Tuesday, August 6, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He told bankrupt farmers they weren't being hurt by his trade war.

Yesterday's disastrous day on Wall Street was the result of China allowing its currency to devalue to closer to a free-market level. But Beijing also completely cut off imports of U.S. farm products, a move that will bar American farmers from their fourth-largest export market.

Previously, China had put tariffs on American farm products, which had already had devastating effects on American farmers. The Trump administration has twice tried to mitigate the damage to the agricultural sector with bailouts, although these have had problems of their own. (Farmers hate them, they don't make farmers whole, the bailout money goes mostly to large agribusinesses and foreigners, and they cost more than the U.S. is gaining in all tariff revenues.)

Today, Trump tried to put a good face on the Chinese farm boycott, promising even more bailout money and saying, "As they have learned in the last two years, our great American Farmers know that China will not be able to hurt them." 

Farm bankruptcies are up sharply since the start of Trump's trade war. 

American farmers definitely know this, and have been extremely vocal about their opposition to Trump's disruption of their livelihood. Even Trump's own Secretary of Agriculture has admitted that farmers are "one of the casualties" of Trump's trade war. 

So what?

  • Farmers are not as stupid as Trump thinks they are.