Farmers Want Free Trade
Bloomberg Business reported: “At $28 billion so far, the farm rescue is more than twice as expensive as the 2009 bailout of Detroit's Big Three automakers, which cost taxpayers $12 billion. And farmers expect the money to keep flowing.”
Despite railing against Obama’s bailout — The Week noted that at the time, now-Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) suggested Obama should simply let Detroit go bankrupt — Republicans have largely sat by and allowed Trump to subsidize U.S. agriculture after creating the need for the cash infusion.
American farmers are an important constituency for the president and Republicans in general. Trump has made clear he will work to maintain their support. The farmers became collateral damage in Trump’s tit-for-tat tariff war with China, waged mostly to enforce our Intellectual Property rights and help manufacturers. Agriculture was actually one of the rare U.S. industries that consistently runs a trade surplus with China.
"I sometimes see where these horrible dishonest reporters will say that 'Oh jeez, the farmers are upset.' Well, they can't be too upset, because I gave them $12 billion and I gave them $16 billion this year," Trump said as he spoke by phone to a group of Illinois farmers in August.
"I hope you like me even better than you did in '16,” he added.
“The aid package that has come in is a relief, and it softens the landing, but it’s not a solution, it’s a Band-Aid,” says Stan Born, a farmer who attended the event. When asked if the payments make him whole, Born, who grows 500 acres of soybeans near Decatur, responds, “Of course not.” He’d rather have free trade, he says.