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Jay Klemetsrud, Published October 31 2010

Farm Bureau president, Berg seem to share same hypocrisy

When I read Eric Aasmundstad’s column supporting Rick Berg for the U.S. House (Forum, Oct. 23), I couldn’t stand by without responding.

Aasmundstad wants to reduce government spending and, true to his position, the North Dakota Farm Bureau is on record to eliminate farm programs. He then implies that Berg thinks like he does, leaving us to wonder if Berg agrees with the NDFB position.

Next, Aasmundstad attacks the health care bill as a government takeover, but those of us who studied it know it is mainly health insurance reform and premium support for individuals who can’t afford it, including small businesses.

Does Aasmundstad recognize the federally subsidized crop insurance program as a government takeover as well? After all, it uses private insurance for delivery just like the health reform bill.

It stands to reason, if Aasmundstad is against the government takeover of health insurance, he’d have to be a complete hypocrite to support the “government takeover” of crop insurance that Nodak Mutual (a NDFB company) benefits from.

Berg echoes Aasmundstad’s opposition to health insurance reform, but does Berg also oppose subsidies for crop insurance companies like Aasmundstad’s Nodak Mutual?

Finally, Aasmundstad attacks Congressman Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., for supporting the communities in the Devils Lake region as they try to deal with the continuing flooding disaster. Apparently, Aasmundstad would have preferred that the city of Devils Lake be flooded, that transportation within the region be completely nonexistent and that people who lost their homes to the flood not receive compensation.

Aasmundstad reasons that if these disasters would have occurred, water would be flowing from the lake today. It’s a curious notion, but it is absolute folly to believe punishing the community would have moved more water.

So does Berg agree with Aasmundstad’s theory for Devils Lake? Would Berg have fought funding and tried to stop flood protection for the city of Devils Lake and funding to maintain transportation routes for the region? Would Berg have fought funding for Grand Forks flood protection, Wahpeton flood protection, and does he oppose Fargo flood protection? After all, didn’t they “throw money at the issue” in those communities, and aren’t they proposing to “throw money” at Fargo flood protection, too?

With Aasmundstad as Berg’s mentor, the farm bill, crop insurance and flood protection will all be in jeopardy. And if Berg gets elected, we should be prepared for the consequences.

Klemetsrud is part of a family plumbing and heating firm that has been in business in Devils Lake, N.D., for more than 100 years.