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Karl Guenther Column: 2013 a good financial year


The more I hear from more people about all the calamities that are about to befall us - - most of them founded on economic factors such as unemployment, foreclosures, medical expense escalation and so on - - - the more I hear about these things, the harder I look and listen for a counterbalance of some kind.  I’ve found a few. Much of it deals in what’s likely to come, and what is forecast, so I can’t say this or that WILL happen, or HAS happened.  Neither can the gloom and doomers, for that matter.

Anyway, one of the experts I most trust on matters financial, is also something of an economics history buff. He says 2013 should be a good year on the stock market.  Such an event would spill over into other factors related to or dependent on the stock market.  History has told him, and he told me, that the first year of a President’s second term is a good year for the stock market. There’s no particular rationale for that.  It just IS.

Then there’s Agriculture. As you might imagine, a lot of the material coming across my desk is ag oriented. Aware as I am of the opportunity for this column, I’m forever alert to the sight or sound of a potential topic.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture - specifically the Economic Research Service division - has weighed in here. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack has quoted ERS on it’s assessment of prospects for this year in Agriculture.  Speaking of the February Eleventh farm income forecast, Secretary Vilsack calls it the forecast for the strongest net farm income in four decades.  He quickly followed that up with the admonition that this is no time to let up on the gas, so to speak. He segued into a logical, valid pitch for quick passage of a new farm bill.  That’s not really possible, because the old one expired weeks ago, and has been just drifting along on the back of a continuing resolution.  But, his point was, that the new farm bill should be passed as quickly as possible, because, among other new elements it should contain financial safety nets for dairy and livestock producers, as is not now the case.  That certainly applies to Michigan dairy and livestock producers, and it’s the same dilemma faced by our fruit and vegetable producers, who have, more frequently than we like to think about, been hit with unmanageably inclement weather, and no crop insurance to help with household expenses until the next crop can be harvested.

Michigan’s U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow is said to be campaigning hard for passage of the new farm bill, and she’s made certain it does include the aforementioned disaster protection.  What she has not been able to do assures her a place among those in Washington who know what needs to be done, but so far have not been able to pierce the politics

Karl Guenther is a retired farm broadcaster at WKZO and can be reached at khguenther@charter.net. He is a member of Michigan Farm Bureau and an emeritus member of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting.