, (was triple what it is now) they don't.

    I love this subtle, probably unintentional on her behalf most likely unknowing arguement to make Bush look bad because he cut the FA.

    Hey sweetheart, how much did your boy bill cut it?

    It was $5 billion dollars, clinton guts it to $100 million before he would even endorse it and then gives it to George.

    It wasn't cut by 1/3, it was cut by 49/50ths by our beloved and ever FF loving democrats.

    BucksEng91

    I was wondering when you'd show up for this.

    RJE

    Thank you sir!
    It's only my opinion. I do not speak for any group or organization I belong to or associate with or people I know - especially my employer. If you like it, we can share it, you don't have to give me credit. If you don't, we are allowed to disagree too (but be ready to be challenged, you may be on to something I'm not). That's what makes America great!

  20. #20
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Location
    Spring Glen, PA 17978
    Posts
    24

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    Wow- this has become a very heated topic! Just a couple of points-
    Mongo-sorry, not Reagonomics. That was "trickle down" not "ripple" which is Keynesian economics.
    Also, many of you assume that because a farmer is failing it is automatically the result of poor business management. While in some cases that is true, I believe in most instances it is the result of external forces. Farmers in our economy are "price takers" and not "price makers". They cannot negotiate (much) for equipment prices or seed prices or whatever else they need. In addition, farmers are "told" what they will receive for their crops and critters.
    One (of many) good points made earlier that I agree with is that government doesn't produce anything- they only take it from one and give it to another.
    I believe the bottom line of this discussion is that we disagree with the priority given to the fire service by our elected officials. Unless we organize and forget the volunteer/career debate and make our united voices heard in our state capitals and in Washington we will still have low priority. Who is up for a mass parade on their respective state capitals during Fire Prevention Week?

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