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November 5, 2017 1:12 pm  #1

The problems with the usDA & Mr. Trump, too

Too much talk about "climate change" (fake as it is), too much "left-over obozoness floating around as still being good ideas" and too much Trump influence from and with and to his "friends and players league".  Actually, truth be said, this is the problem with ALL gubmint institutions, organizations, committees, agencies, WHATEVER you call them.

This is very long, but worth reading, although it starts out kinda wonky.  Nevertheless, this is definitely why we have problems in America - with food and everything else. 

And we're not going to be able to look at Trump as our "savior" ever again after reading this article.  He's no such thing.  He, too, is a player.  Those who look upon him as anything else will be sorely disappointed.  Let me state unequivocally, I'm disappointed but not surprised.  I had a gut feeling about all this stuff a long time ago.

QUOTE FROM ARTICLE: (This is just incredible reading, really it is).

"Her outrage led her to support Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2007, but she soon switched to Obama. (“I switched because I got so angry at how they were beating him up.”) After Obama won, Salerno was a natural candidate for a job she had no idea existed: helping people in rural America to help themselves. “Someone said, ‘Why don’t you become an administrator in rural America, at the Department of Agriculture?’ I said, ‘There’s an administrator in rural America?’"

She’d come to her job inside the little box marked “Rural Development” without any particular ambition to be there. The sums of money at her disposal were incredible: the little box gave out or guaranteed $30 billion in loans and grants a year. But people who should have known about it hadn’t the first clue what it was up to. “I had this conversation with elected and state officials almost everywhere in the South,” said Salerno. “Them: We hate the government and you suck. Me: My mission alone put $1 billion into your economy this year, so are you sure about that? Me thinking: We are the only reason your shitty state is standing.”

She was a small-business person first and had no affection for the inefficiencies she found inside the federal government. “You have this big federal workforce that hasn’t been invested in forever,” she said. “They can’t be outward-facing. They don’t have any of the tools you need in a modern workplace.” She couldn’t attract young people to work there. Once, she tried to estimate how many of the U.S.D.A.’s roughly 100,000 employees had been taught how to create a spreadsheet. Fewer than 50 people, she decided. “I was always very aware how we spent money. When I would use words like ‘fiduciary duties’ or say, ‘Those are not our dollars,’ they would say, ‘Are you sure you aren’t a Republican?’ But I was really sensitive to the fact that this wasn’t our money. This was taxpayer money. This was money that had come from some guy working for 15 bucks an hour.”

The big messy federal government was still the only tool for dealing with what she saw as a growing crisis: the deconstruction of rural America. “It’s hard to quantify what it means not to have your entire town’s businesses shuttered up because Walmart moved there,” she said. There was a hole in the American capital markets: they simply didn’t reach small towns. And there were lots of stats that suggested that our society benefited from having small towns—and that small-town life made some important, perhaps undervalued, contributions to the whole. Fifteen percent of the country lives in towns of fewer than 10,000 people, for instance, but a far greater proportion of the armed services come from rural areas than from urban ones.

But the more rural the American, the more dependent he is for his way of life on the U.S. government. And the more rural the American, the more likely he was to have voted for Donald Trump.

So you might think that Trump, when he took office, would do everything he could to strengthen and grow the little box marked “Rural Development.” That’s not what has happened.
The Trump administration wanted to show early that it was serious about foreign trade. This desire expressed itself in the Department of Agriculture by a splitting of the little box marked “Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services” into two little boxes—one for Farm programs and another for Foreign Agricultural Affairs, or trade. Oddly, at that very moment, Trump was removing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and costing American farmers an estimated $4.4 billion a year in foreign sales, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. As there’s a rule against having more than seven little boxes on the U.S.D.A.’s org chart, they had to eliminate one of the little boxes. The little box they got rid of was Rural Development. “I worked in the little box in the government most responsible for helping the people who elected Trump,” said Salerno. “And they literally took my little box off the organization chart.”

This troubled Lillian Salerno, and not just because she’d spent five years of her life inside that little box. It troubled her because it made her wonder about the motives of the people who had taken over the Department of Agriculture. She’d worked inside the little box for a reason. And if you wanted to understand what was at stake inside these little boxes, you could not neglect the motives of the people who ran them. “You want to know what worries me most?” she says after I ask her the question I’d come to ask her. “I am absolutely convinced about one thing: there are conversations going on right now in New York and Washington between people in the Trump administration and Wall Street bankers about how to get their hands on the bank portfolio. Folks in banking: I’m sure they are nice people—they just can’t help themselves.”

She’s worried that an only partially adequate tool for helping people who were raised in the country’s unlucky places will be turned into a source of profits for the biggest financial firms. She thinks that was why they eliminated her little box and moved the $220 billion bank into the office of the secretary: so they could do new things with the money without people noticing. “At the end of the day, what do I think they are going to do?” she said. “Take all the money and give it to their banker friends. Do things like privatize water—so people in rural Florida will be paying $75 a month for it instead of $20.”

Lillian Salerno had observed the Trump administration for a long moment. Virtually all the people Trump had sent into the Department of Agriculture were white men in their 20s. They exhibited no knowledge of, or interest in, the problems of rural Americans. She decided there was only one thing to do: move back to Texas and run for office. She had no illusions about herself as a political candidate. She was still a small-town girl from Little Elm, Texas. “I’m still basically a waitress,” she said. “I still feel like this. If I get to be a congressman, I’ll still feel like that.” Ali Zaidi had asked a question: Where would the political capital come from to help people in rural America? Well, it would come from her."


A government which robs Peter to
pay Paul can always depend on
the support of Paul.
-- George Bernard Shaw

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