Don’t Always Believe What You Hear

by Andrew Stiles

Here’s a clip of President Obama responding to a question from a concerned farmer in Atkinson, Ill., in regard to federal regulations: 

Obama’s (gratingly condescending) advice: “Don’t always believe what you hear…Contact USDA. Talk to them directly…My suspicion is, a lot of times, they’re going to be able to answer your questions and it will turn out that some of your fears are unfounded.”

So Politico reporter MJ Lee decided to do just that, and see how easy it was for average citizens to “contact USDA” and get their questions answers and fears alleviated. The entire account is worth a read, but Lee’s success (or lack thereof) at finding information about the specific regulations mentioned by the farmer in the clip can be summed up by this response from the USDA’s office in Washington, received after an entire day’s worth of phone calls and red tape that most (but maybe not the president) would expect from a gargantuan government bureaucracy:

Secretary [of Agriculture Tom] Vilsack continues to work closely with members of the Cabinet to help them engage with the agricultural community to ensure that we are separating fact from fiction on regulations because the administration is committed to providing greater certainty for farmers and ranchers. Because the question that was posed did not fall within USDA jurisdiction, it does not provide a fair representation of USDA’s robust efforts to get the right information to our producers throughout the country.

See! Nothing to worry about!

“Don’t always believe what you hear.” Sound advice, indeed. Especially when it comes to this president.

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