The first round of Trump's $12 billion bailout for farmers became available two months ago, but very few farmers have actually been able to navigate the program and receive assistance.
We've covered the limitations of the program here before, including the pitiful amount of money some farmers will receive for different crops and the hoops they'll have to jump through to get it, but this is turning into an even bigger failure than I expected.
We're way beyond the end of the harvest season for most of the crops that are eligible for a bailout, but the program has only paid out $838 million out of $12 billion.
Moreover, not everyone who has received a share of that money is actually a farmer.
The program’s limitations are beginning to test farmers’ patience. The trade war shows no signs of easing, with China and the United States locked in a stalemate that has reduced American farmers’ access to a critical market for soybeans, farm equipment and other products. [...]
The dairy industry has been particularly critical of the program and, in a letter to Mr. Perdue, asked the administration to rethink how it calculates subsidies and to make them more generous to dairy farmers. The milk federation expects dairy farmers to lose $1.5 billion from the tariffs in the second half of this year and it has received only $127 million in aid. [...]
Like any program offering free money, there are also opportunities to game the system. On Monday, the watchdog organization Environmental Working Group is expected to release a report that shows city residents who own shares in farms and relatives of farmers have been capitalizing on the bailout.
Love to bail out day traders just because they own shares in pork and beans.
I did not expect this program would be a roaring success, but this is an even bigger joke than my own skepticism allowed for. I may have to reconsider my prediction that we'll see more than one bailout because it's possible this one will never end. I mean, at this rate, it may not pay out all of the funds until next Thanksgiving.