“This proposed action would only be a short-term attempt at masking the long-term damage caused by tariffs.”
A few months ago, President Donald Trump instructed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to start organizing a package to help American farmers after they expressed concern over tariffs from China and other countries in response to those tariffs Trump imposed on them.
Now that plan is about to come into fruition. The White House will announce a plan that will provide $21 billion in aid to the farmers.
Trump approved tariffs valued about $50 billion on products from China like electronic goods and machinery. He also passed 10% tariffs on aluminum and 25% tariffs on steel from Canada, EU, and Mexico.
China responded with tariffs on over $34 billion on American products, which include agriculture products.
These tariffs hit the heart of America, which helped put Trump into office.
From The Washington Examiner:
The aid will be provided through the Agriculture Department’s Commodity Credit Corporation [CCC], which provides price supports for farmers, and is expected to be announced sometime Tuesday. Other reports about the plan said the administration will also launch a trade promotion program to help farmers who are having more trouble exporting in light of the ongoing trade war.
The assistance will be broad-based.
“We are hearing that it will include more than soybeans. While soybeans have been among the hardest hit sectors, the impacts of tariffs on farmers and ranchers is wide and deep across the board,” said an agriculture industry source.
CCC dates back to the Depression so “it does not rely on new congressional approval” and can “borrow up to $30 billion from the Treasury Department.”
I thought it was a bad idea for government to pick winners and losers in the private sector! Could someone remind President Donald Trump that tariffs are bad and ask him if he’s really shocked that the countries took these steps?
Umm…no. Tariffs are taxes. And American consumers are the ones who get hit with U.S.-imposed tariffs. The fact that other countries are bad at economics—and harm their own people with tariffs and other protectionist schemes—does not justify our own economic incompetence. https://t.co/Ev5uzBRGFT
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) July 24, 2018
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) stated that “America’s farmers don’t want to be paid to lose – they want to win by feeding the world.” He claimed the tariffs will bring America back to 1929.
Sasse isn’t alone. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross heard from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) that senators from farming states, like Grassley himself, told Trump they “don’t want money from the Treasury – we want markets.”
Even farmers have voiced opposition to the tariffs and the emergency aid. From Politico:
Farmers and the majority of farm-state lawmakers have previously appeared to be lukewarm on the idea of the government doling out aid to offset losses due to tariffs and drops in the market. Many have told POLITICO they would prefer the Trump administration to expand access to foreign markets, rather than start spats with trading partners that lead them to erect barriers on U.S. exports, restrict access and seek out other sources of supply.
“The best relief for the president’s trade war would be ending the trade war,” Brian Kuehl, executive director of the advocacy group Farmers for Free Trade, said in a statement Tuesday. He said farmers need trade policies that promote stability and allow them to plan for the future.
“This proposed action would only be a short-term attempt at masking the long-term damage caused by tariffs,” Kuehl added.
Farmers for Free Trade is funded by the American Farm Bureau Federation — the nation’s largest farm group — and other industry trade associations, like the National Pork Producers Council and National Corn Growers Association.
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, echoed Kuehl’s sentiment:
“I think the question in farm country that is equal to what’s happening now is: What is our future down the road? How do we put these trade agreements back together? Once you lose a market, you lose it,” he said. “We are trying to make the point that we don’t want aid, we want trade.”
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