I have to admit that I didn’t see this coming. Someone must have been able to convince Trump of the political disaster he’d be facing if farmers aren’t covered somehow.
The U.S. Agriculture Department announced Tuesday a $12 billion package of emergency aid for farmers caught in the midst of President Trump’s escalating trade war, the latest sign that growing tensions between the United States and other countries will not end soon.
Trump ordered Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to prepare a range of options several months ago, amid complaints from farmers that their products faced retaliatory tariffs from China and other countries. The new package of government assistance funds was announced Tuesday and will go into effect in September.
The aid package will target soybean farmers, dairy farmers, and pork producers, among others. White House officials hope it will temporarily quiet some of the unease from farm groups, but the new plan could revive debates about taxpayer-funded bailouts and the degree to which Trump’s trade strategy is leading to unforeseen costs.
Here’s some additional information. We’ll also see, to what extent the “emergency aid” is carefully dished out with political advantage primarily in mind.
While this may offer farmers some short-term good news, it’s bad news for everyone in the long run. It means that Trump, rather than retreating from his misbegotten trade war, plans to double down on a position in which he has squandered U.S. leverage against more adversarial trade partners like China by simultaneously alienating U.S. allies.
Some farm advocates appear to be clear on the long-term implications of Trump’s short-sightedness. Brian Kuehl, executive director of trade group Farmers for Free Trade, called the White House initiative “a short-term attempt at masking the long-term damage.”
“The best relief for the president’s trade war would be ending the trade war,” Kuehl said.
Comment below fold.
From Mac Hall: Does anyone remember these comments ?
“Government meddled us into this mess, and meddling will dig us deeper.”
“When politicians make a mistake, they get more funding; when businesses make a mistake, they go bankrupt — or should.”
That would be radio provocateur Jason Lewis … when he would complain about exploding government spending … citing record increases in domestic farm bills.
If you wonder why you haven’t heard Jason on the radio lately, it’s because he is in Congress representing Minnesota’s Second District.
FunFact : The recent Farm Bill had an amendment to phase out agricultural subsidies over a ten to twelve year period. The argument was that “a large portion of the agricultural community currently exists with minimal or no subsidies. The subsidies that do exist are wasteful, and prop up the top farms, and people who aren’t actually farmers.” Congressman Lewis voted against phasing out the subsidies.
There was another amendment to reform the sugar policy … Congressman Lewis voted to keep the system the way it is with America paying more to protect the domestic industry. Oh, by the way, Congressman Lewis has received campaign donations from American Sugar Cane League Of USA INC Political Action Committee and Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative Political Action Committee.
Sure wish somebody had access to those old radio tapes …