Saturday, July 28, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He lowered expectations on how much his farm bailout would actually bail out farmers.

Today was an eerily quiet day for Trump. Not only were there no items on his public schedule (rare for non-vacationing presidents but common for Trump), he was almost entirely absent from Twitter. He kept to his strict summer golf schedule, spending the weekend at his New Jersey golf course as usual, but otherwise cloistered himself away.

But he dispatched his Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, to walk back some of the expectations he raised this week with his announcement of a $12 billion dollar bailout for farmers hurt by his trade war.

In an interview with Reuters this morning, Perdue was eager to make the point that farmers who managed to qualify for the bailout would receive their first payments by September, before the midterm elections. But he also admitted that farmers would still lose money, saying, “Obviously this is not going to make farmers whole." 

Perdue also acknowledged that the program was temporary, and would not be extended past the current year even if Trump persists in trying to "win" a trade war into next year's growing season.

On the campaign trail, Trump has insisted that farmers and industry hurt by other countries' response to his tariffs just need to "be a little patient," and to trust that all is well even if the evidence says otherwise.

Trump is expected to remain at his New Jersey golf course for the rest of the weekend, and then return for a 12-day (official) vacation in the middle of next week

Why should I care about this?

  • Presidents shouldn't expect Americans to "be patient" while their businesses go bankrupt because of avoidable mistakes.
  • A president who can't or won't learn the basics of economics, can't or won't do his job.