July 25, 2018

The Trump Administration to Subsidize Farmers

We're officially on Insta! Did I throw on a blazer at 5 am for all you lovely people? You bet I did!

weather a growing trade war with China, the European Union and others.” (Reuters)

Both the left and the right are highly critical of the subsidies.

See past issues

Trump: ‘Tariffs are the greatest.’ Also farmers need $12 billion in aid because of tariffs.”


The fact that red states are being hit the hardest by retaliatory tariffs “is not accidental. Donald Trump brought his belligerent brand of politics to trade, insisting that he could force U.S. trading partners to submit. With their responses, the EU and other countries have made a different point — that in an interdependent global economy, economic aggression affects everyone, even the perpetrator, so that reasonable compromise is manifestly preferable to conflict.”


Trump badly needs to lay out his endgame for these ill-conceived trade fights. Otherwise, we risk a situation in which the logic of hitting back whenever you've been hit can lead the conflict to spin out of control, with all parties completely losing sight of the original grievances.”

The Week

“If the trade war drags on, then so, too, will the administration’s need to deploy some old-school democratic socialism

though perhaps with an appropriately Republican upward-redistribution twist depending on how much aid goes to big agribusiness entities).”

New York Magazine


“It’s a good thing that remnants of all those New Deal programs are still floating around out there. Trump can now latch on to them as a
reminder of what the federal government did back when it actually believed its primary mission was to help people.” Mother Jones

Regarding the deployment of an aircraft carrier and bombers, many note that the US “has a long history of provoking, instigating, or launching wars based on dubious, flimsy, or manufactured threats… The most egregious case was the U.S. invasion of Iraq, in 2003, which was based on bad intelligence that Baghdad had active weapons-of-mass-destruction programs. The repercussions are still playing out sixteen years (and more than four thousand American deaths) later… The sense of foreboding is tangible.”
Robin Wright, The New Yorker

Trump's “goal, it seems, is to put so much pressure on Tehran that it has no choice but to completely change its behavior — but he could end up leading the countries to the brink of war in the process… Now is typically the time when cooler heads prevail, but it’s unclear if there are cooler heads around… It’s hard to overstate how avoidable this situation was.”
Alex Ward, Vox

“In theory, there’s no reason why a bad businessman can’t go on to become a good president. But a commander-in-chief whose signature legislative achievement expanded tax loopholes that he himself describes as grossly unfair is pretty much a bad president, by definition.”
Eric Levitz, New York Magazine

“Not long ago, Republicans identified themselves as the enemies of big government. It is ironic then that they want to resurrect the CCC, a program pioneered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. If they go along with the president’s plan, the party of limited government will be breathing new life into a long dormant bureaucracy.”

Washington Examiner

“Not long ago, Republicans identified themselves as the enemies of big government. It is ironic then that they want to resurrect the CCC, a program pioneered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. If they go along with the president’s plan, the party of limited government will be breathing new life into a long dormant bureaucracy.”

Washington Examiner

Furthermore, “the administration has offered no justification for why the already existing subsidy programs—which are overly generous—are insufficient to provide the necessary aid for farmers. Taxpayers spend about $15 billion a year on the so-called ‘safety net’ for agricultural producers... What is the need for additional aid on top of these subsidies?”

The Daily Signal

Also worth noting: “International trade markets are not easy to rebuild. Once the Chinese give up U.S. agriculture, there’s no telling how long it will take for them to return to our markets—if they ever return at all. This would leave the Trump administration with two unsavory options: Provide huge agriculture bailouts year over year indefinitely, or allow thousands of U.S. farms to go belly-up as a direct result of its trade policies.”

The Weekly Standard

Counterpoint: Free marketers are hardly a majority of the electorate. They’re probably not even a majority of the Republican Party… those formerly ‘blue wall’ states that went his way two years ago – Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania – are first at the trough for the spoils of office. A trade war will help Trump in those places, and presumably redound to the benefit of Republicans.”

Fox News

“We've got to suck it up. Indeed, we must be bold here. Chinese President Xi Jinping's tariffs escalation reflects his bet that he can spike U.S. domestic fears over the economy, and a corresponding popular pressure on Trump to back down… if we stand firm, Xi will have to back down because China's economy is already weakened by foreign investor doubts, caught between rural poverty and urban wealth, and vulnerable to low-cost labor competition from the region.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

“The broader context here is North Korea's crop crisis. If Kim hasn't got sanctions relief by August's end, a painful winter is coming… Absent Kim's commitment to suspend all ballistic missile tests, the U.S. should not support the provision of food supplies to the North Korean people. A North Korean long-range nuclear strike capability poses an existential threat to American society… Trump must not allow North Korea's coming suffering to dictate his decisions. Supporting North Korea with food will both prolong North Koreans' suffering under Kim and directly undercut U.S. interests.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

Some argue, “It stands to reason that if Kim is willing to starve his own people, deprive his economy of any growth, and pour billions of dollars into missile tech, he will, at some point, develop weapons America and its allies mastered decades ago. And short of an invasion or a diplomatic agreement, under the present circumstances, there is very little we can do to stop him… Taking a hardline approach—what many call the ‘big deal’—or only granting sanctions relief after full denuclearization and the end of Kim’s missile programs is completely impractical and something North Korea would never agree to… only a step-by-step process of disarming Pyongyang, where each side gets a benefit for making a concession, will work.”
Harry J. Kazianis, The American Conservative

Others posit that “the reason Kim is developing missiles that can strike Seattle or LA is that 28,000 U.S. troops are in South Korea… If we cannot persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons in return for a lifting of sanctions, perhaps we should pull U.S. forces off the peninsula and let China deal with the possible acquisition of their own nuclear weapons by Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan…

“After an exhausting two weeks [between North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and others], one is tempted to ask: How many quarrels, clashes and conflicts can even a superpower manage at one time? And is it not the time for the United States, preoccupied with so many crises, to begin asking, ‘Why is this our problem?’”
Pat Buchanan, Townhall

Counterpoint: “after the War of 1812, President Madison… enacted the Tariff of 1816 to price British textiles out of competition, so Americans would build the new factories and capture the booming U.S. market. It worked. Tariffs [also] financed Mr. Lincoln’s War. The Tariff of 1890 bears the name of Ohio Congressman and future President William McKinley, who said that a foreign manufacturer ‘has no right or claim to equality with our own… He pays no taxes. He performs no civil duties’… [A tariff’s] purpose is not just to raise revenue but to make a nation economically independent of others, and to bring its citizens to rely upon each other rather than foreign entities.”
Patrick J. Buchanan, The American Conservative

A libertarian's take

“The scoop reflects poorly on Trump, who willfully misled the public for a decade in hopes of fraudulently representing himself as a man with a Midas touch. But he could not have succeeded without the assistance of many Americans, some mercenary, others over-credulous, who helped to spread the deceit and deception, generating countless newspaper articles, magazine stories, and TV segments that misinformed the public about the publicity hound’s record in business. New evidence of his staggering losses in that decade therefore provides an apt occasion to reflect on the media’s complicity in Trump’s brazen deceit and deception… Let [this] be a lesson for today’s tabloids, gossip columnists, over-credulous or mercenary journalists, and reality-television producers.”
Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

On the bright side...

North Carolina farm needs people to cuddle with baby goats.

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