Maintain ethanol market for jobs, renewable energy
Kentucky has been hit hard by the drought, and corn supplies will be tight, but now is not the time to ask for changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard, which has led to 400,000 jobs in rural America, reduced dependence on foreign oil and lowered the price of fuel at the pump for all consumers.
Provisions in the RFS in times of a supply emergency are working. The ethanol industry has responded by lowering production, and fortunately there is an adequate supply of ethanol and ethanol credits to help the United States achieve the mandate.
As a hog feeder, I know that corn above $8 a bushel makes it difficult for livestock producers to be profitable. But $8 corn may be our corn farmers' only saving grace this year to make up for dramatically reduced yields. Many of our farmers are reporting the worst yields in their history of farming. If they are not able to meet their costs of production, we may lose a significant amount of acres in the future, and corn prices will remain high.
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We endured low corn prices for many years and worked hard to grow a strong ethanol market to utilize growing corn supplies. It has been a win-win for agriculture and the economy. More money is entering rural America, jobs are being created and feed supplies have increased with lower-cost distiller's grains, a co-product of ethanol production. It is imperative that we maintain a strong renewable fuels market this year and for the future.
Ray Allan Mackey
Kentucky Corn Growers Association president
Pro-wealth, not pro-jobs
Mitt Romney and most of the Republican Party have it wrong. With very rare exceptions, upscale executives and the wealth of their families do not create jobs.
(Those very few of the really wealthy who invest their personal wealth in their employees the way small-business owners do, you have my respect.)
Jobs are created by two things. The first is the accumulation of the hard work, efforts, skills and commitment of production managers, line workers, sales people, human resource managers, receptionists, janitors, teachers, field workers, truck drivers, hardscrabble small-business owners — the thousands and thousands of people who actually make up the workplace.
It is their commitment, health and well-being that create real wealth.
The second is the existence of a population of consumers who have enough money, time and education to buy the products and services produced by those jobs, and who can feel confident that those products are safe, effective and honestly presented.
The stratum of society that the Republicans seem so frantic to protect does not create jobs or markets; it is simply the beneficiary of those who actually do.
Those the Republicans would seek to pass the burden onto in the form of higher taxes and lower health and safety — the shrinking middle class and those falling below— are the ones who actually create jobs. The policies the Republican Party cling to are pro-wealth for a few; not pro-job for many.
Bain money talks
Let's think this through for a few moments. Some politicians, like Mitt Romney, say that money is a form of free speech protected by the First Amendment. If we accept them at their word, then giving money or receiving money expresses a political statement.
Thus reasoned, Romney's acceptance of money from Bain Capital between 1999 and 2002 would be his personal endorsement of its actions. One of its actions during that time was the dismantling of GST Steel and the exporting of 750 jobs to Asia.
By his own definition of free speech, Romney was saying that exporting jobs overseas is just fine with him.
Stifling creation of jobs
A stated objective of President Barack Obama was to "fundamentally transform America." If you own a successful business, it is not entirely because of your use of intelligence coupled with hard work, he said.
It is because you had help such as living in America, a constitutional republic. Also helpful is the fact that our economic system is driven by free-market capitalism, which has produced the highest standard of living for our citizens.
The above statements are accurate and true. So, why would anyone want to fundamentally transform our country, the greatest nation on Earth? The creation of jobs has been stifled with the anti-capitalism policies of this administration.
Obama doesn't have a clue how to get our economy going. For those who make fun of trickle-down economics, how is trickle-up working for you? All we have is massive debt and fewer people working today than when Obama took office.
With a little help
In response to the recent letter writer about her friends and loved ones being solely responsible for their success, I can't help but wonder if her hairdresser had a public school education. According to the writer, her husband attended two universities that rely on taxpayer funding. People who take President Barack Obama's statement out of context and pretend they didn't hear the rest of it should try to think a little deeper.
I agree with Gov. Mitt Romney when he told the 2002 Olympic athletes: "You Olympians, however, know you didn't get here solely on your own power. For most of you, loving parents, sisters or brothers encouraged your hopes, coaches guided, communities built venues in order to organize competitions. All Olympians stand on the shoulders of those who lifted them. We've already cheered the Olympians, let's also cheer the parents, coaches and communities."
Having taught history at the high school, junior college and university levels and having earned several academic degrees, I think I know something about the lessons of history.
More than ever, I am convinced that we don't learn the lessons of history very well, or at minimum we have a short-term memory. Two things have become adamantly clear over the past few years, beginning with what is now often referred to as the great recession.
One, the dismantling of the old Glass-Steagall Banking Reform Act of 1933 in 1999 was a terrible mistake brought on by the hubristic power elite, both Democrats and Republicans, who believed that you can manipulate money, people and the economy at will. Well, it did not work.
Two, the Dodd-Frank law, passed after the 2008 collapse, including the Volcker rule, still has not dampened Wall Street zeal and JPMorgan Chase's arrogance.
The conclusion is obvious. It is time to sever investment banking from the account that I have in my local bank. Even former Citigroup leader Sanford I. Weill admits it is time to return to the older, safer ways and days of the Glass-Steagall Act. If this is done, I think we would be safe from further bank bailouts.
The New York Times and other media outlets are now asking for reinstituting the halcyon days of Glass-Steagall. Most importantly, banks should not own stock brokerages.
Being part of the "99 percenters," I want protection from bankers, stock brokers and their ilk for myself and my family.