The Trump regime injected billions into the American agricultural industry in the second half of 2018 with a bailout that failed to move the needle in any significant way as many of the family farms that needed it the most received virtually nothing from it.
Now, even if they had received significant help, it may not have mattered.
According to a new report from the Commerce Department, farm income plummeted by the highest amount since 2016 during the first quarter of 2019.
One-time subsidy payments from the Trump administration to compensate producers for some of their trade-war losses helped prop up farm income in the previous quarter, but earnings plunged by an annualized $11.8 billion in the January to March period, according to seasonally adjusted data. On Monday, Larry Kudlow, President Trump’s top economic adviser, said the White House is prepared to do more to help agriculture.
If Larry Kudlow says it, it must be true, right?
Trump’s budget cuts would lower federal subsidies for crop insurance and small growers. The spending plan for 2020 he submitted for Congress would reduce subsidies for crop insurance premiums to 48 percent from 62 percent and limit current subsidies for growers who make less than $500,000 annually.
If farm income dropped by $11.8 billion during the first quarter, that means income dropped by nearly the total amount the industry received ($12 billion) from Trump's bailout in the previous quarter.
In other words, it only took three months for the bailout to be wiped out.
With trade talks between Chinese and American officials scheduled through the middle of May, and with no end in sight to Trump's trade war, I think we should expect to see similar losses during the second quarter of the year.