Who's Your Lobby(ist)?
Now, before we get started, let me make two things perfectly clear:
I like ranchers just fine. I live in the country, wear a cowboy hat and drive a pickup truck.
I love beef. It's what's for dinner. Every night if I get a say.
Having said that, you should have a listen to this podcast on Southeast AgNet. It's a pain to get to (for me) so I'm not going to bother trying to quote it (I listen to these things on my phone). But if you listen, you'll hear the beef industry lobbyist whine about the weight limitations the Department of Transportation has placed on cattle trucks and the rest requirement it has placed on drivers of said trucks. They won an exemption last year from the rest requirement for drivers and they need ranchers to call their Congressmen and win them another exemption from the rules this year.
Those poor cows (headed for slaughter) might get hot sitting in the sunshine while their driver is forced (forced mind you) to take a silly nap for 30 minutes before he can continue driving an 80,000+ (+++???) pound truck down the highway that you and I share. We want our cows to be healthy don't-cha-know. Damn gov'ment don't know nothin'.
You can trust me, it was as silly as I'm trying to make it sound. But when you're a cattleman trying to make a living and the guy in your earphone sounds like he's on your side, I bet you're a little more sympathetic to the argument. You might even call your Congressman.
Make no mistake about it, cattle country is Republican country. So it's sort of ironic to hear that they want to bust up the interstates with even heavier trucks. In that Republicans don't believe in infrastructure spending. Especially the kind that's called stimulus. It is not at all ironic to hear them rail against a government-required rest period for a worker. But you have to ask yourself, how did anyone ever get a government-required rest period put into regulations?
Sleepy Truckers Linked to Many Deaths
(Totally unplanned. That article was written by our old friend Matthew Wald who covered aviation for the NYTimes when I was working.)
I tell non-union people this all the time -- every Big Business out there has lawyers and lobbyists fighting for them. Who is fighting for you? You can't afford either one. But you and hundreds of your buddies joined together can. Do you understand why Big Business doesn't want you to do that?
And I give ordinary citizens the same message: Who is your lobbyist? It's supposed to be your Congressman. Here's a question: How much do you pay your lobbyist? How much do you reckon the beef industry pays theirs? Any questions?
Oh well, here comes the sun so I have to run. Give yourself a gold star if at any point in time you were reading this and wondering just how far you'd have to haul a bunch of cows so that you would need a nap. I have cows all around me. You probably do too. At least within a couple of hours of you. How we are raising cows might be the root problem. Just a thought.
March 18, 2015