National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day – May 30 – Ezra Taft Benson

0 Comments 30 May 2012

Wow folks,

We’ve got a first order wacko for today’s DPD, yet he’s strangely fascinating. As far as I can tell his best contributions to our celestial spinning sphere are:

  1. He helped put Idaho potatoes on the map
  2. His ineptitude in the Eisenhower administration helped elected JFK

His negative impact? Its still being calculated.

Lets take a look eh?

In 1899 he was born into what essentially equates into a royal family in the Mormon church. His great-grandfather and namesake led one of the companies that followed Brigham Young in the famous Mormon hegira across the great plains and through the Rocky Mountains to Utah in 1847.

After two decades of studying Tom and Jerry cartoons he was executive secretary of the Idaho Co-operative Council from 1933 to 1939, helping to make Idaho potatoes among the most famous in America.

Sadly, in 1952, on the recommendation of his brother Milton, President Eisenhower chose Benson as his Secretary for Agriculture. As a devastates blow to America as President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Secretary for Agriculture he was the first Mormon to reach the US cabinet.

What’s shocking at this appointment is that it was known that Benson was legitimately paranoid that communism was going to take over the world. Later in life – and still in positions of extreme power – Benson claimed the Civil Rights movement was just a communist conspiracy to take over the U.S. (score one for Eisenhower!).

Anyways, at the time American farmers were producing SO much product that there wasn’t enough buyers so the surplus was driving down prices and putting small farmers – the backbone of America – out of business. HOWEVER the idea of selling US surpluses to Communist countries terrified him. He was prevailed upon by Eisenhower to accept the principle of ‘net advantage’, opening the way for massive sales of grain to the Soviet Union. Scary!

Eisenhower and Benson’s policy towards trying to solve the agriculture become so effed up they began PAYING farmers to not farm their land. Shockingly, this type of policy still exists in American agriculture. What sucked even worse for Benson was that the scheme really screwed the people closest to his heart – the small family farmers whom both he and Eisenhower regarded as the bulwarks of American freedom and morality.

He went on to become president or Grand Excelsior of the Mormon church. He actually did some stuff so crazy that the Mormons thought he was screwy. Really!

But I’ll let the obit take it from there!

Obits on a Tuesday!

Obituary: Ezra Taft Benson


Wednesday 01 June 1994

Ezra Taft Benson, agronomist and church leader: born Whitney, Idaho 4 August 1899; US Secretary of Agriculture 1953-61; President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1985-94; married 1927 Flora Amussen (died 1992; six children); died Salt Lake City 30 May 1994.

EZRA TAFT BENSON will be remembered as a man who, uniquely, occupied high office in the US government and the highest office in the Mormon church. Continue

- who has written 512 posts on The Shade.

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