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THE OBAMA ERA AND THE IMPORTANCE OF MINING AND AGRICULTURE IN AMERICA'S ECONOMY

- Art Sappington
- 12/30/2008

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Mining and agriculture are America's wealth producing economic activities. Every other economic activity is derived from these activities. America's dangerous dependence on foreign oil is paralleled by other equally dangerous dependencies: foreign minerals, foreign fiber, and foreign food.

America's Mining industries provide the foundation materials necessary for all economic communities in America and the World, usually paying well above average wages. State and local taxes paid by mining companies and the goods and services purchased by miners support our schools, help build our roads, and contribute to numerous programs and services that make these communities and our country a better place to live.

More directly, mining provides the base materials that keep our economy running and growing. From the materials needed to build the roads and bridges to the personal computers, hybrid cars, airframes, mountain bikes, light bulbs, body armor used by our troops and police officers, the very building you're sitting in right now - none would be possible without materials provided by the mining community. Mining is also vital to our national security through the provision of strategic materials used for all our national defense purposes.

To paraphrase a bumper sticker popular with miners, if it isn't grown, it has to be mined. As our population and economy grows, the demand for mined materials will only increase, not decrease. In recent decades environmental alteration created by huge corporate mining operations has caused sincere well-intentioned environmentalists to irrationally oppose all mining. The effect of this pressure to stop all mining has resulted in (1) the destruction of thousands of small family mining operations, leaving family mining claims open to takeover by huge mining corporations; (2) the United States importing 100% of 26 different minerals which have been and could be mined here in the US, greatly contributing to the US trade deficit; (3) a great loss of jobs in our economy, as each mining job supports 50-60 other value-added and service jobs in the United States.

Moreover, small mining operations that do not harm the environment are not only possible, they are happening today, though in small numbers, throughout the United States.

Mining was not always held in ill repute. In 1903, the Rev. Robert McIntyre wrote an article entitled A Minister on Mining that is as true today as it was then, though the farmer of 1903 has specialized into the forest operator, timber processor, livestock rancher, fruit grower, grain grower, and row crop producer. Only minerals are truly recyclable; food and fiber products are perishable over time. The farmer/forester who increases the tilth or richness of his topsoil, is, however, contributing to the world's standard of living.

Wealth, true wealth, is not the same as cash. True wealth is the accumulation of property, i.e., homes, real-estate, and household goods. The government creates cash by printing it and loaning it resulting in a cash flow system. But using cash flow to measure and control the transfer of wealth is a grave and persistent problem of the US banking system. Economic indicators that neglect to measure the rate of creation or destruction of true prosperity or real wealth and assets from the natural resources confuses the public compounding problems through over-reaching governmental regulation of natural resource businesses and dependent value-added manufacturing sectors resulting in the limiting of the ability to create of true wealth.

Service industries and governments are even further removed from producing wealth directly from nature, if at all. While meeting popular wants and needs, service industries' contributions to the world's wealth lasts only for fleeting moments and therefore must constantly be regenerated to meet new wants. An economy cannot be based mostly on these service industries. Minerals, fiber, and food must be produced somewhere, by someone, to support those serving and being served. The recent (Autumn, 2008) credit freeze was disastrous to the service sector, and is seriously hampering wealth creation and food distribution resulting in a rapid and devastating decrease of the business community and, consequently, employment across America.

America's decades-long shift from small citizen producers and service providers (creators of local equity) to large foreign owned corporate producers, service managers, and the consequent population shift from small communities to large metropolitan cities has resulted in the financial industry shifting its accounting standards away from saving, and asset-building to borrowing- cash flow for repayment of debt as a way to reckon status and wealth. Judging the soundness of a business by how much borrowed cash flow it incurs is a dangerous and illusory way to reckon status and wealth.

It has been stated by President-elect Obama's incoming federal administration that the new government is about Change and the redistribution of wealth from those that have to those who do not: This brings up a great question, How? Government can only print cash that is used to measure the consumption of wealth. Wealth is not created by regulating distribution through taxes, fees, and congressional sanction, granting, or printing the illusion of prosperity. It is the working citizens who create wealth and true prosperity through their active knowledge and unique genius, especially through their labor in and upon natural resources such as soil and minerals, whether the soil and minerals be on private or public lands.

It has been the American custom that government regulates business activities so they do not infringe on other personal or property rights as well as public safety and health. However, it has also been the custom of this great nation that an individual is allowed to produce a livelihood without government interference so long as he does not infringe upon his neighbor's rights.

While there are many who think the number one priority for the United States should be the protection of the environment. They purport to protect from use, the very bounty from which the economy and our security are derived, they condemn the methodologies of wealth creation from which they inextricably and directly benefit. This is the height of hypocrisy. While the consideration of the environment is important, the environmental movement and their proposal for the Obama Administration is a misguided Cause tending to trump the economic and national security interests of this Nation.

If the Goal of the new administration's Hope is to have a rapid recovery of the economy while keeping America secure then let America's citizens work! Reduce the level of environmental and bureaucratic intimidation, interference. Stop the resultant takings of private property and statutory rights of the Citizen. Insuring a stable, measured, and healthy regulatory environment whereby small business, the ultimate foundation of our Nation, may thrive.

If on the other hand the new administration were to adopt a, so called, Green Plan for Obama, there would be a continuation of the slow and quasi deliberate destruction of the entire country (private as well as local and national government), as well obliterating the concepts of private property, self determination, and of one's self-worth (imputing economic servitude). Transgressing all reason, this plan by its promoters sold as 'priority' presents the theology whereby all that man does is bad and destructive and all that nature does is good, forgetting that man himself is an integral part of the nature they perceive him to destroy. The purveyors of this theology are forgetting their own human needs for sustenance and the means of others unknown yet about whom they condemn. Shall everything America consumes be produced overseas? How ungovernable a national debt shall we create?

When the white man arrived from Europe he was confronted with an America of majestic forests fertile plains and cultivated fields complete with irrigation systems all teaming with wildlife as the result of millennia of manipulation by the many tribes of native peoples of this great land as presented in the historical book titled 1491 New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. A must read for every person in the Obama administration concerned with natural resources and their economic importance to the United States recovery. As the Europeans did not understand America's natural resources and her native people the Authors of Green Plan for Obama do not understand or are totally ignorant of the role of man in the development and manipulation of the natural resource necessary for economic and biological recovery.

While the conservation of nature is important it is not paramount because it is not mutually exclusive of Resource, or life itself; for this is how we resourcefully obtain all of our food, fiber, and minerals. Environmental junk science and anemic reasoning, this adaptive green theology can never divorce the reality; for all his foibles, unless by Creation, man is the highest expression or evolution of nature itself. It has apparently gone under-appreciated, that without America's survival through profitable resource-driven private enterprise and development there would be no government powerful enough to protect a place for these extreme zealous environmental theologians hypocritical as their 'priorities' are; every society, it appears, must suffer its fools.

Short-sighted environmental interests cannot legitimately propose any priority which threatens the safety and welfare of America as it appears in the Bill of Tainted Goods promoted today as the Green Plan for Obama. Man is the highest expression or evolution of nature itself and is an essential part of nature. It has apparently gone under-appreciated by previous administrations that without America's profitable resource-driven private enterprise and development there would be no government powerful enough to protect a place for these zealous environmental theologians who seem not to understand that someone's hands must produce, from planetary resources, their food, clothing, shelter and gadgets.

Minerals and agriculture must be re-instated at the core of America's economic recovery. Mineral and Agricultural industries deserve the highest level of Minimally Interfering National Encouragement, M.I.N.E., to our unique American Genius, A.G., if the Halls Of Power Elect, H.O.P.E., are truly interested in a secure, healthy, and persistent American lifestyle and global influence. This can be done without destroying the environment.

Only M.I.N.E. and A.G. sustain the H.O.P.E., contrary the Environmental Theology, E.T.

I am standing by ready to help power the economic recovery with decades of experience in natural resource management.